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The Sensory Archive: Reading, transcribing, and preparing Early Modern manuscript recipes

In 2023-2024, the Huizinga Instituut Research Network ‘Visual and Material Culture’ organises a series of workshops, that can be followed separately or as a 5-ECTS course.

Short description:

Dutch archives house a wealth of information on sensory history, especially in early modern manuscript recipe books. Such recipes, for food but also for e.g. pharmaceuticals and dyes, can provide us with a more holistic and democratic understanding of the production and circulation of knowledge and cultural heritage. Despite rapid digitization of archives, these sources and the sensory history they contain remain mostly inaccessible, due to a lack of proper transcriptions. In the academic year 2023-2024, the Research Network offers three activities in collaboration with the Special Collections department at Amsterdam University Library and the Early Modern Recipes Online Collective (EMROC). These activities are aimed at equipping participants with knowledge and skills to access and use the contents and the materiality of ‘sensory archives’ in their work, and at opening up archives to the research community at large.

Workshop 1 (date TBA)
One-day workshop in bibliography, palaeography and diplomatic transcription (1 EC for participation and preparatory reading)

Workshop 2 (dates TBA)
Two-day Transcribathon. Transcribing early modern Dutch MS recipe books (1 EC for two days)

Workshop 3 (date TBA)
One-day workshop Cooking the Archives. Preparing, documenting and analysing reconstructions of early modern recipes, writing a blog post (1 EC for prepared participation, 1 for 1,000-word blog post)

Entry Requirements:

Participants can sign up for workshop 1 or 2 separately (see conditions below), for workshop 2 & 3 combined, or for the entire programme.

• Overall conditions: Enrolment in an RMA or PhD programme in cultural history or a related field, passive (reading) knowledge of Dutch.
• Workshop 1 or entire course: BA in cultural history or a related field.
• Workshop 2: participation in workshop 1, or previous experience in early modern palaeography.
• Workshop 3: participation in workshop 2.


Workshop 1 & 2 are credited with 1 EC each. Workshop 3 is credited with 1 EC for prepared participation, and 1 for a 1,000-word blog post, to be submitted no later than [date TBA]. Members of research schools can enroll for the entire course for 5 EC and replace the blog post assignment of the final workshop with a 3,000-word paper.

Image: Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum

Registrations will open as soon as the dates are set. Huizinga members will receive an e-mail.