A Million Pictures: Magic Lantern Slide Heritage as Artefacts in the Common European History of Learning

Duration: June 2015 – May 2018

The magic lantern was the most important visual entertainment and means of instruction across nineteenth-century Europe. However, despite its pervasiveness across multiple scientific, educational and popular contexts, magic lantern slides remain under-researched. Although many libraries and museums across Europe hold tens of thousands of lantern slides in their collections, a lack of standards for documentation and preservation limits the impact of existing initiatives, hinders the recognition of the object’s heritage value and potential exploitation. This project addresses the sustainable preservation of this massive, untapped heritage resource.

A Million Pictures is a collaborative research project between researchers from Utrecht University (NL), University of Exeter (UK), University of Antwerp (BE), University of Girona (ES), University of Salamanca (ES) as well as twenty Associated Partners.

[Urban Interfaces]

Supervisor: Nanna Verhoeff

[urban interfaces] is a platform for a critical investigation of urban interfaces for creative and participatory engagement at the crossing of academic research and cultural practices. Focusing on mobile and situated media, arts, and performances, the platform brings together and initiates critical reflections on, and actual interventions in, these socio-spatial activities and their shaping and staging of urban culture.

[urban interfaces] is an initiative of the interdisciplinary Department for Media and Culture Studies (MCW) at Utrecht University, and collaborates with an expanding (international) network of academic and cultural partners.

For more information, send an email to


The Nation and its Other: the Emergence of Modern Popular Imagery and Representations

Supervisor: Prof. Frank Kessler 

Duration: 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2014
Funding: NWO – Culturele Dynamiek

This project will analyse the emerging mass-medial production and dissemination of popular imagery and representations in the late 19th and early 20th century, looking specifically at cinematographic images of the Nation and its Other. Two case studies will investigate: (a) trans-nationally circulating popular images of the Netherlands of Dutch and foreign origins, and (b) representations of the Asian Other circulating in the Netherlands in the light of the Boxer Rebellion and the Russo-Japanese War, and with regard to the countries’ colonies in Asia.

The goal of the project is to contribute to our understanding of the modern globalized mediasphere and the cultural dynamics modern visual media have engendered by looking at the formative phase of modern popular mass-media imagery.

Linked to a far-ranging scholarly network discussing similar issues, the project will not only promote Dutch media historic research within the international community, but also, at the level of knowledge dissemination, provide input into institutions dealing with the audiovisual cultural heritage.


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