Decolonizing audiovisual heritage in Europe : Migrant and diasporic lives in national film archives
Brunow, Dagmar, Dr. phil., 1966- (författare)
Linnéuniversitetet, Institutionen för film och litteratur (IFL)
Linnéuniversitetet Fakulteten för konst och humaniora (FKH). Institutionen för film och litteratur (IFL). (creator_code:org_t)
Ingår i: Global Challenges 2018 : Borders, Populism and the Postcolonial Condition - An international conference on critical theory, postcoloniality, migration and populism : Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden, 14-16 June 2018.
We cannot speak of the past without the archive, Stuart Hall famously stated. The archive, now a buzzword in the arts and humanities, cannot be conceptualised without taking power relations into account (Foucault, Derrida, Stoler). In his keynote “Whose Heritage” (1999), Hall points at the hegemonic whiteness and at the interests of the middle class invested in the creation of heritage and memory in the UK. In recent years, many heritage institutions in Europe have started to emphasize the (albeit problematic) notion of “diversity” as a fundamental requirement for their work. However, when it comes to the impact of digitisation on audiovisual heritage, a post-colonial perspective is still missing. This paper, which is part of my research project “The Cultural Heritage of Moving Images” (financed by the Swedish Research Council, 2016-18), looks at the ways national film archives in the UK and Sweden try to face the challenges involved in carving out a discursive space for migrant and diasporic memories. Arguing that it is not enough to merely “insert” these memories into the hegemonic narrative, it will discuss ways of decentering the audiovisual heritage of the nation. My paper will look at archival approaches to avoiding essentialism and dealing with the politics of representation in film images into which a colonial gaze is already inscribed. How can the colonial gaze be foregrounded (or subverted) when creating access to film collections through online curation? This paper argues for the need of the archivists to take a self-reflexive stand which highlights the role of the archive as an agent in its own right.