A new, institute-wide research focus, “Visual Regional Geographies” will concern how images, maps, and their associated texts shape geographic knowledge. By examining visualisations’ forms, contents, and processes, we can understand how they mediate our views of places and inform our visions for the future.
To achieve this goal, the focus will develop, apply and critically assess new visual and digital methods. For example, approaches from digital humanities and AI can help researchers identify patterns or find connections across collections. The unique image-map-text collections of the IfL Archive—including historic maps, paintings, photographs, and expedition diaries—is central to this effort. By enriching these materials with georeferenced data or comparing them with image recognition software, new possibilities for research and transfer will emerge. In interpreting the collections, the IfL will critically reflect on its own history and cultivate new international collaborations—especially with partners in the regions of the works´ origins. Such efforts will enhance the archival collections’ discoverability, research potential, and relevance for contemporary concerns.