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Newsletter Sharing Heritage Expertise Open in browser
Sharing Heritage Expertise No.13, October 2020
Street view of Paramaribo, Suriname (photo RCE).
Street view of Paramaribo, Suriname (photo: Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands).

Welcome to the fall 2020 edition of our Sharing Heritage expertise newsletter! The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the lives of individuals and organisations around the world, and the Shared Cultural Heritage programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) is no exception. For a programme that rests on international cooperation and knowledge exchange, travel restrictions constitute a significant challenge. Yet with creativity and flexibility from all sides, the RCE has been experimenting with different solutions: see for instance, the case of the Urban Heritage Strategies training which took place online this summer. In this newsletter, the feature article presents a good practice developed in the context of a collaboration with Indonesia on shared difficult heritage. Our partner in the spotlight is The Black Archives, an organisation that plays a central role in ongoing discussions in the Netherlands about the need to produce more inclusive narratives about the past, and especially regarding the colonial past. And as always, you can catch up on our recent projects at the end of the newsletter. Good readings!
The Indonesian and Dutch team members who carried out the fieldwork in 2019 (photo: ARKENAS/Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands).
Good practice: international collaboration on shared difficult heritage
The Indonesian and Dutch team members who carried out the fieldwork in 2019 (photo: ARKENAS/Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands).

This article presents a good practice that developed in the context of an international collaboration around a site of shared cultural heritage. Partly still ongoing, it involved a joint Dutch-Indonesian investigation into the disappearance of the wrecks of three Dutch warships - the Hr. MS. De Ruyter, the Hr. Ms. Java and the Hr. Ms. Kortenaer. These ships sank off the coast of Indonesia in 1942, in the context of the Battle of the Java Sea during WWII. The good practice refers to the way in which this project, albeit propelled by a painful event, was framed and guided by a three-track-research plan, and was based on open discussions between both countries. To write this article, we talked to Robert de Hoop of the International Programme for Maritime Heritage of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) and Shinatria Adhityatama of ARKENAS, the National Research Center for Archaeology in Indonesia. Both were closely involved in this project as maritime archaeologists.

Read the complete article
Mitchell Esajas and Myra Winter during the opening of the exhibition “Surinamers in the Netherlands: 100 years of emancipation and fight” on 13 December 2019 (photo: The Black Archives).
Meet our partner, the Black Archives
Mitchell Esajas and Myra Winter during the opening of the exhibition “Surinamers in the Netherlands: 100 years of emancipation and fight” on 13 December 2019 (photo: The Black Archives). 

The Black Archives (TBA) is a historical archive in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which consists of approximately 3000 items (archival materials, books and artifacts) that focus on racism and race issues, slavery and colonialism, gender and feminism, Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, South America, Africa and more. These are materials and topics which aren’t often discussed in schools and universities in the Netherlands, which are inaccessible in many libraries, and often unknown to the general public. The expertise of TBA lies in making complex and often invisibilised histories and perspectives accessible to the public, such as the histories of black emancipation movements in the Netherlands. It does so by developing exhibitions, public events, history projects, and by inviting school (and other) groups to visit TBA to learn more about marginalised histories and communities, and overlooked perspectives on the Dutch history and present. An example is the exhibition "Surinamers in the Netherlands: 100 years of emancipation and fight", on show until 5 December.

TBA often collaborates with other institutions, such as museums, to develop exhibitions and public events which take on a decolonial perspective, and that articulate more inclusive narratives about the past and present. An example was the recent event co-organised with the Rembrandt House Museum, around the exhibition “Black in Rembrandt’s Time”, about people of African descent in seventeenth century Amsterdam, the development of racial thinking and the representation of black people in the arts throughout the centuries. Or the organisation’s involvement in the RCE’s recent pilot project to research its art collection for traces of slavery and colonial history, for which Mitchell Esajas and Jessica de Abreu of TBA wrote short articles with more inclusive narratives and language-critical descriptions about particular artworks. TBA also organises tours for different organisations around themes from its archives. For instance, TBA often organises tours during different activities of the broader Shared Cultural Heritage programme, such as during the Sharing Stories on Contested Histories training in 2019 (organised by the Shared Cultural Heritage programme of the RCE and the Reinwardt Academy) and during International Visitors Programmes organised by DutchCulture. In these cases, the tours also delved into the TBA’s perspective on shared heritage between the Netherlands and other countries. For those interested in learning more or working together with TBA, please contact info@theblackarchives.nl.  
Impact assessment project // September-December 2020 // At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, Rianne Walet carried out part 1 of a pilot project to investigate the impact of the Shared Cultural Heritage programme of the RCE in relation to the projects carried out with South Africa, over the policy period 2017-2020. Sofia Lovegrove will execute part 2 of this pilot project, focusing on RCE’s collaboration with Indonesia. With the results of both parts of this pilot project, Sofia will deliver advice regarding the implementation of impact assessment in the policy period 2021-2024.
Sharing Stories on Contested Histories – Embassy edition // Spring 2021 //  The RCE and the Reinwardt Academy are developing an embassy spin-off of the successful training Sharing Stories on Contested histories. This new training will be organised for cultural attachés and other embassy officers in the Shared Cultural Heritage partner countries. With an adapted format, the participants will question and discuss the role of cultural processes in nation and identity building and how they are part of the dynamics of transnational collaboration and exchange. The training will explore topics such as identity, culture, nationality and multivocality in relation to discussions surrounding the need to decolonise heritage practices and knowledge. The training will consist of a preparatory course of around five online lectures and a two or three day interactive workshop at museum locations in the Netherlands.
Built Environment
Urban Heritage Strategies (UHS) training for World Heritage Cities // 3 - 14 August // On 14 August, the participants of part 1 (online) of the UHS training for World Heritage Cities presented the outcomes of their two-week endeavour. During the training, the participants applied each day’s learnings to their home situation: Paramaribo (Suriname), Willemstad (Curaçao), Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) and Sawahlunto (Indonesia). Since circumstances in each of these four cities is very different, the outcomes also differed significantly: Paramaribo is dealing with a diminishing residential population, Willemstad is struggling with development pressure, Salvador suffers from gentrification and Sawahlunto is searching for a new base of existence. All participants were granted a certificate of attendance, enabling them to participate in part 2 of the training, which will be held face-to-face in Rotterdam in August 2021. The focus will then be on practical management skills and network building, and less on cognitive learning. In the meantime, the participants will elaborate on their city profile, to be peer reviewed amongst themselves.

Shared Heritage Lab Semarang, ITB Bandung – TU Delft // 2019 - 2020 // During the summer holiday, 6 Master’s students from TU Delft presented their graduation projects concerning the former colonial city of Semarang, in Indonesia. These projects are the outcome of the Shared Heritage Lab, which was a collaboration between the Technical University of Bandung (Indonesia) and TU Delft. During this Shared Heritage Lab students of both universities jointly analysed the water-related heritage issues in Semarang. Through visits and exchange, both universities helped each other’s students in their graduation projects. The Shared Heritage Lab was carried out within the framework of the Shared Cultural Heritage programme of the RCE, and it was supported by the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta. The graduation projects of the students from TU Delft can be visited online.

Intern at RCE - Kaanan Thakkar (KU Leuven, Belgium) // 1 October – 1 December // During her 8-week and mostly online internship, Kaanan will research the future perspective of the former Dutch cemetery in Surat, India. This is part of her academic curriculum at KU Leuven, in a Master’s degree in Conservation of Monuments and Sites at the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC). Kaanan will use the outcomes of her internship with the RCE as a starting point for her MA thesis. Since India is her home country, she will continue her research on site in Surat through a participative process with the local inhabitants, in order to explore the options for a sustainable and inclusive conservation of the cemetery in the future. Her research will be an addition to the ongoing research and conservation of the big tomb in the former Dutch cemetery in Nagapattinam in South India, carried out by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), in collaboration with the RCE.
Maritime Archaeology
The International Programme for Maritime Heritage recently published an English version of their interim report of May 2020, detailing the progress made in the last three years. Chapter 4 focuses on the projects within the Shared Cultural Heritage programme in the field of maritime archaeology. Due to the impact of Covid-19, much of the international fieldwork planned for this year within these projects has been postponed or put on hold, and uncertainty remains regarding when these can take place. The team has therefore been focusing on data management, communication and capacity building instead, updating the Maritime Stepping Stones platform and preparing several publications, including a brochure on the programme. 
Sharing Heritage Expertise is the newsletter of the Shared Cultural Heritage Programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. This programme follows from the International Cultural Policy Framework of the Dutch government. Other organisations executing the national Shared Cultural Heritage Programme are DutchCulture and the National Archives of the Netherlands, and the Embassies of the Netherlands in the 10 partner countries. For more information on their activities, see their respective websites.

For more information, please visit our website (English and Dutch) or contact the editor, Sofia Lovegrove (lovegrove.sofia@gmail.com). We welcome comments and suggestions regarding the content of our newsletter.
Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands
Smallepad 5 | 3811 MG Amersfoort
Postbus 1600 | 3800 BP Amersfoort
The Netherlands
+31 (0)33 – 421 7 421
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