The biography of photographs: a digital e-patriation project in Banda, Ghana




Plante, Veronique

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In 2013, Ghana’s second largest dam was constructed on the Black Volta River, bordering the Banda region. The Bui Dam, while contributing to the country’s growing electrical supply, has also forced the relocation of thousands of villagers. In addition to the considerable changes to lifeways, the dam has brought attention to Banda from global businesspeople and tourists alike. In light of the ongoing changes to local social and economic processes, the Banda Thru Time project emerged. This project seeks to e-patriate images—from historic times to the present—to the communities that make up Banda. My part in the project—and the focus of this thesis—was to create a web portal to the repository that would contain these images in addition to other historic documents. In addition to the creation of the web portal, the thesis portion of this project engages the process of digital epatriation and the four lines of inquiry that came to inform my research: determining through what pathways digital e-patriation is initiated and achieved in a community; how collections get assembled, with an interest in the implications this has for interpretation; how a collection can be presented to unsettle the troubling either/or dichotomy of continuity and change; and how memory work relates to the process of assembling a collection for the purposes of e-patriation



E-patriation, Anthropology, Digital repository