Previously colonised peoples whose cultural heritage is represented in archives and museums are now gaining access to work with these collections in diverse ways. We ask how archives and collections are being engaged with, interrogated and reworked in ways that unsettle colonial certainties.
For those previously colonised peoples whose cultural heritage is represented in the museums and collecting institutions of former colonial powers, objects and archives are a precious, but often inaccessible, legacy. When descendants of the communities of origin do gain access to work with these collections, they often discover that the narratives about their ancestors that have been recounted by others, do not represent their past as they have learnt it. Indeed dominant accounts of the provenance and histories of these objects often reproduce particular colonialist versions that marginalise, diminish or ignore the stories of others. We ask how we can engage with, interrogate and recreate these archives and collections in ways that foreground, and hold in tension, partial truths and agencies. Additionally, we want to explore how these truths and agencies are being negotiated in place and in specific historical and geographical contexts. We invite papers that activate the stories and agencies of objects and archives in ways that unsettle colonial certainties.