CFP: Workshop „Maps and Colours“, Hamburg, 5. bis 6. November 2020

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the three-year joint research project „Coloured Maps“ (2018–2021), involving the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures and the Mineralogical Museum, Center of Natural History (CeNak) (both University of Hamburg), the Hanseatic Business Archive Foundation and the Museum am Rothenbaum in Hamburg. Applying methods from the material sciences and with art- and cultural-historical approaches, the research group analyses hand-drawn and hand-coloured maps from European and East Asian areas, produced between the 15th and 20th century. Our research focuses on the function of colour, technical aspects and colour production, but also on the historico-cultural classification of selected maps.

In the framework of our research project, we are organizing a workshop with a cross-cultural approach to discuss the material nature and meaning of colours on maps.

We want to discuss maps and colours, methods and discourses, colourants and analytical approaches. We will focus on European and Asian maps between 15th and 19th century but are also interested in debating maps from other areas.

In correspondence with the multidisciplinary approach of our research project, we invite contributions from various fields of research such as the history of cartography, arts, technology, science as well as scholars from restauration, cultural, visual and material studies. Work in progress contributions are as welcome as finalized results.

Topics might include, among others

  • colour codes and colour systems on maps
  • early colour prints
  • map colouring technologies
  • colour and materiality of maps
  • materials for colouring maps: pigments and dyes
  • commercial interest in colouring maps
  • local colours on local maps
  • the use of specific colours on maps
  • exchange of colour knowledge
  • case studies for the identification of colours on maps

Please send your proposal in English (up to 500 words) and a 1-page CV before 1st March 2020 to diana.lange@hu-berlin.de. Notification of acceptance will be given by 18th March.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact

Diana Lange (Asian maps), Benjamin van der Linde (European maps; general information) or Peter Zietlow (natural sciences).

Museum am Rothenbaum “MARKK” (diana.lange@hu-berlin.de)

Hanseatic Business Archive Foundation of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce


Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC)/University Hamburg