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

  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Thank you for your attention Dmitry Bondarev | Maria Luisa Russo Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, University of Hamburg, Germany