Projecting Knowledge


13 - 14 October 2022
Sociëteit de Vereeniging - Mariaplaats 14 3511 LJ Utrecht

Final Conference Projecting Knowledge: The Magic Lantern in Science Communication

Around 1900 the optical lantern had been adopted by scholars as a teaching aid in various academic disciplines as well as in outreach activities (as public illustrated lectures). Starting in 2018, Projecting Knowledge has studied academic uses and practices of knowledge dissemination with the lantern.

During this two-day conference we would like to discuss and put our findings in perspective. We do this in five panels, consisting of the project’s team members and invited speakers who will address central questions we have encountered in our research, followed by plenary discussion. We wrap up with a closing statement. The panels’ topics are: How can we study the audiences of illustrated lectures? What pedagogical strategies were used? How do images convey knowledge? How do different spaces inform the process of knowledge dissemination? How do the material sources impact research?

Our goal during these two days is to have a thorough conversation with all participants to foster our understanding of the complex issues at hand by looking at them from various viewpoints. This will benefit, we hope, not only our project, but also contribute to the broader field of the history of knowledge by stimulating reflection on the role of media in shaping practices of science communication.

Thursday, 13 October 2022

10.00-10.40             Registration

10.40-11.00             Welcome, by Prof. Dr. Els Rose, Director of the Institute for Cultural Research (ICON) – Media and Performance Studies

11.00-12.30             Panel I Audiences | Chair: Frank Kessler

Knowing your audience

Dr. Klaas de Zwaan, Faculty of Humanities, Art and Culture, History, Antiquity, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Imag(in)ing Publics through Urban Geography and Print Sources

Dr. Annelies Andries, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) – Musicology, Utrecht University

12.30-14.00             Lunch

14.00-15.30             Panel II Pedagogy | Chair: Klaas de Zwaan

The Dutch university, 1880-1940

Prof. Dr. Bert Theunissen, Freudenthal Instituut – History and Philosophy of Science, Utrecht University

 The anatomist’s toolbox: teaching anatomy to medical students, 1890-1940

Dr. Laurens de Rooy, Curator Museum Vrolik, Academic Medical Hospital Amsterdam

Knowledge transmission through projected images in Dutch universities, 1880-1940

Jamilla Notebaard, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) – Media and Performance Studies, Utrecht University

15.30-16.00             Break

16.00-17.30             Panel III Images | Chair: Jamilla Notebaard

Projected Photographs as Evidence: Testimony and Efficiency

Dr. Scott Curtis, Associate Professor of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and of Communication at Northwestern University in Qatar

Defamiliarizing the Magic Lantern Show:

Wonder, Speculation, and the Explorers Club

Prof. Dr. Alison Griffiths, Distinguished Professor of film and media at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center, New York

Pictures of Knowledge

Prof. Dr. Frank Kessler, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) – Media and Performance Studies, Utrecht University

Friday, 14 October 2022

11.00-12.30             Panel IV Spaces | Chair: Nico de Klerk

The planetarium dome

Dr. Martin Bush, University of Melbourne / Descartes Center, Utrecht University

Public lectures at Teylers Museum

Trienke van der Spek, Chief Curator of Scientific Collections, Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Spaces of public illustrated lectures in the Netherlands after 1900

Dulce da Rocha Gonçalves, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) – Media and Performance Studies, Utrecht University

12.30-14.00             Lunch

14.00-15.30             Panel V Sources | Chair: Dulce da Rocha Gonçalves

Time Capsules: Lantern slides in their media-archaeological surroundings at the Seminar of Art History, University of Hamburg

Dr. Anke Napp, Director of Historical Image Archives, Seminar of Art History, University of Hamburg

Open-Source Archives: Mitigating and Harnessing Archival Incompleteness for Education and Research

Dr. Vincent Longo, Department of Film, Television, and Media, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Imperfect camouflage: reporting public illustrated lectures in Dutch newspapers, 1890-1940

Dr. Nico de Klerk, Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) – Media and Performance Studies, Utrecht University

15.30-16.15             Break

 16.15-17.15             Closing statement

by Prof. Dr. Paul Ziche, Research Institute for Philosophy and Religion Studies – Utrecht University

17.15                         Drinks

Conference program brochure can be found here.

[Pictures by Sabine Lenk]


A personal account of the conference written by speaker Dr. Anke Napp can be found here.

Vincent Longo’s contribution was also included in a newsletter from the University of Michigan.