Constructed Manumissions, La Vaughn Belle, 2017.

Archival Encounters is a research project dedicated to thinking about the cultural, ethical and political effects of digitising colonial archives. The project investigates the limitations and possibilities of knowing with and beyond the colonial archive, and seeks to cultivate modalities of engagement with colonial archives that address the gaps elicited by digitisation.

The project was prompted by the recent digitisation of the Danish colonial archives of the United States Virgin Islands (formerly known as the Danish West Indies) and by the need to foster critical and imaginative conversations about the conditions through which communities collectively encounter colonial archives today.

Archival Encounters suggests that a critical understanding of the conditions under which archives circulate today needs to be grounded in critical, inventive and reparative approaches to archives advanced by the fields of postcolonial studies, African diaspora studies and critical archival studies, as well as by artistic engagements with colonial legacies. The project seeks to foster dialogue between these fields and to generate new knowledge and practices in collaboration with researchers and artists from Denmark and the United States Virgin Islands.

The project is led by Dr. Daniela Agostinho, Assistant professor at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen.

The project runs from 2018 to 2021 and is funded by a Mads Ovlisen postdoctoral fellowship, Novo Nordisk Foundation.