[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Reframing PJU is a research project that aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on the decolonization of museum collections and the developing field of ‘artistic research’. This is done through an activation of the Paul Julien Collection, an archive that is in the care of the Nederlands Photomuseum in Rotterdam and identified within the wider collection by the three-letter code PJU.
The part of the PJU collection taken into consideration within this project concerns expeditions that Dr. Paul Julien carried out through various parts of ‘Equatorial Africa’ between 1932 and 1962. It concerns approximately 10,000 black and white negatives, more than 1,200 lantern slides, several thousands of 35mm Kodachrome slides and numerous vintage prints which were produced as a result of these expeditions. In addition, the archive includes extensive documentation, largely consisting of correspondences between Julien and numerous informants as well as personal contacts. Julien also produced 16mm film on his expeditions. This material is in the care of Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam and will, wherever possible, be included in this investigation.
Julien’s purpose in these expeditions was mainly to conduct anthropological research. Despite this, the number of academic publications arising from his research were very limited. Julien did, however, reach a wide audience through what he called ‘popular stories about Africa’. The stories, whether presented in books, lectures or interviews were, in one way or another, supported by the photographs and film footage that he himself produced.
Reframing PJU was initiated by researcher and artist Andrea Stultiens (NL, 1974) with two main aims in mind. The first aim is to activate the archive and thus investigate both past and present-day imaginations of ‘Africa’. The second aim is to contribute to the discourse about the developing field of ‘research in and through the arts’ by demonstrating and, at the same time questioning, the use of an artistic practice as a research method.
This website serves as a platform for more experimental forms of academic writing and publishing while being able to share all facets of the research process and its outcomes.
Behind the tab reframing you will find illustrated letters written to Paul Julien from Andrea Stultiens. While he can no longer reply to them, he remains an explicit part of the correspondence since his archive informs Stultiens’ actions and shapes her voice. At the same time the correspondence is an open invitation to visitors of the website to engage with this archive activation.
A biographical reconstruction of Paul Julien’s legacy in relation to past and present-day imaginations of Africa can be found behind the tab PJU. This section of the website will overtime be filled with selected digitised documents, photographs and films that are relevant in reframing the collection. These documents can be viewed in chronological order or found through the keywords attached to them. They will also serve as references and proofs to arguments made in Stultiens’ letters.
Anyone who has an interest in the material in the PJU collection or this correspondence is invited to respond and thus contribute to the project. These responses are thought of as an inclusive set of peer reviews and therefore necessary if we are to consider the multitude of knowledge and experiences that can and should inform the material in the archive. Anyone who wishes to respond is encouraged to do so with a letter. The letter may be written, spoken, filmed or mediated in other ways. It can address any individual or group of people that are in any way present in the research project. Please contact [PJU@bridginghumanities.nl] for more information or if you wish to respond.
Initial stages of the engagements with the Paul Julien collection were funded through grants from Noorderlicht Fotofestival (2012), and The Mix Projects (2015). Some of the work that was done was made possible by the Mondriaan Foundation. In 2019 Reframing PJU was awarded an ‘idea generator’ grant from NWO. Bridging Humanities, Nederlands Fotomuseum and Royal Academy for the Art The Hague are partners in the project.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]