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This research exhibition and two-part podcast series is part of the Horizon2020 European MSCA funded project, “SPEME Questioning Traumatic Heritage: Spaces of Memory in Europe, Argentina, Colombia”.

Event details of Objects & Stories: Traumatic Heritages and Competing Narratives
Start date 17 December 2021
End date 30 January 2022

For SPEME in the Netherlands, Dutch traumatic narratives are selected in order to re-imagine what exactly constitutes the ‘Dutch’ traumatic past. To achieve this aim, a two-part audio production has been created about the Srebrenica genocide and the Second World War, in which these pasts will be recounted through the lens of narrative. In addition to these podcasts, a multimedia exhibition will be curated, that combines the tangible objects of trauma with the oral histories from witnesses and individuals related to the events to shed light on the complexities of remembering.

Research Exhibition at the University of Amsterdam

Objects & Stories is a research exhibition in the BG2 building (Turfdraagsterpad 15-17, Amsterdam), that combines tangible objects of trauma with personal stories and oral histories from witnesses and subsequent generations to shed light on the complexities of trauma, (post)remembering and heritage narratives in the present. Recounted through the lens of object biographies, these personal stories encompass several cases of traumatic pasts connected to the Netherlands such as the Second World War, the Srebrenica genocide, and colonial heritage in an effort to re-imagine what constitutes ‘traumatic heritages’ and ‘victim-perpetrator’ dualities. Through a multimedia approach, viewers are invited to reflect upon how competing narratives of the past are negotiated and reconfigured in archives, cultural practices, and public spaces. Why and how do we remember traumatic histories? Who remembers and who forgets, and how are memories narrated, silenced, or forgotten?

Two-Part Podcast Series

The first part of the podcast series looks at the Srebrenica genocide of 1995 and the perspectives of remembrance. Srebrenica can be seen as a Dutch traumatic site of memory outside of the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, Srebrenica is mostly remembered in the context and from the perspective of Dutchbat. This might be the most obvious connection between the Netherlands and Srebrenica but it is not the only one. The war in Bosnia caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee. 60,000Bosnians – among them survivors and relatives of victims of Srebrenica – found their home in the Netherlands. In the podcast, we look at the second generation of these people: the children who left Bosnia at a young age and grew up in the Netherlands. How do they remember what happened? What does it mean to be both Bosnian and Dutch in the context of what happened in Srebrenica?

The second part of the podcast series investigates the Second World War and the archives as spaces of conflict as well as the contested authority of archives. By making use of the archives of H401, a cultural foundation based on the Herengracht in Amsterdam, this podcast explores the story of Thülö Röhl (1920-1943), a promising student with artistic aspirations who slowly evolved in an ambitious Nazi soldier. The mother of Thülö Röhl was a good friend of the people who lived at this historical house at the Herengracht in Amsterdam; they found each other in their shared interest in German poetry and literature. After the death of Alexandra Röhl in 1975, the archival material was stored in the historical house at the Herengracht. By finding a location for her son’s archive, Alexandra Röhl secured his artistic legacy and place in history. Looking through her eyes we see Thülö Röhl as a young artist exploring his many talents. But does the archive tell the complete story? In the form of imaginative storytelling, this podcast will focus on many issues related to archives such as the authority of the archive and the under-representation or even the lack or absence of representation of specific narratives of the past.

The research exhibition is generously supported by the EU Horizon2020-MSCA-RISE project ‘SPEME Questioning Traumatic Heritage: Spaces of Memory in Europe, Argentina, Colombia’ (project number 778044), and the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (AHM) at the University of Amsterdam.