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The Conciliare project has been launched at Cegesoma/ State Archives

Rome, launch of the Conciliare project, 20.3.2024

What is it about?

The Conciliare project (CONfidently ChangIng coLonIAl heRitagE) is a European project involving partners from 6 countries. (Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Finland and Croatia; HORIZON-CL2-2022-HERITAGE-01-03 - Cultural heritage in transformation - facing change with confidence). In addition to its international dimension, it brings together researchers from different disciplines (social psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists and historians), as well as associations such as ICOM Belgique Wallonie-Bruxelles and Afropean Project...

Why this project?

European societies are currently facing unprecedented changes in the way they manage the cultural heritage of their colonial past. Challenges are emerging in fields as diverse as education through textbooks, museums through the question of provenance and restitution, the public sphere through the persistence of the colonial past, or in popular traditions such as that of the Black Peter (Zwarte Piet).
The aim of the project is not only to study this heritage, its challenges and controversies, but also to work towards an understanding of the phenomena involved, and thus nurture a new relationship of trust in relation to this cultural heritage.

What is CegeSoma's role?

CegeSoma coordinates the WP 2 on public spaces. It includes Belgian, Portuguese and Italian universities, as well as the non-profit organization Afropean Project. As places of memory and embodiment of colonial cultural heritage, public spaces have been the subject of studies focusing on monuments and, more recently, street names. Certain groups - such as the colonized - and certain facts - such as colonial violence - are largely absent, while other representations of the colonial period remain very present and dominant. Beyond their relative absence, the colonized are often represented as nameless, submissive or in humiliating positions, or through exotic representations. WP2 will analyze the contested colonial cultural heritage in public spaces in large and medium-sized European cities (Belgium, Italy and Portugal). The goal is to identify this heritage and its origins, as well as the ways in which it is contested and the actors involved.
To this end, researcher Alana Castro de Azevedo has been recruited to conduct research into the identification of colonial heritage in the three Belgian cities selected: Brussels, Antwerp and Mons. Following this initial phase of heritage identification, forms of contestation will be studied in depth in a number of cases. Chantal Kesteloot is responsible for the overall coordination of WP 2.