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Karl Vesterberg

Doctoral student

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What happens when historians, instead of visiting the archive with the purpose of writing history, visit the archive with the purpose to draw history?

My name is Karl Vesterberg, I am an illustrator and PhD-student at the Department of History, Lund University. In my dissertation project Visual Microhistory, or a Way of Wormage I combine artistic practice and history with the aim to develop visual microhistory as a methodological perspective for studying the historical and historiographical conditions of drawing history. The project has a interdisciplinary starting point, where the conditions to draw history (mapping, modelling, illustrating and animating) are studied at the intersection between historical research, archaeology, anthropology and sustainability studies. The main argument of my thesis is that history must always be seen as a social, economic, and ecological sustainability concern.

On the side of my dissertation project, I recently finished the project Gothenburg 1713: a visual microhistory (Göteborg 1713: en visuell mikrohistoria). Through a combination of illustrations and transcribed source fragments, the book concerns Gothenburg during the beginning of the 18th century, where the focus is on the towns people and their possibility to define the town. The book has been authored in collaboration with the National Archives of Sweden in Gothenburg and also resulted in the exhibition (with the same name) during the autumn of 2022. The project is used as the empirical foundation for my dissertation project.

Since spring 2022 I have also worked on a projected called Archival Exhibition – A model for participatory history. Drawing on agenda 2030 and the concept “archival exhibition” the purpose of the project is to develop a model for sustainable exhibition production that opens up for different interpretations, public participation, and creative engagement within the cultural heritage industry. The projects have been funded by LU Innovation.

Apart from my research I am also teaching the course HISA38, History: Project Management and Project Work for Historians, within the second year of the bachelor’s program in history. Within the course the students plan and realise a history-project (often with a public audience). Since a few years I have also freelanced as an illustrator within the fantasy genre and some of my work can be seen at

UKÄ subject classification

  • History
  • Visual Arts

Free keywords

  • Environmental History
  • Microhistory
  • Visual Culture


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