About DeCoSEAS

Photo: Residents listening to gramophone player in Batavia From KITLV Southeast Asian & Caribbean Images

Decolonizing Southeast Asian Sound Archives (DeCoSEAS) is a three-year research and community engagement project funded by the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Cultural Heritage and Global Change supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

DeCoSEAS proposes the decolonization of heritage curation with three formative orientation points: the improvement of access to heritage, the transfer of agency to stakeholders of their heritage, and the diversification of the dialogue about this heritage’s curation. For this aim, researchers based in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France work together with academics, curators and NGOs in Southeast Asia in opening up three unique sound collections, all located in Europe and barely accessible to researchers and cultural originators.

DeCoSEAS develops four initiatives in a variety of academic, curatorial and public spaces for disclosing the collections: Digitization of material, Visiting Fellowships providing access to the material on site, Publications and Outreach Projects.

DeCoSEAS strives for the inclusion of voices, stances and interpretations that have hitherto remained unheard in existing discourses about heritage by attending to multiple, time-bound and intricately entangled voices simultaneously (those recorded from the past and those from Southeast Asian partners today). With these action plans, DeCoSEAS aims to provide new insights in and new practices of heritage curation and participation.

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Read our manifesto here.