Master Non Linear Narrative kicks off 'Unmapping Territories'

15 April 2024

The master Non Linear Narrative organised a kick-off event of the upcoming ‘Unmapping Territories’ research project in collaboration with the Dutch National Archives (Nationaal Archief) on Tuesday 5 March. Together with the Dutch National Archives, students will explore the hidden stories behind eleven historical maps of the Navigation and Overseas Expansion collection in order to challenge map-making as an objective process.

Following the invitation of the Archives, students had the opportunity to meet archivists, researchers and restoration experts for an introduction to the vast cartographic collection, with nearly a thousand years of Dutch history stored in 142 kilometers of documents and 800 terabytes of digital files.

Since their very foundation in 1802, the National Archives have included maps and drawings as a tool for navigation. However, through the contemporary lens, the artefacts are also evidence of the colonial history of the Netherlands. Many of the maps from the National Archives were created by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) or the West India Company (WIC) and used for warfare, territorial appropriation, and political demarcation. This made them a vital tool for administering and exploiting former colonies.

Connecting information

In order to connect the maps to the 21st century, students will pursue a personal path of inquiry, using the available archival resources from the institution. The method of mapping, as a general way of connecting information, facts, stories, images and recordings, will be used to unravel non-linear narratives, bridging them across time and space. The challenge for the students is not to stop at what had already been published, but reach further and reveal unidentified or deliberately hidden histories, and how they connect to communities involved.

Student participants

Juliana Acero Castellanos, Rodrigo de Almeida Garrett Viseu Cardoso, Stefano Cattani, Stefano Dealessandri, Gjorgji Despodov, Carmen Draxler, Martin Escalante Robles, Laura Flethe, Rita Horta, Correia Figueiredo Gaspar, Ieva Jakuša, and Julia Löffler.

Project supervision

Nick Ceton (NA), Linda van Deursen, Floris Janssens-Andrejew (NA), Victoria McKenzie, belit sağ, Niels Schrader, and Marjon van Walbeek (NA).