Blind Spots: Working with Images of the Former Danish West Indies Colony in the Collections of the Royal Danish Library

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentationForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


Since the 1990s there has been a growing international scholarly interest in colonial images. Researchers have confronted romanticisms, atrocities, and racism in their analyses of the production and reception of colonial visual material. Concurrently museums have challenged the conception of photography as a “window to the world” and used the exhibition and the collections to develop critical interpretations of colonial visual heritage.
Denmark-Norway was a multilingual state from 1536 until 1814 when Norway was ceded to Sweden. In this period, Denmark-Norway gained possession over territories across the globe. During the seventeenth century, colonies in Africa, India, and the Caribbean were established, and Denmark-Norway participated in the transatlantic slave trade.
As a National Library with Legal Deposit Law and Special Collections dating back to the beginning of colonialism The Royal Danish Library holds substantial source material evidencing this history. On the occasion of the commemoration of the 100 years of the ceding of former Danish West Indies to the United States in 2017, The Royal Danish Library in several ways used the image collection to bring the colonial past to discussion.
In this ‘Lightning’ talk I give an insight into some of the activities: the exhibition Blind Spots. Images of the Danish West Indies Colony, the participatory project What Lies Unspoken lead by Dr. Temi Odomosu, the datasprint Representing History Through Data, education at the summerschool at CHANT (Crucian Heritage And Nature Tourism) and online at I also introduce the problems connected to digitization and the possibilities and shortcoming of the library catalogue and metadata when working with colonial images today.

Periode17 sep. 2021
BegivenhedstitelNational Libraries Now 2021: International Perspectives on Library Curation
Grad af anerkendelseInternational


  • colonialism
  • photography
  • carribean
  • exhibition
  • blind spots
  • what lies unspoken