Traveling Caribbean Heritage

Centuries of intense migrations have deeply impacted the development of the creolized Papiamentu/o-speaking cultures of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. The islands’ asymmetrical relation to the Netherlands begs many questions regarding insular identities. In addition, contemporary migrations have deeply impacted insular demographics and understandings of what it means to be Aruban, Bonairean, or Curaçaoan. Finally, mass tourism became a central pillar of the insular economies, adding to the changes in the demographic make-up of the islands.

All of this provokes debates about insular identity, and the need to identify and preserve the islands’ literarily traveling cultural heritage – but heritage is as much a contested concept as identity. While scholars emphasize its evasive, constructed and contested character, local workers in the field of culture and education as well as activists search for constructive and practice-oriented approaches, driven by questions pertaining to the fields of nation-building (‘What do we want our citizens, young and old, to know and cherish about our unique insular heritage?’) and to the field of tourism (‘What image of our island do we want to present to tourists, emphasizing our unique heritage without falling into the trap of excessive folklorization and even fossilization, preventing people from seeing all kinds of new cultural expressions?’).

In this project, Caribbean and Dutch scholars and cultural heritage specialists address these questions, identifying and questioning the dynamics of heritage formation, and developing a multi-generational human resource base as well as a digital infrastructure for the preservation of insular cultural heritage, for outreach activities, and ultimately for stimulating the sustainable development of these non-sovereign SIDS.

Rose Mary Allen

Dr. Rose Mary Allen is a cultural anthropologist and a visiting lecturer at the University of Curacao (UoC). Her publications Her many publications focus on the cultural and social history of the Dutch Caribbean islands, particularly cultural heritage, migration and diaspora, gender studies and cultural diversity. In our NWO-project she also brings in her experience as a member of the Commission Historical Canon of Curaçao, as well as of the Steering Committee Intangible Cultural Heritage of Curaçao.

Luc Alofs

Dr. Luc Alofs is a cultural anthropologist and historian, who works as Associate Professor of Research at the University of Aruba. His focus is particularly on Aruban history, culture and art, from pre-colonial times to the present. He is also a specialist in heritage education which is part of his contributions to our TCH project. He is a partner in the NWO-funded programme ‘De Zaak’ as well, which is about circular economy and corporate finance. Until recently he was chairman of the National Commission of UNESCO on Aruba and still is, for decades now, a core person in the history and heritage field of Aruba.

Artwell Cain

Dr. Artwell Cain is a cultural anthropologist with a focus on Caribbean and Latin American economic and cultural developments and changes, as well as on social mobility of ethnic minorities. His latest book, ‘A sense of Belonging’, deals with narratives of Arubans regarding migration, identification and representation. In our TCH project he researches heritage collections and lectures in our TCH related course on heritage at the University of Aruba.

Liliane de Geus

Liliane de Geus, MA, MSc is an independent researcher and consultant with a background in Fine Arts and Administration and Cultural Policy, as well as in Tourism Planning and Development. She is group leader of the UNESCO Workgroup Bonaire working among other things on the implementation of the 2003 convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage. She is also actively involved in the work of the Fundashon Historiko Kultural di Boneiru (FuHiKuBo), one of our TCH core partners. Liliane’s experience in education issues is one of her expertises which she contributes to TCH.

Margo Groenewoud

Dr. Margo Groenewoud is assistant professor at the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Science. She specializes in modern Curaçaoan social history among other things church, politics and citizenship, as well as in cultural heritage policies. Her background in digital humanities is an extra contribution to our TCH research. She is member of the Curaçao Monuments Council, and of the executive committee of the Association of Caribbean Historians, and participates in the University of Florida NEH Advanced Institute team for the Caribbean Studies and DH Institute.

Gert Oostindie

Prof. dr. Gert Oostindie is director of KITLV and professor of Colonial and Postcolonial History at Leiden University. He is project leader of TCH and of the also NWO-funded program ‘Confronting Caribbean Challenges’. His principal areas of research are Atlantic slavery and its legacies, decolonization of the Dutch Caribbean, ethnicity and (post)colonial migration, and colonial history and Dutch national identity. He also co-directs a project on the war of decolonization in Indonesia and a project on the colonial and slavery past of the city of Rotterdam.

Angela Roe

Dr. Angela Roe is an anthropologist, lecturer, writer, producer, and filmmaker. She is head of research and assistant professor for the Faculty of Social and Economic Studies at the University of Curaçao. She specializes in race relations, racism, identity, the performativity of blackness, colonial heritage, the African Diaspora, and social and environmental sustainability. Cultural heritage, ethnicity and identification are her main focus in our TCH-project.

Valika Smeulders

Dr. Valika Smeulders specializes in heritage, representation, museums, social diversity and the slavery past. She has written on heritage institutions and the presentation of the slavery past in The Netherlands, the Dutch Caribbean, Ghana and South Africa. In our TCH project she researches the Dutch Caribbean diaspora and new definitions of heritage in the Netherlands and she coordinates our Wiki Goes Caribbean related actitivities. Next to this she is also a curator for the exhibition on slavery at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam in 2020.

Alex van Stipriaan Luïscius

Prof. dr. Alex van Stipriaan Luïscius is professor of Caribbean History and Culture at Erasmus University Rotterdam and co-project leader of TCH at KITLV. His specializations are history of slavery and Afro-Caribbean culture and art, as well as Caribbean heritages in Dutch society and museums. He wrote several reports on the heritage field in the Dutch Caribbean. He also works in a project which researches the colonial and slavery past of the city of Rotterdam and is a member UNESCO’s International Scientific Committee on the Slave Route Project.

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Het Koninkrijk blijft trans-Atlantisch — tijd voor actie’, Idee: Tijdschrift voor het sociaal liberalisme, een uitgave van de Mr. Hans van Mierloo Stichting, Gert Oostindie, maart 2019.

Muzik di zumbi: Caribische stemmen in Nederlandse musea’ [Muzik di zumbi: Caribbean voices in Dutch museums], Rudolf Van Lierlezing voor Werkgroep Caraïbische Letteren, Valika Smeulders, februari 2019.

‘Stel… dat wij herdenken loskoppelen van afkomst‘, Valika Smeulders, 30 juni 2017.

‘Koloniaal Residu’ [Colonial Residu], Symposium Leidschrift, Gert Oostindie en Valika Smeulders, 15 april 2019.

Muzik di zumbi: Caribische stemmen in Nederlandse musea’, [Muzik di zumbi: Caribbean voices in Dutch museums], Rudolf Van Lierlezing voor Werkgroep Caraïbische Letteren, Valika Smeulders, 15 februari 2019.

‘Slavery Heritage in Ghana and Curaçao’, University of Amsterdam, Course Sidewings of Slavery, Valika Smeulders, 6 December 2018.

‘Musea: spiegel van colonialisme?’ [Museums: mirrors of colonialism?] Lezing Rotterdam, publieksbijeenkomst georganiseerd door Shared Past, Common Future, Valika Smeulders, 2 december 2018.

‘How to make an inclusive Slavery Museum’, workshop for Amsterdam University of Applied Arts, Module Creative Producing, Alex van Stipriaan 26 November 2018.

‘The inclusive Museum and  Participatory Art’,  DAS Arts Amsterdam, lecture with Tirzo Martha, Alex van Stipriaan, 25 November 2018.

‘Slavery in the Caribbean’, University of Amsterdam, Course Sidewings of Slavery, Alex van Stipriaan, 23 November 2018.

‘What ’s under the hat: Curaçaoan memories’, Symposium on Latin America: Past and Present, History and Voices, CEDLA/University of Amsterdam, Alex van Stipriaan 22 November 2018.

‘History of the Shell oil refinery in Curaçao’, introductory lecture to the music-theater production ‘Greaseman’ by Het Volksoperahuis on a Curaçaoan mythical figure, in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam and The Hague, Alex van Stipriaan 09, 14, 22 and 23 November 2018.

‘Van Shons en Shell, Opstand en verzet op Curaçao door de eeuwen heen’ [On Shons and Shell, rebellion and resistance through the ages in Curaçao]. Lecture in Migratie Museum Den Haag, Alex van Stipriaan, 21 oktober 2018.

‘Over de ontwikkeling van een Europees-Caribisch orgel en erfgoed dat nooit stilstaat’ [About an European-Caribean Organ and Heritage in Perpetual Transition], Nacht van ontdekkingen, Valika Smeulders, 15 september 2018.

‘Verzet tijdens WOII West-Indië’ [Resistance during WW II West Indies] Nusantara, Bevrijdingsdebat & Vrijheidsdialoog, Valika Smeulders, 16 augustus 2018.

Nederlands-Caribische geschiedenis herdenken‘, De Balie, Valika Smeulders, 22 juni 2017.

Lectures on Cultural Heritage; Tourism; Slavery; Art; Caribbean Politics and Economy; Decolonization, in the Interuniversitary Course on the Caribbean,Valika Smeulders, Gert Oostindie, Alex van Stipriaan,  January –April.

‘Koloniale samenlevingen tijdens de slavernij: Suriname en de Nederlandse Cariben’ [Colonial societies during slavery: Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean], Publieksbijeenkomst  Rotterdam, georganiseerd door Shared Past, Common Future, Alex van Stipriaan, 5 februari 2018.

Presentation ‘Heritage, History, the Canon, Nation Building & Nation Branding’ 
By Alex van Stipriaan & Gert Oostindie – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September 2017

Presentation of the TCH project
By Alex van Stipriaan – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September2017

Presentation ‘Situational analysis, Workshop instrument (SWOT) and TCH the Netherlands’
By Joeri Arion en Valika Smeulders – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September 2017

Presentation Sustainable Development: Culture, Education & Tourism – Context Bonaire’
By Liliane de Geus – Bonaire, 25 September 2017

Presentation ‘Windows-on-Aruba: Towards An Aruban historical canon Travelling Caribbean heritage’
By Luc Alofs – Aruba, 18-19 September 2017

Presentation ‘Capacity building trajectory’
By Luc Alofs -Aruba, 18-19 September 2017

Presentation ‘The Curacao historical canon: update Challenges for a heritage canon: the case of the Curacao historical canon’
By Rose Mary Allen – Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, 18-25 September 2017

Workshops report | 18 – 25 September, 2017

Valika Smeulders in uitzending NOS Herdenking Slavernijverleden, 1 juli 2019.

Valika Smeulders in Nieuwsuur/NOS over slavernij tentoonstelling Rijksmuseum, 25 juni 2019.

KoninkrijksRelaties.nu: Cultuurfonds voor het Koninkrijk, 24 april 2019.

Verhalen van slaven’, Mare, 11 april 2019.

Johan Maurits fout?’, OVT, 7 april 2019.

Caribische stemmen in NL musea‘, Antilliaans Dagblad, 4 april 2019.

Niveau onderwijs gelijktrekken’, Antilliaans Dagblad, 2 april 2019.

Caribische stemmen in NL musea’, Antilliaans Dagblad, 28 maart 2019.

‘Nederlandse musea op zoek naar balans’, Amigoe, 18 februari 2019.

Wetenschappers bepleiten Koninkrijkscultuurfonds, Koninkrijksrelaties.nu, 16 december 2018.

Monument tegen de ontwetenheid, NRC, 5 oktober 2018

Wiki goes Caribbean‘, Antilliaans Dagblad, 10 september 2018.

Wikipedia wil meer Caribische geschiedenis en cultuur, NTR Caribisch Netwerk, 20 august 2018

Onderzoek naar levend erfgoed‘, Antilliaans Dagblad, 7 juni 2017.

Research on islands’ travelling heritage’, The Daily Herald, 30 May 2017.

Onderzoek naar levend erfgoed‘, Antilliaans Dagblad, 7 juni 2017.

Travelling Caribbean heritage under the microscope’Newsletter Leiden University, 24 May 2017.