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Curating the past: the power of archives in shaping black narratives

Add to calendar 2024-02-16 15:00 2024-02-16 17:00 Europe/Rome Curating the past: the power of archives in shaping black narratives Sala del Capitolo and Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


16 February 2024

15:00 - 17:00 CET


Sala del Capitolo and Zoom

Roundtable discussion in the context of EUI Black History Month 2024.

In exploring the influential role of archives as a means of power, particularly in terms of visibility and valorisation within historical narratives, our roundtable discussion delves into how archives can either elevate or marginalise voices and stories. This underscores the importance of curatorial decisions in shaping public understanding and recognition of diverse histories, thereby highlighting the power of archival work in making visible and valuing underrepresented narratives.

This is especially true for the narratives of Black Europe, where the curation and preservation of archives can significantly influence the representation and recognition of Black history and culture.

The roundtable will commence with an examination of the current landscape of Black archival practices. This involves a review of the methodologies, challenges and recent advancements in the field. By understanding the state of the art, we can appreciate the complexities and nuances involved in preserving and interpreting Black European history.

The discussion will then move on to the pivotal role that archives play in the construction of historical narratives. This segment of the roundtable will explore how archives serve as powerful tools not only in preserving history but also in shaping the public's understanding of the past. The focus will be on how archival material can illuminate underrepresented stories, particularly those of Black individuals and communities in Europe, thereby contributing to a more comprehensive and inclusive historical record.

This roundtable brings together leading archival institutions and scholars who have placed Black archives at the center of their work. The aim is to foster a dialogue between these two groups, highlighting the importance of their collaboration in enhancing the visibility and understanding of Black European history. By sharing insights and experiences, the roundtable seeks to bridge the gap between archival curation and academic research, underscoring the need for a synergistic approach in the study and preservation of Black heritage.

This event represents a significant step towards acknowledging and valorising the diverse narratives of Black Europe. Through a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, it aims to contribute to the academic discourse and enhance public understanding of Black European heritage, offering new perspectives on how we view and interpret the past. 

Scientific Organiser(s):

Fartun Mohamed (EUI)


Khalil West (EUI)


Natasha A. Kelly (UDK Berlin)

Mitchell Esajas (Black Archives Project, Amsterdam)

Justin Randolph Thompson (Black History Month Florence)

Lisa Anderson (Black Cultural Archives, UK)

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