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Sixth Public History Encounter of the CegeSoma

Monday 30 September 2019 (12.30 pm – 2.00 pm) at CegeSoma


'When photography becomes a historical source in its own right'

Conference-debate (in French) on the occasion of the two new publications 'Bruxelles, ville libérée (1944-1945)' and 'La Wallonie libérée (1944-1945)' 
Guest speakers: Mélanie Bost, Alain Colignon, Chantal Kesteloot, Bénédicte Rochet (authors)
Host: Anne Roekens

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Liberation, CegeSoma is pleased to invite you to the presentation of two new publications about the liberation of Brussels and Wallonia.



On 3 September 1944 in the evening, Brussels is liberated.
In the course of the previous days, the city had been in upheaval. The last remaining collaborators became more nervous. German troops fled in utter chaos. On 4 September, the people of Brussels burst with joy into the streets of the capital, even if the war in Europe would only end on 8 May 1945. 
Thanks to the rich collections of the Study Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (State Archives) and other holdings conserved by Belgian and foreign institutions and by private individuals, Chantal Kesteloot and  Bénédicte Rochet present a photographical historical overview of Brussels in the years 1944-1945.
Some well-known and iconic photographs of the Liberation are placed within their context and lead the way to other, lesser known pictures from professional and amateur phorographers and to the issues that marked the public life of the capital in these times.



A different perspective on the agitated weeks and months of the Liberation of Wallonia is proposed by Mélanie Bost and Alain Colignon on the basis of a careful selection of less- or better-known photographs chosen for their documentary-, narrative or aesthetical value, that originate from the collections of CegeSoma and other public and private collections.
Here, the focus lies on the period from the landing in Normandy until the return of the prisoners (April-July 1945). Light is shed on the challenges that ordinary citizens had to face in order to live through these harsh times at the end of the war.
As a complement to the works already published in the series "Cities at War", the authors attempt to grasp the intimate lifestories of people at a key moment in history while keeping the focus on "our" small and big cities, bourgeois cities and industrial agglomerations in order to present an original approach of Wallonia between war and peace.



During this Public History Meeting hosted by Anne Roekens, the authors will try to answer the following questions: How did the people in Brussels and Wallonia experience this period? Which photographs are still conserved? What do they tell us about the last months of Brussels and Wallonia at war and about the chaotic period that followed? What do they reveal about photographic practice in times of war? Etc.

After the event, you will have the opportunity to buy the two books (each one at € 24.90, 160 pages) - 'Bruxelles, ville libérée (1944-1945)' and 'La Wallonie libérée (1944-1945)' -  published by Renaissance du Livre/CegeSoma-State Archives in the collection Cities at War and to have your copy autographed by the authors.

Guest speakers:


Chantal Kesteloot holds a PhD in history from ULB. She promoted in 2001 with a thesis on the Walloon Movement and Brussels from 1912 to 1965.
She is in charge of the Public History department at CegeSoma/State Archives, and co-author, together with Bruno Benvindo, of 'Bruxelles ville occupée 1914-1918' and author of 'Bruxelles sous l'Occupation, 1940-1944', two works published in the collection Cities at War.
Her main fields of interest are the history of the Walloon Movement, the complex of problems around Brussels, war remembrance and national history, the issue of nationalism and national identiy. 



Alain Colignon holds a Master's degree in history from University of Liège (ULg) and is in charge of the Library department of CegeSoma/State Archives.
He has authored several works about daily life during the Second World War, has studied political radicalism, collective memory of troubled times and representations of identity. He is a regular contributor to the Encyclopaedia of the Walloon Movement (1993-1997), to the Dictionnary of the History of the Second World War in Belgium (2007) and to the project Belgium WWII. Furthermore, he has written a number of articles about the period 1914-1970 and about regional ethnology. Together with Mélanie Bost he is co-author of 'La Wallonie dans la Grande Guerre 1914-1918', and together with Fabrice Maerten he has penned 'La Wallonie sous l'Occupation, 1940-1945', both of which were published in the collection Cities at War).



Mélanie Bost, PhD in history from the Catholic University at Louvain-La-Neuve (UCL). After having been a doctoral student at CegeSoma for several years, she defended her thesis about the attitude of the Belgian magistrature during the Second World War. She has authored, among others, a publication in collaboration with Alain Colignon titled 'La Wallonie dans la Grande Guerre 1914-1918' (collection Cities at War, 2016) and one with Chantal Kesteloot titled  'Les commémorations de la Première Guerre mondiale' (CRISP, 2014). Her fields of research are the history of the judiciary and daily life of people during wartime.
She currently works at the Directorate-General for the Steering of the Education System (Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles) and is associated researcher at the Royal Military Academy and at CegeSoma.

Bénédicte Rochet holds a PhD in history from University of Namur with a thesis entitled "Des actualités filmées au service de l'Histoire. La propagande audiovisuelle d'un gouvernement belge en état de siège (1940-1945)".
She is currently first assistant and visiting lecturer in History at University of Namur. Her fields of research are the history of cinema (filmed current events, Belgian cinema and world conflicts), the First and the Second World War, the history of visual creation in the 20th century and public history (documentaries, web documentaries, expositions...).


Anne Roekens holds a PhD in history from the Catholic University at Louvain-La-Neuve (UCL) with a thesis about the role of French-speaking public broadcasting company RTBF in the development of the Walloon identity in the second half of the 20th century.
She is a professor of contemporary history at University of Namur, with particular expertise in the history of identity representations and processes in Belgium, media history, audio-visuel analysis and the history of psychiatry.
She is also member of the review committee of the Journal of Belgian History, of the specialised scientific committee of CegeSoma, and of the research group HiSI (Histoire, Sons et Images).




Conference-debate about the subject: 'When photography becomes a historical source of its own'.
Where: Conference room at CegeSoma, Square de l'Aviation 29 – 1070 Brussels
When: Monday 30 September 2019 (12.30 pm – 2.00 pm)

Registration mandatory: by e-mail to isabelle.ponteville@arch.be or by phone 02.556.92.11 - please indicate if you take a snack or not* and which one (5 Euros to be paid in advance to CegeSoma: IBAN: BE12 6792 0045 0092 - BIC: PCHQBEBB + communication: last name and first name + Rencontre Histoire publique).
* Choice 1: organic bread with cheese + vegetables (+ still water, sparkling water or orange juice) / * Choice 2: organic bread with ham + vegetables (+ still water, sparkling water or orange juice).


Feel free to forward this invitation!