Csilla Ariese

Csilla Ariese joined the Reinwardt Academy as a lecturer and researcher in 2022. She is a museologist specializing in community engagement, practicing decoloniality, and interactive pasts. She is a co-founder and the president of the VALUE Foundation which aims to design, facilitate, and conduct worldwide research, development, and outreach on the crossroads of gaming and academia. Csilla is a storyteller at heart, who is passionate about shipwrecks, museums, the past, and games.

Within the master Applied Museum and Heritage Studies, she primarily shares her knowledge and experiences on digital heritage: from digital-born heritage such as video games to the digitization of museum collections and digital tools in all aspects of the heritage profession. Additionally, she teaches about participation, decolonization, and visitors studies.

As part of the Research Group Cultural Heritage, she will be conducting her pilot project Who Cares about Decolonizing the Museum? Globally and in the Netherlands, museums are creating more exhibitions about the colonial past, but do we know who actually cares about this topic? Do some people deliberately avoid such exhibitions? Which emotions, histories, and aspects of identity drive people to (not) visit? The pilot study will survey visitors and non-visitors to identify what draws or deters people from decolonial exhibitions and why. The results will guide museums in adjusting their message in order to appeal to harder-to-reach audiences.

Previously, she has worked as Assistant Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies (Leiden University, 2021-2022) on the ERC project BRASILIAE, concerning Indigenous knowledge production in colonial Dutch Brazil. Prior to that, as a postdoctoral researcher within the Horizon2020 project ECHOES (University of Amsterdam, 2018-2021), she researched the Amsterdam Museum and how the museum is engaging with and negotiating the complex colonial pasts of its collections and the city and its citizens. Dr. Ariese completed her PhD in 2018 as part of the ERC-Synergy project NEXUS1492 (Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University), exploring 195 Caribbean museums and their participatory practices. She holds an MSc in International Museum Studies from Gothenburg University (2012) and at the same university completed a BA in Archaeology with a specialization in maritime archaeology (2010).

Her book publications include: Return to the Interactive Past: The Interplay of Video Games and Histories (2021, Sidestone Press), Practicing Decoloniality in Museums: A Guide with Global Examples (2021, Amsterdam University Press), The Social Museum in the Caribbean: Grassroots Heritage Initiatives and Community Engagement (2018, Sidestone Press), and The Interactive Past: Archaeology, Heritage, and Video Games (2017, Sidestone Press).