History In Progress Uganda is an initiative of artists Andrea Stultiens (NL/UG) and Canon Griffin (UG).
We aim to collects and publish photographs from (private) collections and archives in and about Uganda, and to active these historical materials in artistic practices, both our own and others who have concerns that overlap with ours. We firmly believe in the potential of artistic practices as research methods that complement (more) conventional research methods used by for instance historians and ethnographers. More about this position can be found in the thesis Andrea Stultiens wrote as part of her dissertation titled ‘Ebifananyi, a study of photographs in Uganda in and through an artistic practice‘ (2018).
The photographs and other materials on this website have been made available to you through passion and dedication. We are happy to know from feedback that they serve people who follow us in different ways. They are added to memories, they create historical awareness and inform research. You are invited to support our work by donating through the Paypal link below. All resources are used to add more materials to the digital collection and to improve its accessibility.
Photographs have no stable meaning. The more than a thousand words they are supposed to say are not embedded in the image but added to it by the viewer and the discourse he or she is part of. HIPUganda considers it important to not see the photographic image as a something fixed, with a static meaning, but as part of a dialogue between people with various histories and experiences.
We offer consultancy and advise on the use of historical photographs. We would be happy work with you to produce and curate exhibitions for particular audiences. Please send us an email if you are interested in these or related services. While we will make every effort to work with you within our means, this unfortunately does not mean that we are always able to simply provide pictures on request. Sometimes what is asked for is not yet encountered by us or does not exist. Sometimes we just lack the time.
The history of photography in Uganda started during the second half of the 19th century. Initially photographs were exclusively made by explorers, missionaries and, later, the colonial administration. Early 20th century locally run photo-studios started to appear, mostly operated by members of the Asian community in Uganda.
We try to locate collections relevant to the representation of Uganda’s past. These collections include colonial archives and personal collections, images made in a professional context that could range from photojournalism to anthropology, the content of shoeboxes and albums, photographs made by Ugandan and non Ugandan professionals and amateurs. Know of a collection we could or should digitise and would be a welcome addition to what is already here, please let us know.
HIPUganda thinks that sharing images, the right to relate to the past, is more important than copy- or portrait rights. That said, it is at no time our intention to embarrass anyone or infringe rights. If you feel that photos shared here should not be in the public sphere, or if you have explicit and exclusive rights to photographs, please contact us and we will act upon it. Photos shared are not intended as political statements, others appropriating them like that is out of our control and responsibility.
HIPUganda primarily collects photographs in Uganda by digitising them. Originals stay where they are. By sharing the photographs online HIPUganda opens up the possibility to relate to, respond to, and think about how Uganda’s history is (and is not) available in photographs. We invite you to comment on what you see, add your knowledge and ask questions the photographs may raise.
In addition we have started to collect physical materials that was ‘orphaned’ and put up for sale online. This material becomes part of the HIPUganda collection and is, again, made available here in digitised versions. We make efforts to reconstruct the social biography of these materials. Who produced them? In which context were they used?