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DCDC16 | Joining the dots: projects on conservation and research of Malian written cultural heritage

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Dmitry Bondarev and Maria Luisa Russo (University of Hamburg)

The University of Hamburg, with the financial support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Gerda Henkel Foundation, runs two projects dealing with the written cultural heritage of Mali. The environment of interconnected social space created by this collaborative work helps maintain careful attitude to what constitutes cultural heritage. Through participation in different modules of the projects, the members of the complex multilingual and multicultural communities find connective space in the activities related to manuscript preservation, cataloguing, and research.

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DCDC16 | Joining the dots: projects on conservation and research of Malian written cultural heritage

  1. 1. Joining the Dots: Projects on Conservation and Research of Malian Written Cultural Heritage Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany
  2. 2. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 1. Malian written cultural heritage  Book and documents collections dating mainly from the XVIII century onwards  Writing: Arabic; languages: Arabic and African languages (Songhai, Bambara, Fulfulde, Soninke...)  Collections structures: mainly private owners. Library as family heritage; books and documents are mixed.
  3. 3. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 1. Malian written cultural heritage  Heritage spread across the country: not only Timbuktu city and Region, but also other cultural centres (Segou, Jenne)  Past projects on preservation and research, by several Malian and international institutions  Political troubles in 2012: major part of Timbuktu manuscripts were moved to Bamako
  4. 4. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 2. Current projects - Germany  Coordination: University of Hamburg, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures  Financing: Auswärtiges Amt, Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Jutta Vogel Stiftung  Auswärtiges Amt (Federal Foreign Office): project on Timbuktu mss for preventive conservation, basic cataloguing of manuscripts, libraries reconstruction and equipment  Ongoing digitization, carried out by Hill Museum and Manuscript Library: close cooperation
  5. 5. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 2. Current projects - Germany  Gerda Henkel Stiftung: one project on Timbuktu manuscripts, two projects on Segou and Jenne. Activities: cataloguing, preservation, research  Contribution by Jutta Vogel Stiftung  In 2015, another project funded by GHS started research on Ajami mss (in Arabic script in African languages). Aims: identification of languages, cataloguing and research on mss: monolingual (non-Arabic), bilingual and multilingual
  6. 6. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 3. Multicultural & multilingual: manuscripts as connective space  Ajami project: focus on manuscripts coming from different communities, whose linguistic identities can be traced in the manuscripts  Work organization: research of free-lance researchers, who work in libraries and in families’ households to identify manuscripts  Researcher as a mediator between social groups – academic community and non-academic communities
  7. 7. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 3. Multicultural & multilingual: manuscripts as connective space  Interaction and exchange between different social actors  Manuscripts as connective space, where researchers and families interact  Private collections and risk of loss: the role of research in cultural heritage perception
  8. 8. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 4. Partnerships  Local partners, dynamic partnership: acting in direct cooperation with local social stakeholders  Importance of widening potential audience and interests around manuscripts
  9. 9. Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany 5. Perspectives and challenges  Access and research is still difficult in some cases  Financing: need of renegotiating some rules of project reporting in order to take into consideration local unwritten rules of hospitality  Work: individual and team  Connecting projects to foster collaboration among different people involved
  10. 10. Thank you for your attention Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany

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