ID: 160



M.A., Archivist, Aalborg City Archives and associate professor, Aalborg University in charge of studies related to archives and cultural heritage. Member of NAET, Network of Archival Educators and Trainers, and the ARCHIDIS project. Member of Nordic network group on archival outreach and coordinator of Nordic anthology on Archives, Outreach and Communication (2015)

Field of research as well as practice: User relations, outreach and use of social media. Participatory archives. Focus on visual media: Photography and film, and architectural archives.

Chairwoman of the Danish Society to Preserve Photography and Film (LFF), Committee Member in the project: Vad er det med arkiv? (art and archives) by Norwegian Cultural Council. Member of the board of the Nordic Center of Heritage Learning, NCK, Sweden.


Instagram in the Photo Archive - Curation, Participation, and Documentation in the Archives through Social Media

Brief summary:

Based on case studies of the practice of a number of Nordic archives the paper will discuss how the development of ubiquitous photo practices using smartphones and applications such as Instagram can generate new forms of interaction with the users and simultaneously be a part of traditional practices of the archives such as acquisition of images.


The paper will discuss the possibilities for archives in a “networkedsociety where mobile phone cameras and social media applications as Instagram make it easy to produce, edit, tag, and share images on the move. The diffusion of smartphones makes the social media increasing mobile and foster unrestricted participation as people arenearly always-on” and the speed during which photos can be shared is accelerated. Mobile devices also make it possible to connect to, comment and interpret the topography of city- and landscapes and ongoing events, as we shall see in the analyzed cases. This means the relation between the archives and the user is extracted into the landscape and it is a part of the event.

The paper analyzes how a number of Nordic archives and memory institutions position themselves as agents of history; in the mediation junction between communication, self presentation, and memory the smartphone photography and app’s are placed in. The archives offer history and eternity to the volatile photo practices as a part of their strategi which in the case studies are accepted positively by the photographers. The archives have evolved methods to work with social photography both as acquition of archival images and as new forms of communication using the application Instagram. Tagging, pinning and collaborative mapping are ways of articulating the place or a theme. The use of hash tags has become a unique tagging convention to help associate the images with contexts and is essential, when curating, categorizing.

Critics could claim that the quality of the photos is too poorWe shall see it depends on the strategy of the archives, how this statement is addressed.

Scientific contribution:

The paper attempts to combine two dynamic fields of research: The discussion of archives and participatory practices (Eveleigh, Huvela, Theimer, Yakel, Jensen, and Jensen) and the ongoing discussion of the nature of digital and smart phone photography between the spheres of memory, communication, and self representation (Van House, Pink, Hand, Hjorth, Van Dijk).

Case studies show how a number of Nordic archives transform the volatile images to archival material through their practice and strategies. At the same time the archives utilize the communicative element of the photographic practices to develop new forms of communication with the user groups through e.g. collaboral tagging and mapping. This practice adds new examples to the discussion of the character of collaboral tagging and photos, the function of tag in general and geographic pinning and mapping (Van House, Chang).  


social photography, smartphone photography, iphoneography, social media, participatory culture, participatory archives, tagging, on line sharing, Instagram, archives, museums