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pictura paedagogica online Pädagogisches Wissen in Bildern

Picture Archives and
the Emergence of Visual History of Education

ISCHE 40 Pre-Conference Workshop

3rd Workshop "Pictura Paedagogica Online: Educational Knowledge in Images"

Stefanie Kollmann, Lars Müller und Sabine Reh (BBF)
Tijs van Ruiten and Jacques Dane (Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum Dordrecht)

Venue: BBF - Research Library for the History of Education, Warschauer Str. 34-36, 10243 Berlin
Date: August 28, 2018

One of the characteristic features of modern life is the omnipresence of images - in public life as well as in the private surroundings. At latest with coining the term "Visual history" at the beginning of the nineteen nineties historical disciplines are dealing with this ever growing pool of pictorial sources. This is also true for educational history - especially when keeping in mind that the use of images in an educational context is common practice since early modern ages. This concerns the presentation practices, the design of didactic visual media and their use in educational practice as well as the illustrated traces of historical educational practice and historical educational knowledge (e.g. photographs of school buildings or educational scenes).
There are various digital picture archives to address the research questions of many historical disciplines. These databases, though, differ widely in purpose and design - and of course they cannot serve every scientific demand. According to Gerhard Paul there should be at least four layers of information evaluation when analysing historical images (reality of depiction, genesis, use and impact). Thus, building up a corpus of image sources with sufficient accompanying information can be quite challenging. As major topic the Pre-Conference Workshop will focus on the impact of the discipline on developing and maintaining of a picture archive. Are there key prerequisites for a picture archive on educational history? In how far can existing data archives meet the needs? What do the different data archives offer and how are they used? What is their strength and weakness in regard to a comprehensive analysis? Can they meet the demands of the visual history of education? Is there a need for another solution? Are there common basic requirements?

Please register by August 6, 2018.
There is no admission fee but the number of participants is limited.
Contact: Stefanie Kollmann | mail: | phone: +49(0)30.293360-37


August 28, 2018
9:00-10:30 Welcome
Tijs van Ruiten
Oud Goud
Jacques Dane
The Biblical School Wallcharts in the Collection of the National Museum of Education, The Netherlands, 1850-1950
Liane Strauß
History Wallcharts Crossing Borders - The Series "Schoolplaten voor de Vaderlandse Geschiedenis" in Germany

11:00-12:30 Sandy Eleanor Brewer
Macmillan's Nature Classroom Pictures:
How the Complications of Copyright Impede the Development of Digitised Archives
Panna Berta-Szénási
Decoration in the Classroom
Meng (Stella) Wang
A Visual History of Colonial School Architecture in Hong Kong 1921-1941

12:30-13:30 Lunch Break

13:30-15:00 Sylvia Kesper-Biermann
Where Fandom Meets Science: Comic Archives, Comic Databases and the History of Education
Sjaak Braster and María del Mar del Pozo Andrés
Engravings as a Blind Spot in the History of Education. Notes about a Private Collection
Gwendolin Schneider and Bettina Irina Reimers

15:30-17:15 Stefanie Kollmann and Lars Müller
Imagining the World
Chanjong Im, Thomas Mandl, Wiebke Helm, Sebastian Schmideler
Automatic Image Processing in the Digital Humanities: A Pre-study for Children Books in the 19th Century
Lars Wieneke and Gerben Zaagsma
Digital Resources and Tools in Historical Research
Closing discussion

Library Tour of the Bibliothek für Bildungsgeschichtliche Forschung


Panna Berta-Szénási

Decoration in the Classroom

Conceptual approach:
Over the course of my research, I analyze the furniture and equipment in classrooms in the 1960s. As a part of this, I examine the different decorative elements, both the ones that foster pedagogical processes, so called ostensive devices, as well as artworks created by students. These are usually placed on the walls of a school or on bulletin boards that are set up especially to serve this purpose. In fact, all of these images, objects and artworks provide information on the different methods and forms of education to researchers. So far, I have not found a database that would thematically collect the ostensive devices of pedagogical methods from a historical point of view. I believe the compilation of an archive of the historical branch of educational science and related ostensive devices and artworks, can be an essential task.

Historical sources:
The documentation of ostensive devices of several classroom environments and their different variations through history, make it possible to gather different sources. Images depicting classroom environments, surviving objects (maps, bulletin boards, various illustrations and paintings).

Main arguments:

  1. How and in what ways did previous databases treat the visual resources of ostensive devices?
  2. How can visual resources of methodological aids help in mapping the educational systems of each historical age?
  3. Where is the line? Can artworks made by students be considered ostensive devices?

Panna Berta-Szénási
University of Pécs "Education And Society" Doctoral School Of Education

Sjaak Braster and María del Mar del Pozo Andrés

Engravings as a Blind Spot in the History of Education. Notes about a Private Collection.

From 1992 up till the present day, we have been looking for and buying engravings of educational scenes, especially classrooms, in old prints shops all over the world, from Sydney to San Francisco, and from Paris to London. On the basis of this collection of engravings we are publishing articles. A first one appeared in the book School Memories, edited by Yanes, Meda & Vinao (2017) and two other ones about the same engraving (The school in an uproar or a picture of youth) will appear in History of Education & Childrens Literature and in an edited book.

The first time we have commented on a engraving from our collection was in the opening article of the special issue of Paedagogica Historica (2011) about popular education with articles of ISCHE in Utrecht (2010). So basically, we use our collection for further iconographical and iconolological analysis of the images, for learning more about the several techniques of engraving, and for studying the function of engravings in the past centuries. At the moment, this private collection contains about 200-250 original prints, that are not digitalised. There are no plans for digitalisation neither, because digitalisation for us has more disadvantages than advantages. We expect that the same kind of arguments will be used by other people that have built up private collections of visual material. In Berlin, we are happy to share our thoughts on the digitalisation of archives, besides showing some examples of how we can analyse engravings in the history of education.

Sjaak Braster
Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

María del Mar del Pozo Andrés
University of Alcalá, Spain

Sandy Eleanor Brewer

Macmillan's Nature Classroom Pictures:
How the Complications of Copyright Impede the Development of Digitised Archives

This paper expresses some reservations in accepting the view that modern technology has been a great enabler for academics working in the field of visual culture. It argues that using images accessed online can be fraught with difficulties, for example, the frequent absence of information about the contexts in which these pictures were produced, circulated and consumed. But the more serious concern for many scholars is the legal requirement to negotiate the right to reproduce pictures and to secure copyright clearance. While the field of visual culture is expanding, it is paralleled by an increase in the time and money academics spend in clearing permission to reproduce images. Publishers of journals seem to be especially cautious; needing reassurance from authors that the pictures included in their articles give accurate and detailed information about the copyright holders. This is, I believe, limiting the range of material that historians can draw upon without incurring substantial expense and it is an impediment to the development of visual archives.

In the UK, the wall charts and classroom pictures produced by the British publisher Macmillan (from 1930-1950) represent one of the most wide-ranging collections of this form of educational resource. The visual material was produced to support the written texts by the Froebelian teacher, and children's author, Enid Blyton, and E J S Lay, the latter producing Macmillan's Teaching in Practice, a multi-volume series. designed for teachers of infants, juniors and seniors. The pictures were sold in sets, each presented in an impressive portfolio, and covered history, geography, art and especially nature. The sets and accompanying books were first published in a period of economic uncertainty in the 1930s, but this was an educational innovation that proved to be a great success for the company.

Reflecting ISCHE's 2018 theme of nature and education, the Macmillan's classroom pictures used here are taken from two series on the topic. The first, for the younger children, was devised by Enid Blyton and illustrated by Eileen Soper. The second, for older children, was written by E S J Lay and illustrated by Kate Harvey. The pictures are of a high quality, both in design and printing and certainly worthy of study, but the publishers are not able to give any indication as to when, or even if the series might be made available for scholarly purposes.

The paper will argue that the complications of copyright are impeding not only the work of individual academics working in the field of visual culture, but also threatening the development of, and access to archives directly related to the history of education and concludes by asking colleagues to offer their own experiences of dealing with these problems.

Sandy Brewer (Dr)
Oxford Brookes University

Jacques Dane

The Biblical School Wallcharts
in the Collection of the National Museum of Education, The Netherlands, 1850-1950

Biblical school wallcharts play a considerable role in the context of Dutch educational history. Why is this? Since 1848, the Dutch education system has made it legally possible to establish schools with a religious background (the so-called "Wet op de Onderwijsvrijheid" - Law on Freedom of Education). As a result, the number of Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian schools has been quite high since the second half of the nineteenth century. At these schools the subject Biblical history took a prominent place on the curriculum. The latter can be seen in the collection of the National Museum of Education: the number of Biblical school wallcharts is quite extensive and covers a long period (the first series are published in the fifties of the nineteenth century, the last series are published in the fifties of the twentieth century).

Despite the long period of time and the large number of wall charts, research about the origin and the way in which this learning tool was used in Biblical education (Biblical history) is a rather neglected theme in Dutch educational history. Topics and questions raised during this presentation are:

  1. Why are the Biblical school wallcharts a blind spot in Dutch educational history? Is this because of the mass-scale character of the source?
  2. Which series were released in the Netherlands between 1850-1950?
  3. A number of series originate from abroad (the United States, Great Britain, Belgium and Germany). It is striking that the captions of some of the wallcharts are multilingual. What is known about the international character of these series?
  4. By whom were these series made? Did the illustrators relate to certain art movements?
  5. Who was reponsible for the content of the manuals? How were the wallcharts presented during Biblical history lessons?
  6. Did generations of pupils in various countries receive the same images of the Bible in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? This question could be investigated by international research and international cooperation in the field of digitization of Biblical school wallcharts.

Jacques Dane
Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum, Dordrecht

Chanjong Im, Thomas Mandl, Wiebke Helm, Sebastian Schmideler

Automatic Image Processing in the Digital Humanities:
A Pre-study for Children Books in the 19th Century

Conceptual Approach
In cultural sciences, the iconic turn has led to a more significant role of images. On the other hand, digital humanities develop innovative methods to support humanities with digital tools. That way, quantitative approaches can support traditional approaches in cultural sciences. The automatic processing of images in large numbers in order to support research within historical sciences is still in its infancy. So far, very few studies have been published; most of them are restricted to small numbers of images (e.g. Bender 2015).
The analysis of digitized historical books can be of great value. The work reported here intends to quantitatively support positions from cultural studies about images in children books in the 19th century.

Illustrations in Children Books
Illustrations in books had a significant influence of young readers because they were exposed to much less visual material.
Overall, the illustration history of children books in the 19th century has been well researched. However, there is still demand e.g. for analysing the overall visual knowledge offered and the influence of reproduction technologies (Schmideler 2014). As collection, a digitized subset of the Hobrecker collection available at the TU Braunschweig is used ( It consists of 167 books with some 16.000 pages including 4500 images. It comprises different genres, e.g. alphabetization and poem books (Düsterdieck 1985). This makes the digital part of the Hobrecker collection attractive for digital research methods. The collection contains unique image material, represents most reproduction technologies and shows popular content across different genres. The focus can be set on geographic, ethnographic and historical topics and their appearance throughout competing printing workshops .

Questions of research
The introduction of cheaper printing technologies led to an increase in the production of illustrated books. We developed a classifier which allows the identification of the printing technology used . A training set of images created using wood engraving and lithography as designed. A state of the art image classifier was used and resulted in only 70% accuracy after some optimization. The so called Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) follow the deep learning model and try to find the necessary features within the data themselves (Krizhevsky et al. 2012). Further training sets and classifiers especially for wood cut and copper engraving technologies are being developed. The following steps will include the search for similar images in order to recognize patterns of re-use.

We thank the Fritz Thyssen Foundation for their funding for the research project Distant Viewing.
We would like to thank the library of the Technische Universität Braunschweig for facilitate access to the digitized collection.

Bender, K. (2015): Distant Viewing in Art History: A Case Study of Artistic Productivity, in: International Journal for Digital Art History, Issue 1.
Düsterdieck, Peter (Bearb.) (1985): Die Sammlung Hobrecker der Universitätsbibliothek Braunschweig. Katalog der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur. 1565-1945. 2 Bde. München u.a.
Krizhevsky, A., Sutskever, I. & Hinton, G. E. (2012): Imagenet classification with deep convolutional neural networks, in: Advances in neural information processing systems, pp. 1097-1105
Schmideler, Sebastian (2014): Das bildende Bild, das unterhaltende Bild, das bewegte Bild - Zur Codalität und Medialität in der Wissen vermittelnden Kinder- und Jugendliteratur des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts, in: Kinder und Jugendliteratur in Medienkontexten. Adaption - Hybridisierung - Intermedialität - Konvergenz. Hrsg. von Gina Weinkauff u.a. Frankfurt am Main (= Kinder- und Jugendkultur, -literatur und -medien 89), pp. 13-26

Chanjong Im University Hildesheim
Thomas Mandl University Hildesheim
Wiebke Helm University Leipzig
Sebastian Schmideler University Leipzig

Sylvia Kesper-Biermann

Where Fandom Meets Science:
Comic Archives, Comic Databases and the History of Education

Even though the iconic or pictorial turn since the 1990s has drawn considerable attention to all sorts of images as valuable sources for historical research, comics are still being largely overlooked, both in general and educational history. Gerhard Paul's latest book about "the visual age" [Das visuelle Zeitalter], for example, does not show any interest in this type of media, although comics emerged already at the end of the 19th and flourished throughout the 20th century. This may at least to a certain extent be due to difficult source access. Comics are usually not collected by public or university libraries; they are not filed in public record offices. Therefore, researchers must rely heavily on information, especially databases, supplied by fandom. This situation poses specific challenges for scientific demands.

The proposed presentation will discuss this issue in three steps. First, I will point out briefly the potential of comics as sources for history of education: This so-called sequential art can give visual insight into every-day family life, educational principles and conflicts, for example. Comics also stimulated a broad public debate about the influence of images on children, especially on their reading skills, during the 1950s and 1960s. And finally, from the 1970s onwards at the latest, comics have been used as educational media in different contexts. The second part of the presentation provides an overview of existing archives and digital databases with regard to German and English language comics. In Germany, there are large collections in Hamburg (Arbeitsstelle für Graphische Literatur) and Frankfurt (Institut für Jugendbuchforschung). Several private initiatives provide online databases, e.g. or Third, I will discuss advantages and disadvantages of the current situation and develop ideas for future advancements in this field.

Prof. Dr. Sylvia Kesper-Biermann
Universität Hamburg, Professur für Historische Bildungsforschung

Stefanie Kollmann and Lars Müller

Imagining the World

Putting images back in context - after digitizing and indexing images Pictura Paedagogica Online (PPO), the picture archive for educational history, is aiming at offering new means for the research on images as historical sources.
One step is the project "Interlinking Pictura", a virtual research environment that presents images in the context of their origins and in connection with other digital sources. As case study Bertuch's "Bilderbuch für Kinder" (1790-1830), a major source of cultural studies and educational history, was selected.
Another step is the long overdue relaunch of the picture database itself. After evaluating the picture archive, its contents, its shortcomings but also its powers we decided not just to renovate and mend pieces but to reinvent Pictura from the scratch and with new partners.
In this talk we want to present the first results in transforming Pictura Paedagogica Online from a picture archive into an interconnection supporting research environment.

Dr. Stefanie Kollmann

Lars Müller

Gwendolin Schneider and Bettina Irina Reimers


DigiPortA - the digital portrait archive - is a collaborative project established by nine archives of the Leibniz Association. The project's main objective consists in promoting digitalization and indexing the portrait compilations of the Leibniz Association's archives. The portrait collections of the participating archives are presented in the database Due to the cooperation of the diversely aligned archives, the database's picture material depicts various professions. In this way, there are individuals of different domains displayed, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Industry, Architecture, Art, Seafaring, Mining, Geography and Education. The web portal takes the re-emerging biography research into account. Further source compilations for the biographical-historical research are uncovered by the provenance verification of every single portrait and the description of superordinated collections. Apart from single biographical research, it is possible to comprehend portrait's visual development and to question the display of professions or the social ranking of professional groups.
The BBF Archive of the DIPF partakes with portrait depictions of personal and institutional provenance. The database therefore contains many individual teachers' portraits in addition to portraits of popular educators, such as Adelheid and Marie Torhorst, Hugo Gaudig, Berthold Otto, Adolf Reichwein as well as persons of the Akademie der Pädagogischen Wissenschaften der DDR [The GDR's Academy of Pedagogical Sciences] and group portraits of teacher's associations.

Gwendolin Schneider

Dr. Bettina Irina Reimers

Liane Strauß

History Wallcharts Crossing Borders -
The Series "Schoolplaten voor de Vaderlandse Geschiedenis" in Germany

Everyone who is responsible for collections in school museums deals with foreign wallcharts on a regular basis because they were used by schools for a wide range of subjects. In some cases, titles and additional information in foreign languages make them easily identifiable, in other cases it requires some research to realize that a specific wallchart was originally published in one and later reproduced by companies in another country.

The wallcharts of the Dutch series "Schoolplaten voor de vaderlandse geschiedenis" (engl. Wallcharts for the national history) are examples of images crossing the border into the classrooms of neighbouring countries: First published in 1911 by publishing house J.B. Wolters in Groningen, the series became a bestseller in the Netherlands and was widely used for Dutch history lessons in primary schools throughout the country. After WW II, the German publishing house Gebrüder Höpfel in Berlin obtained the right to reproduce and publish these wall charts in Germany and this purchase turned out to be successful as well for the company: The images were sold until the early 1980s.

It is astonishing that this border-crossing of history wallcharts was possible: During the course of the 19th century, many European countries made History a mandatory school subject to familiarize pupils with government-approved perceptions of the past and to establish a national collective memory which would unify and strengthen the nation. Therefore, it is not unusual that neighbouring countries like the Netherlands and Germany remember different historic events or remember the same historic event differently. For this reason, it can be assumed that teaching material for history lessons like wallcharts could not be used in another country without making some alterations to them.

As there is hardly anything known about the extent and nature of these alternations, I want to analyse, among others, the wallcharts and accompanying teacher manuals of the series, correspondence between publisher J. B. Wolters and the illustrators who created the wallcharts and catalogues of both publishing houses in order to discuss the following questions: To what extent and how were wallcharts of the series "Schoolplaten voor de vaderlandse geschiedenis" adapted so they could be used in schools throughout Germany?

Liane Strauß M.A.
studied Medieval History, English and Catholic Theology in Freiburg and was responsible for the collection of the Schoolmuseum North Wuertemberg in Kornwestheim from 2010-2017. The historian is currently a PhD-student at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, where she is doing a study on pedagogically conveyed images of history in school wall charts. She is also doing research on the life and work of the Dutch illustrator Cornelis Jetses (1873-1955).

Tijs van Ruiten

Oud Goud

Tijs van Ruiten
Nationaal Onderwijsmuseum, Dordrecht

Meng (Stella) Wang

A Visual History of Colonial School Architecture in Hong Kong 1921-1941

This paper responds to the ISCHE 40 PCW CFP on 'picture archives and the emergence of visual history of education' by tracing the architectural history of colonial schooling in interwar years Hong Kong. Through exploring the architectural layout of different types of school: government, grant-in-aid, vernacular, boys', and girls' schools, I aim to address the role of school architecture in relation to race and gender in colonial Hong Kong- of how architecture functioned as a social technology in crystalizing racial and gender identities in the early twentieth century.

To address the effects of school architecture in shaping children's moral and physical conditions, and subsequently their racial and gender identities, I deploy the framework of space, and focus particularly on children's everyday sensorial experiences in spaces that were crafted for their playing, learning, and resting. Throughout this paper, I further propose a new way of reading architecture-captured in photographs and floorplans, which pays close attention to the interaction among function-the purpose school architecture performed; form-the construction of building interior and exterior; and flow-the activities the user of the architectural space participated. This framework underscores the intricate interplay between the physicality of the body and the materiality of the space, of how architecture and the body co-produced one another. To this end, I read the images of school architecture as a source to explore the role of colonial architectural engineering in reconfiguring children's everyday activities, bodily movements, and sensorial experiences.

I further argue that a visual history of colonial school architecture offers invaluable insight into how the colonial educational space was inhabited by children, and how such inhabitation shaped their body, and produced identities. Pictures of classrooms, dining hall, dormitory, playground, corridor, science lab illustrates not only the alignment of objects, but more so the possible bodily movement in the space, and the interactions enabled by the space-of what children could see, touch, hear, feel, and smell in the very space. The activities of inhabitation-sitting, reading, reflecting, thinking, playing, and exercising, all entailed varied levels of sensorial engagement with the material element of the inhabited space, through the choreography of the body, and the interactions with objects, children became the user and the producer of the architectural space.

To build a visual history of colonial school architecture, I draw upon a broad range of sources, including images stored in picture archive -'Hong Kong Memory', Hong Kong Public Record Office, school archives, and published sources. To provide context, I also utilize education reports, school newsletters and magazines, and oral histories.

Meng (Stella) Wang
The University of Sydney

Lars Wieneke and Gerben Zaagsma

Digital Resources and Tools in Historical Research

This proposal will discuss the use of digital picture archives and associated tools in historical research from the perspective of digital history with a focus on resources for the history of education. Our starting point will be threefold:

With this broader contextualisation in mind we will focus on the possibilities and limitations of digital picture archives for the history of education through a brief discussion of the following points:

Dr. Lars Wieneke
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History

Dr. Gerben Zaagsma
Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History