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Exhibition: (De)Constructing Spaces

What is our relation to the colonial past? And to its consequences in the present day? Which steps are necessary to make Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam a truly inclusive university? Which hidden colonial stories are entangled with the university? And how do the heritage collections come into play?

Entanglements, dynamics and ideas from the past continuously influence the present and the future, at VU Amsterdam as well as everywhere else. In this exhibition we want to name, reveal and question the power dynamics from the past, and how they continue to influence the present. We want to offer a starting point for further conversations on the process of decolonialization.

(De)Constructing Spaces showcases the colonial entanglements of objects and documents in the heritage collections. It connects the stories of world maps, the Amsterdam based brewery of VU Amsterdam financer Willem Hovy, bills for mrs. Idenburg-Deutz in now-named Bogor (Indonesia), involved students in the Netherlands and Papoea, and Christmas cards of the Moravian Church, with large scale colonial power dynamics.

The exposition (online and at the VU Campus) is conversation piece for the long and complex process of decolonization at VU Amsterdam. It will be accompanied by workshops, guided tours and dialogs for students and colleagues, to facilitate this dialogue.

(De)Constructing Spaces is produced by Gyonne Goedhoop (Counter/Narratives) and Liselotte Neervoort (VU Amsterdam, University Library), with special thanks to Danny Soekarnsingh (VU Amsterdam, Diversity Office) and Quinsy Gario (VU Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities).

(De)Constructing Spaces. Exhibition on colonial entanglement in the VU heritage collections

Heritage exhibition space, University Library, VU Main Building, 28th of October 2021 till 28th of January 2022

(De)Constructing Spaces

How colonialism is intertwined with objects from the VU collections

View the exhibition online

Questions about the Heritage exhibition space of the University Library?

Please contact Liselotte Neervoort, curator academic heritage

+31 621247309

Heritage exhibition space, University Library
VU Main Building, 1st floor
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam