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Inward Outward

The international symposium Inward Outward brings together archival practitioners, artists, academics, and researchers to explore the status of moving image and sound archives as they intertwine with questions of coloniality, identity and race.

The international symposium Inward Outward brings together archival practitioners, artists, academics, and researchers to explore the status of moving image and sound archives as they intertwine with questions of coloniality, identity and race.

Inward Outward symposium,october 2021

Inward Outward 2021

- Postponed until October 2021 -

After giving it a lot of thought we have decided to postpone Inward Outward until October of this year (exact dates to be confirmed soon). We've been pushing for our original dates but realise that in the current context, it is best to postpone. 

With that said, we're more than elated to bring you the second edition of Inward Outward in October with the theme Emotion in the Archive, and with a keynote address from Ariella Aïsha Azoulay. A scholar, curator and filmmaker, Ariella Aïsha Azoulay is also Professor of Modern Culture and Media at the Department of Comparative Literature, Brown University. In her most recent book Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (2019), Azoulay posits that the institutions that are constitutive of our culture and civilization, from archives and museums to ideas of sovereignty, are all embedded in imperialist logics. Moving from this, her work invites us to unlearn the archive, unlearn our complicity with regimes of violence, domination and exploitation.

In the meantime, we would like to direct your attention to the following events that are connected to the wider symposium: 

  1. The RCMC hosts  scholar Kaiama L. Glover on April 1 at 18:00-19:30 CET (i.e. Amsterdam) as part of their Thinking With series. Glover will be in conversation with Elsa Dorlin, Carine Zaayman, and Wayne Modest around her latest book, A Regarded Self: Caribbean Womanhood and the Ethics of Disorderly Being (Duke UP 2021). Anchored in rigorous literary analysis, Glover's study asks us to pay attention to the gendered expectations that often determine our critical approaches to works of literature and their feminine protagonists. Her analyses propose "representations of adamantly self-articulating, sexually self-defining female characters," as configured by writers who "present self-love—physical and emotional—as both provocation and critique" (14). Glover’s study asks us to think expansively about what it means to value the self above all else, and about how a woman’s self-regard might “be recognized as an achievement—a justifiable response to the prejudices and other perils of the existing communal order"? (10).

    For more information and to register for the online event with Glover, please visit the RCMC website.
  2. On May 18, Carine Zaayman, an artist, curator and scholar committed to critical engagement with colonial archives and collections, will lead a pre-symposium workshop on ‘Unlearning the Archive’. Riffing off Azoulay’s call to imagine museum workers going on strike, Carine Zaayman opens the workshop onto imaginative interpretations. She invites participants to bring material from their institution that calls for special care, to be discussed and analysed in the context of Azoulay’s provocations to unlearn imperialism in archival and museum practices, and to acknowledge and explore the emotional implications of doing this work.

    The workshop, taking place online, is closed due to only being able to accomodate a limited number of people. If you work in an institution with  collections  or materials of coloniality and are interested in attending a later edition please email
  3. In late spring/early summer we'll be putting on an Inward Outward Working Session, a smaller event specifically focused on critical cataloguing and polyvocality. Stay tuned for news on this! 

Keep your eyes on this page or sign up for our mailing list below for more information on our upcoming events and the new Inward Outward website we'll be launching soon.

Call for Presentations 

The second Inward Outward will take place in October 2021 online, due to the constraints of the pandemic (dates to be confirmed soon).

The upcoming edition will focus on Emotion in the Archive. This theme emerged during the first symposium, and has since occupied increasing space as a direct response to recent global occurrences. The Call for Presentations, which is now closed, invites researchers, archival practitioners, artists, filmmakers, curators and more to submit a proposal. To learn more about the theme of the symposium please read the Call for Presentations.

About Inward Outward

Archives, assumed to be containers of memory, are vested with a particular power to constitute and define who is and who is not included in (his)stories. Inward Outward asks what approaches and interventions exist (or could be imagined) that question archival practices in an effort to “decolonize” the archive, and explores  what “decolonizing” the archive—within and beyond the walls of established institutions—could offer for the production of new bodies of knowledge.

There is something specific to sound and moving images as they hold a particular type of textured representation that uniquely captures the visual and aural qualities of who or what is being recorded. Taking a critical archiving approach as its base, Inward Outward explores what is specific to moving image and sound materials, including both materials of the past and those created in the present, and the archival practices used to collect, preserve, and make them accessible. 

Initiated between the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) and Sound & Vision, and with the support of the Research Center of Material Culture (RCMC), the first Inward Outward took place in January of 2020. 

Publication Inward Outward 2020

Download the publication of the 2020 Inward Outward symposium on Critical Archival Engagements with Sounds and Films of Coloniality. Conceived as a way to further discussions that surfaced during the symposium, this digital publication collects different contributions from the speakers of Inward Outward. Across 80-pages, 16 individual texts unfold, exploring coloniality and questioning what “decolonizing” the archive might look like as it intersects with sound and moving image collections, archival practices, artistic approaches, intimacy, reimagining the archive, and more.

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