You are here:

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.

Banner Inward Outward

Inward Outward Symposium 2023 (Sold out)

The third edition of Inward Outward will take place March 16 & 17, 2023 at Framer Framed (Amsterdam) as a series of presentations and conversations, and a workshop. The symposium will focus on Witnessing/Care & the Archive, with the terms “witnessing” and “care” articulated alongside each other. 

We mobilise Witnessing/Care together, as complementary practices, calling to each other as tools to move through the archive, but that may also be wielded in tension. These two words are deployed as verbs to highlight a form of implication, a refusal to conceive of archival work as a passive performance. 

For more information and the full programme, access

Publication Inward Outward 2021

Inward Outward is an ongoing, iterative endeavour. The driving force behind the symposium series is the wish, and need, to critically engage with audiovisual archives of coloniality. This desire stems from the working practices of the organising team, with members who are employed (often) by institutions that have such collections under their ‘care’. The first edition of Inward Outward, held in January 2020, was fueled by a determination to engage with bodies of ‘decolonial’ knowledge and addressed the creation, acquisition, management and use of these archives within and beyond the walls of established institutions.

2020 was marred by an unprecedented health and ecological crisis that elicited an array of emotions as we also witnessed and participated in collective calls to redress intensified racial, gendered and socio-economic inequities. As we worked to document those moments and continued to interrelate our archival practices with the afterlives of colonialism and the identity, memory and racial politics that informed our present, we were moved by discomfort, anger, refusal, love. It became clear: the work we do in and with archives is implicated in, and driven by, the emotional. Yet archival research is often presumed to be focused on the rational excavation of materials, stereotypically imagined as being carried out in a sterile room, in a process devoid of affect.

Where, then, do we encounter emotions, affects and feelings in the archive? How are these captured in both sounds and moving images and in the practices used to organize the archive? And, most pressingly, how do these emotions inspire us to unlearn and undo the dominant imperial practices and discourses that have determined our work so far? These questions, which were amplified by our observations and reactions to the global occurrences of 2020–2021, formed the theme of the second Inward Outward symposium, “Emotion in the Archive”, and are embedded in the publication’s articles.

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.

Mailing List

Stay tuned here for more information and sign up for our mailing list.