Photographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political

Gil Pasternak's picture
October 19, 2021 to October 20, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Public History

Online conference organized by the DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium in partnership with the National Trust

Photographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political intends to explore how uses of digital technology, and digitisation in particular, have transformed the ways in which historical photographs of value to perceived inherited cultural legacies are collected, deployed and identified as such. It will specifically investigate what has led formal heritage and memory institutions to drive this process, how heritage communities might have navigated their aspirations around it, and how political interest groups have taken advantage of it to promote their causes.

Photography and heritage became well-entangled long before the rise of digital technology. In fact, their connection has been highly influential, if not essential, to the development of heritage practices that one may by now take for granted. While some scholars have already considered the impact exerted by digitisation practices on approaches to photographic image-objects, much of this work tends to evaluate how the creation of digital photographic surrogates has undermined conventional archival documentation and preservation practices. In this regard, research around this area has largely taken issue with questions concerning provenance, cataloguing, dematerialisation, and media-morphosis, as a means to increase awareness of the potential loss of historical data that might result from the conversion of analogue photo collections into digital databases.

Bringing together photography and heritage scholars, policymakers, and community organisers, Photographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political is designed to expand the discussion on the entanglement of photography and digital heritage into the political environment—where human diversity often gives rise to antagonistic sentiments. It is therefore geared towards unravelling how "the political" has conditioned digitisation practices, while equally looking into the ways in which photographic digital heritage has facilitated innovative hegemonic and anti-hegemonic aspirations in national and inter-national social settings.

Speakers will consider interrelated topics, including:

• the influence that photographic digitisation practices have exerted on definitions of heritage assets;

• the effect of photographic digitisation on institutional practices and policies;

• uses of photographic digital heritage for community building and activism;

• the employment of photographic digital heritage by governing powers;

• and the effect of photographic digital heritage on social and inter-generational communications about history, memory and the past.

Livestreamed online, the conference will provide multiple opportunities for knowledge exchange among the participants while enabling engagement with comments and questions from the public of viewers.

Confirmed contributors:

Keynote speaker:

Jane Lydon (University of Western Australia)


Geoff Broadway (The Living Memory Project), Anand Chhabra (The Apna Heritage Archive), Michelle Hamers (De Montfort University), Christo Kefalas (The National Trust), Gil Pasternak (DigiCONFLICT / De Montfort University, Françoise Poos (Esch2022 Director Cultural Programme), Christina Riggs (Durham University), Denis Skopin (St Petersburg State University), Kylie Thomas (Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies - NIOD), Catherine Troiano (The National Trust), Donna West Brett (University of Sydney).

Bookings will close 1 hour prior to the start of the event, and registrants will receive a link to join the online event 24hrs before the event, via their provided email address. For more information and details on how to register please visit the conference webpage:


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