Repatriating the Archives with Digital Humanities

Mike Jones, Tessa Alexander, Audia Atogo, Robert Bickers, Barbara Caddick, Neil Carrier, Elizabeth Haines, Jon Hallett, Teckla Muhoro, Lydia Muhuma, Lydia Nafula, Philemon Nyamanga, Kieren Pitts, Jayne Pucknell, Susan Pywell, Mark Small, Damian Steer, Nicky Sugar, Ephraim Wahome, Bernard MugwimaMatt Williams

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Posterpeer-review

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The British Empire and Commonwealth collections at Bristol Archives are important, problematic and underused. They are important because they are not an official archive produced by the colonial state, but represent the personal and working lives of people who worked across the territories of the British Empire for a time and then returned to the United Kingdom. This is a large collection, hosting 500,000 photographs, 2,000 films and an extensive range of archival material. They are problematic because they largely represent the British perspective and therefore a 'colonial gaze'. They are underused because the collection, formerly in the care of the now-closed British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, was inadequately catalogued. Bristol Archives is undertaking a major programme of cataloguing and digitisation, and aims to support imaginative reuse of this resource. Building Shared Futures is a collaboration between the University of Bristol, Bristol Archives, University of Nairobi, Technical University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and National Museums of Kenya. The project will explore technologies such as the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), Linked Data, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and workflows around digitisation and crowdsourcing adapted to the Kenyan digital economy. The goal is to improve access to the collections (facilitating digital repatriation), foster co-production with academics and communities in Nairobi and beyond, and thereby equip Kenyans to reappropriate the materials to tell the histories of their communities. A shared future, based on an accessible past, will then be a possibility.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019
EventDigital Humanities at Oxford Summer School - Keble College, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jul 201926 Jul 2019


ConferenceDigital Humanities at Oxford Summer School
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Bibliographical note

The poster was awarded the Sebastian Rahtz Prize


  • Archives
  • Digital Humanities
  • digitization
  • postcolonial
  • Kenya
  • Research IT


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