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De-Colonizing Archaeology-Related Photographic Archives

Project Coordinator & Principal Researcher: Dr Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert

Duration: January 2022 - December 2023


This project aims to critically examine different photographic archives in archaeological museums in Cyprus and the UK and make policy suggestions on how these archives can be “de-colonialized” and be given new affordances. The originality of the project lies in the fact that decolonization practices in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) sector are still lagging in Cyprus. While the island became independent 60 years ago, several colonial structures are still in place; i.e. legislation, buildings, museums, libraries, and archives. Decolonization as a political process has been extensively addressed by established academics and new researchers, however discussion on the theory and process of decolonizing the photographic archives of museums - or the museums themselves - is still relatively new.

Project Outputs

- The Policy Brief is available here.



Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert and Alexia Achilleos participated in the Symposium Glitch and Photography III: metamorphosis and new ecologies hosted by the Hasselblad Foundation at the Gothenburg University (Gothenburg, Sweden). On Wednesday 14 June 2023 they presented the “Archive of Unnamed Workers” during the open lecture symposium on "Photography and the Glitch", while on Thursday 15 June they gave a day-long workshop on archaeology, archives, AI and postcolonial theory.

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For the past few years, Dr Stylianou-Lambert has been producing artwork related to archaeology and photography. Something that was not planned but it organically resulted from this research, is the expansion of Theopisti’s art practice. Two kinds of artworks, The Archive of Unnamed Workers and “Shadow 1” & “Shadow 2”  were created and are currently exhibited at the exhibition “In the Sea of the Setting Sun”, curated by Elena Stylianou (Location: State Gallery of Contemporary Art - SPEL, Nicosia, Cyprus, Date: November 2022 to February 2023).

For more information and a short video see here.

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Dr Stylianou-Lambert and her team presented the project at the Leverhulme Trust Conference, “Post-colonial heritage in the present: museums, archives, art and activism”, Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche & British School at Rome, 12-13 October 2022

The first part of the presentation examined the interrelation of photography and archaeology in the case of colonial Cyprus and how power relations resulted in often one sided and biased archives, especially in relation to the representation of local workers and female agents. The second part examined possible cultural practices that could aid a decolonizing process in archaeological photographic archives today. 

Research Team

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Project Coordinator and Principal Researcher: Dr Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Associate Professor, Cyprus University of Technology/ Museum Lab Group Leader, CYENS Centre of Excellence, Cyprus

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Research Team Member: Dr Antigone Heraclidou, Research Associate, CYENS Centre of Excellence, Cyprus


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LSE Collaborator: Professor Joanna Lewis, Department of International History, LSE, UK