Anna Dahlgren. Foto: Helena Björnsjö

Anna Dahlgren


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Works at Department of Culture and Aesthetics
Telephone 08-16 20 50
Visiting address Frescativägen 22B-26
Room 244
Postal address Institutionen för kultur och estetik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Professor of Art History, PhD in Art History on the thesis Photographic dreams and digital illusions. The use of altered photographs in the Swedish daily press, advertising, propaganda, and art in the 1990s (Brutus Östlings förlag, Symposion, Stehag, 2005).


2006-2011 I held a postdoctoral fellowship at Institutet för folklivsforskning, Nordiska Museet funded by Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities. Since 2011 I have had a position as associate professor and senior lecturer at the department of Art History at Stockholm University. Among other things I have developed the new A-level course Konstvetenskap 1. Visuella studier which has run since fall 2013.

During 2015 and 2016 I have a research sabbatical funded by Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond on the project Art, Borders and Boundaries.

Research profile

I am interested in photography, display practices and visual culture. A core interest is how images and other visual media are produced, circulated and used and migrate between different visual contexts. I have studied Swedish advertising- and fashion photography, press photography and contemporary photo based art. Moreover I have worked with the effects of the digital turn, with the implications of digital image alterations as well as current issues of digital archiving and access.

Research projects

Art, Borders and Boundaries (2015- )
This project seeks to explore the mechanisms by which borders and boundaries between art and other visual expressions have been upheld and transgressed in different periods and image systems. It cross-fertilizes art history and visual studies with media theory, cultural studies, design and fashion studies. By this inclusive approach I focus on the overlaps and the osmotic nature that characterizes the bounds of art and explore the mechanisms by which images and imagery have migrated over it. This includes the agents, individuals and institutions, acting in these processes and their rhetoric as well as the visual and textual contexts in which these processes of exclusion and inclusion take place. The project consists of four case studies that investigate different visual techniques (collage, photography, drawing, performance), display contexts (illustrated press, cityscapes, albums) and periods (from the 1860s through 2000s) that highlight the nature and further implications of such transgressions. The theories and working concepts are multi-disciplinary including ‘social biography’ of images and imagery (visual anthropology) and image ecology and image systems (media theory, visual studies) among others. Funded by Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond/Sabbatical 2014.

A medium for visual education. Cultural historical perspectives on photo albums 1850-1950 (2007-2013)
The project considers the photo album as a medium in the nineteenth century. The material aspects of the photo album are in focus as a means for understanding its use, function and meaning. Furthermore the social, cultural historical and ideological contexts of the photo album are analysed synchronically and diachronically. By using a broad visual studies perspective I relate the photo album to other media for displaying and consuming photographic images in the period.

Funded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities and Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

Representational machines (2009-2013)
A Collaborative Research Network and publication funded by Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. Photography, much like any other form of representation, poses pressing questions about sense, habitus, modalities of representation and perhaps most insistently these days, about the productive capacity of its representations. Photography does not merely represent the phenomenal world in some neutral and objective manner—we know that—but neither does it suffice to show that it represents the world in a manner saturated with conventions and choices, manipulating techniques and interests. What seems important today is to face the question of how these conventions, interests and technologies have enabled photography to be productive and how that productivity involves space. The project includes 13 European scholars. See: Representational Machines: Photography and the Production of Space

Networks and commissions

Steering the national Seminar for photo research, funded in the beginning of 2008. Funded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities. See:

Steering the network Photography Next funded by Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and Swedish Research Council (VR). The network organized a international paper conference with the same name in Stockholm in 2009
( and is currently organize a collaborative research network and publication called Representational machines.


Last updated: December 5, 2017

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