Decolonizing Southeast Asian Sound Archives (DecoSEAS) is a three-year research and community engagement programme funded by the JPI Cultural Heritage Project of the European Union’s Horizon 2020’s Research and Innovation Program. The project is a transnational consortium of researchers based in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France and associate partners in Southeast Asia.
The project seeks to renegotiate established understandings of heritage curation by opening up three unique sound collections, all located in Europe and are barely accessible to researchers and cultural originators.
DeCoSEAS aims to provide:
● physical access for SE Asian stakeholders (WP1),
● online access for scholars, artists and stakeholders worldwide (WP2),
● publication channels about heritage curation for SE Asian stakeholders (WP3) and
● outreach projects for culture consumers worldwide (WP4).
Each WP is devised to achieve corresponding objectives:
- Interrogate the colonial patrimony of archives,
- Conceive a new digital curational framework,
- Transfer publishing and editing agencies about heritage curation to heritage stakeholders, and
- Democratize curatorial practices.
The objectives constitute DeCoSEAS envisaged decolonization of heritage curation that acutely responds to current public and academic debates on de/colonization and heritage restitution. The project is a pilot study for this vision adopting a knowledge chain with three formative orientation points: the improvement of access to heritage, the transfer of agency to stakeholders of heritage, and the diversification of the dialogue about heritage curation.
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 SE Asian partners today). With these action plans, DeCoSEAS aims to provide new insights in and new practices of heritage curation and participation.