Photographic Digital Heritage: Institutions, Communities and The Political

Photographic Digital Heritage

Online conference organised by the DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium in partnership with the National Trust, 19-20 October 2021


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.