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Visual and Material Culture

The Research Network Visual and Material Culture aims to offer cultural historians studying and working in the Netherlands insight in and interaction with state-of-the-art research. Over the past decades, the field of cultural history has seen performative, affective, and material turns as well as rapid digitization of sources and the development of digital research methods. These developments are profoundly reshaping the way we work. Traditionally, historians tend to prioritize culture over nature, minds over bodies, and words over things. The performative turn has led to the inclusion of making practices in historical research, the affective turn has brought the bodies and emotions of historical actors into our field of study, and the material turn has brought the agency of historical objects and materials into focus. Combined with the increased availability of digital collections and tools, this raises questions about the way we experience, study, document, analyze, and disseminate our sources and research results.

The Research Network Visual and Material Culture strengthens the academic field of cultural history in the Netherlands through a minimum of two academic symposia, hands-on workshops, excursions, or lectures per year. These activities are organised in collaboration with and open to graduate students and academics in cultural history and related academic disciplines, and GLAM professionals. Every academic year, the network links these activities to a research theme related to the expertise of one or more network members, allowing optimal use, extension, and strengthening of existing networks.


  • Dr. Marieke Hendriksen, HuC KNAW (history of knowledge, coordinator)
  • Dr. Marjolijn Bol, Utrecht University (technical art history)
  • Dr. Marlise Rijks, Ghent University (history of art, science, and technology)
  • Prof. dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann, University of Groningen (art history)

Forthcoming themes:

  • The Sensory Archive (2023-2024)
  • Sustainability in Research Practices (2024-2025)
  • Image revolutions: Printmaking in the Low Countries from woodcut to lithography (2025-2026)