Universiteit Leiden

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Csilla Ariese

PhD candidate / Guest Staff Member

C.E. Ariese MSc
+31 71 527 5276


The PhD project ‘The Social Museum in the Caribbean: Grassroots heritage initiatives and community engagement’ is part of the multi-disciplinary NEXUS1492 project, funded by the ERC-Synergy grant.

The focus of this research is the role of museums in society. Museums throughout much of the world are revisiting their societal relevance in new ways & connecting more strongly to their communities. Is this also the case in the Caribbean? What forms do community engagement methods take? Ultimately, do community engagement projects succeed in achieving their goals?

This research is rooted in the new museology and also builds upon a foundation of post-colonial theories and the current heritage discourse. In the vein of critical museology, the PhD research will critically examine the method of community engagement within a Caribbean setting. It is proposed that community engagement is more than just a buzz word and has real effects on society & individuals. So far, fieldwork has been undertaken in 23 different islands or countries with visits to nearly 200 different museums. These visits have revealed the remarkable diversity of Caribbean museums and the prevalence of fascinating grassroots heritage initiatives.


Csilla E. Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke holds a BA in archaeology from Gothenburg University with a specialization in maritime archaeology and the Dutch East India Company (VOC). At the same university, she completed a MSc in International Museum Studies, focusing again on the VOC, but now investigating the varying representations of its Dutch-Australian history in museums. In 2011 she was project leader for the exhibition Gender Matters in Gothenburg. Currently, she is the secretary of the Museums Association of the Caribbean. In addition, she is one of the founding members of the research group VALUE that investigates the intersections of archaeology and heritage with video games. She is passionate about shipwrecks, ruins, the underwater world, games and museums. All of her interests revolve around storytelling.

PhD candidate / Guest Staff Member

  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • World Archaeology
  • Caribbean and Amazonia

Work address

Van Steenis Building
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number B2.10



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