meLê yamomo and Barbara Titus received a grant from the European Joint Initiatives for Cultural Heritage for their three-year project titled Decolonizing Southeast Asian Sound Archives (DeCoSEAS). The project renegotiates established understandings of heritage and aims to democratise heritage curation. The researchers will, among others, disclose unique sound collections from Southeast Asia that are located in Europe. These collections are well-known worldwide, but are presently barely accessible.

Apart from coordinating the transnational project, Barbara Titus and meLê yamomo of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) will take care of the Dutch side of the project and make the Jaap Kunst Sound Collection available online. This collection lay at the foundation of ethnomusicology and contains music recordings made by the Dutch ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst between 1919 and 1934 in the former Dutch East Indies. Titus: ‘Many unique sound recordings from Southeast Asia, like the ones in this collection, are stored in Europe and are not accessible to the communities the material was collected from. This project aims to change that. Sound and music are important sources to historians, among others: they give a voice to those who are often not represented in written sources.’ Both Titus and yamomo have been working on this subject for years already, each in their own way – yamomo as researcher of Southeast Asian sound archives in his VENI project Sonic Entanglementsand Titus as curator of the Jaap Kunst Sound Collection.

Read more about this news on the University of Amsterdam website.


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