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Vrijburgh conferentie met keynote speaker Cynthia Mc Leod

Herinneringen aan het slavernijverleden – Erfgoed van de WIC

Memories of slavery – heritage of the West India Company

Op 10 juni 2023, het jaar waarin herdacht en gevierd wordt dat 150 jaar geleden, in 1873, de slavernij in Suriname en in het Caraïbisch gebied ook feitelijk is afgeschaft, organiseert MoWIC (Monuments of the West India Company), de 6de Vrijburgh Conferentie, ‘Herinneringen aan de Slavernij – Erfgoed van de WIC’. Keynote speaker Cynthia McLeod – Ferrier vertelt in dit licht over het Elisabeth Samson Huis in Paramaribo. 

De conferentie kan in het verlengde gezien worden van een eerdere editie van de serie Vrijburgh Conferenties, die in 2017, waarin het slavernijverleden in bredere zin centraal stond.

Cynthia Mc Leod
Portret door Nicolaas Porter

Cynthia Mcleod – Ferrier, befaamd schrijfster over en onderzoekster van de geschiedenis van Suriname en met name de periode van de slavernij (‘Hoe duur was de suiker’), zal ingaan op het mede door haar geïnitieerde restauratieproject van het Elisabeth Samson Huis – een exemplarisch voorbeeld van een zichtbaar, monumentale herinnering aan de tijd van de slavernij. De boeiende verhalen rond de levensgeschiedenis van deze opmerkelijke, vrije zwarte vrouw, Elisabeth Samson (1715-1771), behoren zeker tot het immateriële erfgoed van Suriname.


Datum: 10 juni 2023
Tijd: 12.00 uur inloop, 12.30 uur Lunch
Start: 14.00 uur – 17 uur: Conferentie met afsluitend borreltje
Locatie: Consulaat van Brazilië in Nederland, Antonio Vivaldistraat 6, 1083 HP, Amsterdam (Zuidas)
Deelname: €25.-,   €15,- partner,   €10, – studentenBestel tickets
Het secretariaat van MOWIC wordt gevoerd door Museum Geelvinck:

Het Elisabeth Samson Huis aan de Wagenwegstraat 22 in Paramaribo

Call for papers

Since three decennia, MoWIC Foundation targets scientific research, preservation, interpretation and presentation of cultural heritage linked to the Dutch West India Company (WIC), its history in the widest sense and its impact up till today.

In the past years, the MoWIC Vrijburgh Conference has developed into a forum for the presentation of scientific research and other projects, which have ties to the WIC and the Dutch colonial past in general, as well its impact on society then and now.

For the 6th MoWIC Vrijburgh Conference, we are happy to announce, that the keynote speaker will be the influential Surinam doyenne writer Cynthia McLeod-Ferrier. She will speak on the on-going museum development of the Elisabeth Samson House in Paramaribo and the background of this extraordinary story of Elisabeth Samson (1715-1771) connected to this site.

Title and subject of this 6th Vrijburgh Conference:

‘Memories of Slavery – Heritage of the West India Company’

The different aspects relating to the Dutch Charted West India Company (WIC) and critical valuation of its role in history and its impact on society today, can only be understood, when viewed within the wider picture of its time. The history of transatlantic trade and exploitation of enslaved Africans intertwines strongly with the commercial activities of this chartered public-private company and its successors. Today, the most eye-catching remnants are foremost in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. However, the impact of activities linked to the WIC reaches much wider, then and up till today.

From the 1st of July 2023, the exact date on which 150 years ago the actual ending of slavery in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles came into effect, a year-long slavery and indentured labor will be commemorated with a multitude of activities. The theme of this conference (and the next in 2024) will be geared towards this subject.

It should be noted that the conference is not confined to topics solely relating to slavery in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. Instead, we intend to cover the whole range, where the WIC, its predecessors and successors have been actively engaged in transatlantic trade and exploitation of enslaved Africans (such as Africa, Brazil, Guiana, North America etc.), taking also in consideration related topics of its impact, today as well as parallels with other Western and non-Western enterprises and government actions in relation to slavery and indentured labor.

Suggested topics related to slavery and/or indentured labor, as described above, are: • traces in built heritage or the landscape in the areas where the Dutch WIC, its predecessors and successors have been active.
• traces in living heritage today and/or captured on film, audio, photography or other format in the past 150 years
• story telling, language, food, design, dance, songs and music connecting cultures of continents
• sequelae in today’s society
• impact of the friction with the traditional national history of ’the glorious empire’
. projects and activities of museums and other (heritage) organizations focusing on presenting and interpreting
• digitization projects and digital accessibility of collections, libraries and archives
• research, preservation and restoration projects

It should be noted that the conference is not limited to the above topics. We will take in consideration any proposal, which is relevant to our conference’s theme.

We invite paper presentations with a maximum of 20 minutes, as well as suggestions for shorter talks (e.g. feedback / experience reports, or presentations on on-going research projects), roundtables, panels, posters and announcements.

Our conference is intended to be hybrid and, although we prefer your personal presence, it will be possible to present pre-recorded and / or online presentations. We encourage both academics and students to speak on currently ongoing research.

Please, send abstracts of about maximum 300 words and a brief bio of a maximum of about 100 words, including your name, institution, position, portrait image and e-mail address, to the MoWIC secretariate at Museum Geelvinck:
Presentations may be in Dutch or English. Please, send in your abstract by e-mail not later than 7 May 2023; acceptance will be confirmed by mid-May. On our MoWIC- website, we intend to publish papers presented, and, on request, other presentations.

Please safe the date!
The 6th MoWIC Vrijburgh Conference is scheduled:
Date: June 10th, 2023, 14h00 – 17h00; luncheon (optional) starts 12h30
Location: Hon. Consulate of Brazil, Antonio Vivaldistraat 6, 1083HP Amsterdam

We envisage, the 7th MoWIC Vrijburgh Conference to take place in late Spring of 2024. The theme of that next conference will also be related to slavery.

For more information: or call (+31) (0) 578695670, mobile: (+31) (6) 54794606

Stichting MoWIC
Postal address secretariate: Museum Geelvinck at Kolthoorn House & Gardens

Kamperweg 23, 8181CS Heerde (Netherlands)

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