About the part that art plays in a globalising society

Framer Framed

Fotografie: Anoek Steketee Fotografie: Anoek Steketee

Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed: Experimental Knowledge in Art, Activism, and Academia

Framer Framed is pleased to announce the collaboration with ‘Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed: Experimental Knowledge in Art, Activism, and Academia’. The Atelier crafts a space for cross-over experimentation between academics, artists, activists, writers, and journalists.

What does social or historical engagement imply for a work of art? And how might artistic approaches lead academics to formulate new questions and cultivate new, engaged modes of research? The debate whether art should be created for its own sake, or whether it should have a socially or politically relevant role, is salient and will always remain; in the present-day turmoil of shifting global powers, identity politics, emancipation, climate change, and a raging pandemic, this question seems more acute than ever. On the other hand, the importance of creativity and empathy in the social sciences and humanities is academically acknowledged, but also constrained by a commitment to empirical research, legitimation and referencing. Why do we do what we do? When and why do we stand our ground? When and why do we break with convention?

Creative exchange
Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed: Experimental Knowledge in Art, Activism, and Academia is inspired by a longer standing interest in exploring colonial structures of knowledge – in which the institute was founded – and in seeking for ways and forms of decolonizing knowledge. At the same time, it is motivated by a need for an atelier in its own right, a place defined by experimentation among artistic and academic professionals in search of new methods, perspectives, and approaches. Concerned also by the funding crisis in the creative arts caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, we moreover hope to open up a conversation and exploration towards new engaged, mobile and creative forms of knowledge to understand and visualize societal and historical problems. Thereby it hopes as much to contribute to as to learn from artists, curators, writers, journalists, and activists engaging locally and transnationally with urgent matters of past and present, including racism, violence, differentiated citizenship, environmental degradation, and climate justice.

Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed encourages and enables scholars working in the area specialisations of KITLV, i.e. Southeast Asia and the Caribbean world, as well as colonial and postcolonial history, and professionals working in the artistic and journalistic field, to collaborate and to learn from each other. It urges exploratory interventions into pressing societal debates and interrogations of dominant political or epistemic authority. It stimulates open, experimental approaches toward questions about human behaviour, meaning, data, and interpretation, creating opportunities to explore, and cross, the boundaries between different, socially, culturally or professionally determined ways of knowing.

Fellowships and a series of conversations
To this end Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed Artist in Residence will establish an annual residency for one or more fellows, working, in close collaboration with KITLV researchers, on the intersections of arts, social sciences and the humanities. Because of current covid restrictions we will start by a series of intimate conversations between the creative and academic disciplines, exploring questions regarding (unfinished) difficult pasts and pressing socio-political matters today; on how and why we have been approaching them the way we do, and on how, whether and why we can and would like to make a difference.

Winner of the first Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed Artist in Residence

It is with great pleasure that the selection committee of Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed Artist in Residence announces Theo Frids Marulitua Hutabarat from Bandung, Indonesia as the winner of our first Artist Call. Framer Framed and the KITLV – Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies have commissioned an original work of visual art for our space at Leiden University.

The selection committee was fascinated by Hutabarat’s take on archives of the colonial past of the Dutch East Indies and the way in which the anonymous photographer plays a role in constructing a one dimensional view of history. We were particularly impressed by his observation that “archival images have transformative power that, in return, create and legitimize power. Thus, I take interest in the archives of KITLV which I see as crucial factor to exercise civic rights regarding Indonesia’s history, where ‘the anonymous’ took a great part of it”. Theo Frids Marulitua Hutabarat will have access to KITLV staff and collections and will engage in dialogue with both to inform and inspire his work. The work itself is the first in a series of visual conversations, to which future artists may respond.

Theo Frids Marulitua Hutabarat (1987) has a Master’s degree in Fine Art from the Faculty of Art and Design at Bandung Institute of Technology. His work was part of group exhibitions in Bandung, Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore, Turin and Yogyakarta.

Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed Team

Marieke Bloembergen (co-chair),
Esther Captain (co-chair),
Alison Fischer,
Francio Guadeloupe,
David Kloos,
Tibisay Sankatsing Nava.

Framer Framed
Josien Pieterse,
Evie Evans (programma),
Nina Vaessen (productie).

Art and Activism / Action Research / Community & Learning / Residencies /


Exhibition: Breaking Waves

The exhibition Breaking Waves by artist Clara Jo on epidemiological and maritime movement

Exhibition: Anonim

Final presentation of Theo Frids Marulitua Hutabarat's Atelier KITLV-Framer Framed Artist in Residence project.


Opening: Breaking Waves
Opening of the exhibition Breaking Waves by artist Clara Jo during Amsterdam Art Week
Atelier KITLV: Declaring Distance
Ways of imagining and engaging with the colonial archive with Atelier KITLV
Atelier KITLV: Kreyol Warung
le thinnai kreyol presents an evening of creole commensality and conviviality
Atelier KITLV: Zouk is Medicine
On creole manifestations of cultural as a means of resistance with Ari Gautier, Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Jocelyne Beroard & Bonaventure Ndikung
Atelier KITLV: Kucini, kallu, kakkus - Creolising India Across the Oceans
Kucini, kallu, kakkus: Creolising India Across the Oceans


Theo Frids Marulitua Hutabarat


Ari Gautier

Novelist and researcher

Ananya Jahanara Kabir

Professor and researcher

Esther Captain


Josien Pieterse

Director of Framer Framed

Francio Guadeloupe

Researcher, Social Anthropologist