A Million Pictures


We are happy to invite you for the International conference

A Million Pictures: History, Archiving, and Creative Re-use of Educational Magic Lantern Slides
29 August – 1 September 2017 at Utrecht, The Netherlands.

NEW: tweet and read about the conference with the hashtag #amillionpictures

The magic lantern was an important visual entertainment and means of instruction in nineteenth-century Europe and its former colonies; it was used in popular and academic teaching until the 1950s. However, despite its pervasiveness across multiple scientific, educational and popular contexts, magic lantern slides remain under-researched.
The project and the conference engage with magic lantern slides on several levels:

  • studying the historical importance of magic lantern slides, projection apparatus, readings, and other paraphernalia as tools in the history of learning in a wide range of fields
  • exchanging archival practices and discussing tools for cataloguing, archiving and giving access to magic lantern slides held in heritage institutions and other collections
  • stimulating the re-use of this form of cultural heritage in scholarly, artistic, documentary, cultural and other creative practices.

The conference will present and discuss the outcomes of the Million Pictures project and share them with all those interested in the magic lantern and lantern slides from a scholarly, historical, archival, curatorial, artistic, museological, educational or practical point of view.
It will also provide a platform for both presenting ongoing scholarly research on the magic lantern, with an emphasis on lantern slides as a teaching tool as well as for presenting activities in the fields of archiving and creative re-use.

A keynote will be given by media historian Prof. Erkki Huhtamo (UCLA – Design Media Arts / Film, Television, and Digital Media) and a closing statement by Prof. Vanessa Toulmin (University of Sheffield / Research Director of the National Fairground Archive). The programme will also contain magic lantern performances, roundtables and demonstrations.
Please see the Call for Contributions (PDF) or Call for Contributions (DOCX) for detailed information about these formats.

Practical Information

Practical information around the conference can be found on the following pages:


Travel & Venue:
Information on getting to Utrecht, the conference locations and accessibility information

Information for Contributors:
This page will be updated regularly.

We expect to publish the first detailed conference schedule end of April/beginning of May.

Registration and Fees :
The registration form and online payment system for conference fees will be available from 1 May 2017.


We are thankful for funding from the Conference Grants Funds of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)Print