In her two-part article published on e-Flux, Innovative Forms of ArchiveNataša Petrešin-Bachelez describes the ways that Eastern European art collective IRWIN has begun a process of self-historicisation in order to (re)create a history of their cities and countries. Based on Rancière’s argument that political art can change the visible, sayable and thinkable, she argues that these artists participate in changing the path of artistic and academic research by setting up “…discursive aspects or forms of presentation that may be said to constitute “innovative forms of archives.” Such a phrase is at the same time deliberately ironic, as the notion of scientific or creative innovation is necessarily followed by the well-known support structures of presentation (exhibitions, events, and so on), within whose regimes and formats the Rancièrian redistribution of the sensible takes place.”

Hence the question that she raises is, in a way, about the accessibility of history: who can make it, who can store it and declare it official? What forms does it take, and are they still appropriate for the contemporary discourses that we (a vast we) are trying to bring together? Where are old maps and pictures and texts stored, anyways, and how? In recent years, there have been efforts by many online platforms to digitise and make accessible their collections or those from the Bundesarchiv (German national archive). If you are looking for information about past events or projects, or looking for some fun collage practices, we recommend you take a look at the references below. Please comment on this post to suggest more ways of researching heritage in online archives!


Intended for the General Public – Reads Effortlessly
Be modern,
collectors, museums.
If you have old paintings,
do not despair.
Retain your memories
but détourn them
so that they correspond with your era.
Why reject the old
if one can modernize it
with a few strokes of the brush?
This casts a bit of contemporaneity
on your old culture.
Be up to date,
and distinguished
at the same time.
Painting is over.
You might as well finish it off.
Long live painting.

Asger Jorn, Exhibition catalogue, Rive Gauche Gallery (May 1959)


Do share with us your tips to researching heritage!


International Mission Photography Archive
German Colonial Society Archive
Bundesarchiv (German National Archive)
British Library
Library of Congress
Northwestern University / Africana
Royal Institute of British Architects / RIBA Pix
Royal Institute of British Architects / Catalogue
CAMP: Cooperative Africana Materials Project
National Archives (UK) / Africa through a Lens
David Rumsey Map Collection
Africa South of the Sahara
Heimatverein Tiergarten
Mitte Museum (closed since 1 April 2016 for renovation)
Landesarchiv Berlin
Landesarchiv Berlin – Images / Sound / Film
Filmarchiv Deutsches Cinematek
Akademie der Künste
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Berlinische Galerie
Hamburger Bahnhof
German Historical Museum
Newspaper Archives (German and international, including Tanzania)
Die Zeit (German weekly newspaper)
Taylor & Francis online journals*
Elsevier online journals* / open access humanities and social science journals
TU Library
Avery Architectural Periodical (through TU library login)
Architecture related databases
Berliner Stadtplan Archiv / old Berlin maps
google books
google scholar