Project facts

Duration: 2021-06-01 - 2024-05-31
Project coordinator: University of Amsterdam
Project consortium: Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis [ASCA] - University of Amsterdam; School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS] University of London; Centre Asie du Sud-Est / French Centre for Southeast Asian Studies [CASE]; Laboratoire PRISM: Perception Représentations Image Son Musique [PRISM]; Archives of Traditional Music in Laos [ATML]; Asosiasi Tradisi Lisan / Indonesian Oral Traditions Association [ATL]; Association Française des Archives Orales, Sonores et Audiovisuelles [AFAS]; BBC Archive Trust; The British Library; University of the Philippines – Center for Ethnomusicology [UPCE]; Citra Research Center [CRC]; Decolonial Frequencies Festival; Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change [IRGSC]; The Laon-Laon Network; Malaysian Audio-Visual Archives [MyArchives] - Sunway University; The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision; SOAS Radio; Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre [TAEC].
Funding bodies: NWO; ANR; AHRC
Subject areas: Archives, Collections, Ethnology, History, Intangible Heritage, Libraries
Budget: 650,000 euros


Decolonizing Southeast Asian Sound Archives (DeCoSEAS) is a three-year research and community engagement project funded by the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Cultural Heritage and Global Change supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

DeCoSEAS proposes the decolonization of heritage curation with three formative orientation points: the improvement of access to heritage, the transfer of agency to stakeholders of their heritage, and the diversification of the dialogue about this heritage’s curation. For this aim, researchers based in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France work together with academics, curators and NGOs in Southeast Asia in opening up three unique sound collections, all located in Europe and barely accessible to researchers and cultural originators.

DeCoSEAS develops four initiatives in a variety of academic, curatorial and public spaces for disclosing the collections: Digitization of material, Visiting Fellowships providing access to the material on site, Publications and Outreach Projects.

Impacts & Results

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 Southeast Asian partners today). With these action plans, DeCoSEAS aims to provide new insights in and new practices of heritage curation and participation.