Network Colonial Contexts

The network deals with questions of digital consolidation, processing and visibility, as well as possibilities of use of digital materials and data from colonial contexts.


The next meetings of the entire network are planned for early summer and autumn 2021; the working groups co-ordinate their work steps independently and report on the status of discussions and planning at the plenary meetings.


The network deals with questions of digital consolidation, processing and visibility as well as possibilities of use of digital materials and data from colonial contexts. In this context, "colonial contexts" are explicitly kept open and are neither subject to a time period nor a regional focus (e.g. on former German colonies). 

The overarching goal is to bring national and international actors into discussion who need, create or sustain digital access to relevant materials and data from colonial contexts. The participants want to contribute to the better co-ordination and networking of projects in the various disciplinary and institutional fields, identify needs across domains and develop solutions with a view to the future. In particular, isolated solutions should be avoided, sustainability improved and a respectful handling of sensitive data with simultaneous transparency ensured. In addition, central concerns are to agree on standards, to better anchor and integrate international co-operation and perspectives in project planning, and to publicly articulate and represent the needs and requirements of the persons and institutions involved in the network.


The network was founded in autumn 2020. Its members currently include the Arbeitsgruppe Koloniale Provenienzen des Arbeitskreises Provenienzforschung e.V. (Colonial Provenances Working Group of the Provenance Research Working Group), the German Lost Art Foundation, the FIDs for African Studies and Social and Cultural Anthropology, the Coordination Centre for Scientific University Collections in Germany, as well as other representatives of libraries, archives, museums and collections, research funding and infrastructure institutions, provenance researchers, scholars from the fields of anthropology, history, political science and art studies, and experts on digitisation in science and culture.


The network has already met twice virtually. This exchange resulted in the need for the following working groups, which started their work in February 2021:

WG Third-Party Funding
Consolidation of network work through third-party funding: clarification of the financial basis of network work and individual network projects
Contact: Matthias Harbeck, matthias.harbeck[at]

WG 3-Way Strategy
Dealing with the 3-way strategy of the "Contact Point for Collections from Colonial Contexts"
Contact: Anna-Maria Brandstetter brandste[at]

WG Thesauri
Overview and networking of existing thesauri/vocabularies and improvement of superordinate vocabularies (e.g. the Integrated Authority File (Gemeinsame Normdatei, GND), the most widespread controlled vocabulary in the German-speaking world, which is used in libraries and increasingly also in museums and project databases)
Contact: Fabienne Huguenin, fabienne.huguenin[at]

WG International Cooperation
Planning of international workshops based on the idea to focus on 1-2 partner countries for international networking and to start a pilot project here
Contact: Larissa Förster, Isabelle Reimann reimanis[at]

WG Research Tool
Establishment/expansion of a cooperative research tool: Investigation of existing tools on the basis of the needs formulated by the networkers
Contact: Sarah Elena Link,[at], Dominik Huenniger, dominik.huenniger[at]

The network and its working groups are open to other interested parties who would like to work on the topics and have a connection to the issues addressed. The establishment of further working groups is also possible. The network can be contacted via the email address.