Collecting Social Photo: Seminar and Workshop

Museums and archives as memory institutions have always had photographic collections and nowadays the question is how to incorporate the digital born social photography into these collections while preserving their communicative and memory-making function. The social digital photograph is a complex and elusive entity, characterized by its abundance, ephemerality and the immediacy of consumption through online sharing. How can museums and archives seize the opportunities to document contemporary social life and digitally-mediated photographic practices, what is the role of these institutions as collectors of social digital photography, visual communication, social interaction and memory-making that takes place on social media.

The Nordic research project Collecting Social Photo (CoSoPho) that ran from 2017 to 2021 was structured around three initial research questions: firstly, the effect of social digital photography on the work practices and policies of memory institutions; secondly, the implications of the social digital photograph as a complex assemblage on current collections databases and interfaces; and thirdly the challenges of adopting participatory and inclusive methods in the creation of photography collections.

The seminar and workshop in Tallinn will present and discuss the recommendations of the CoSoPho project in how to succeed in digital social photography collection projects – how to collect social photography in a human centered, agile and iterative way.

After the presentation the CoSoPho team will conduct a workshop to give hands-on experience planning a user centered project for collecting social photos.

The seminar and workshop is organised by Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom in collaboration with the Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council (BAAC),

Estonian Photographic Heritage Society (EPHS) and Estonian Museum Association.

In 2021 Vabamu is running a project “Collecting digital culture in Estonian museums” and social photography seminar is first out of two seminars organized.

The event is free of charge. Number of participants for the workshop is limited (participants from GLAMs and Estonia are prioritized).

Registration form



Vahur Puik (event curator, BAAC, EPHS)
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Taavi Koppel (project coordinator)
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10.30 Gathering

11:00 Introductory seminar session
Kajsa Hartig (Västernorrlands Museum, Sweden) and Bente Jensen (Aalborg City Archives, Denmark)
Presentation of the Collecting Social Photo project followed by Q and A
The rest of the project team will be present: Anni Wallenius (The Finnish Museum of Photography) and Elisabeth Boogh (Stockholms Läns Museum, Sweden)

12:00 Workshop
Practical exercises: Discover what to collect and from whom
Explore the topic, possible stakeholders and methods. Gather insights through research and ideation.Vision and purpose. User research. Define possible solutions.

12.30 – 13.30 lunch

13:30 Practical exercises: Define the collecting initiative
Analyse results from ideation process. Decide which methods and tools should be used. Define a concept. Define a value proposition, answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ for all stakeholders. User journey mapping

14:30 Present in groups

15:00 Coffee break

15:30 Practical exercises: Develop a draft initiative – test

Produce a prototype for the concept. Perform user testing. Refine and iterate. Present in groups.

16:30 Short presentation: Deliver the collecting initiative

Launch the collecting initiative. Perform outreach. Monitor and participate. Responsive approach. Monitoring the online tool. Evaluate. Scale or end initiative.

16:45 Wrap up