Photographs, Colonial Legacy and Museums in Contemporary European Culture (PhotoCLEC)

Professor Elizabeth Edwards and Dr Matt Mead

Funder: HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area)/European Science Foundation.

PhotoCLEC explores the role of the photographic legacy of colonialism in contemporary European society. It is based in three collaborating countries, the UK, The Netherlands and Norway, with DMU as the lead institution, where Professor Elizabeth Edwards is project leader and Dr Matt Mead the project research Officer. It focuses in particular on how museums, which hold large collections of such images, are curating, using and interpreting such images.

The project is a detailed comparative study of the aims, strategies and efficacy of institutional practices as museums attempt to position colonial photograph collections in ways relevant to contemporary European societies and their futures. Importantly it asks how do differently constituted colonial experiences translate into differently nuanced visual legacies and how do these visual legacies resonate through differently shaped post-colonial experiences? These practices relate to what kinds of histories are told about the colonial past, for whom and in what contexts. It also relates to the kinds of histories are not told. The project aims understand the role of photographs in how these histories are understood, to contribute to museum and heritage sector’s understanding of the role of photographs in these histories and to establish training resources in the field.

PhotoCLEC website

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