in practice: A use case with Silke Holmqvist, PhD student, AU (English)

This article is translated to English from the Danish original “Dét, som tilbyder, finder man bare ikke andre steder”.

The platform offers something that you can’t really find anywhere else

Silke Holmqvist, PhD student at History and Classical Studies at Aarhus University, is currently adding the finishing touches to her PhD project. It focuses on imaginings about guest workers’ emotional lives on television from the 1960s to 1980s. During her project, has given her the opportunity to map out the metadata for one of the central sources, TV programmes.

Silke Holmqvist’s PhD project deals with publically circulating imaginings about and images of guest workers’ emotional lives as they are shown and interpreted through pictures – for instance, through media – from the 1960s to the 1980s.      

“Especially “the Turk”, as he was called back then in the early 1970s, was often portrayed as virtuous, hard-working and loyal. Television tended to stereotype him as someone who did not drink, went to bed early and saved money for his family. Meanwhile, the Danes had started to buy TVs, they changed the wallpaper and bought new curtains and designer sofas for their single-family houses. In contrast, the brown man was idealised as dedicated and frugal. Images showed him arriving at train stations to dedicate his life to work far away from his family.

Later, in the late 70s and 80s, we see the problematisation of guest workers in Denmark. Now, TV frequently showed him in modernist mass housing areas. It often framed him as somewhat workshy, patriarchal and on welfare. But these two very different characteristics were actually attributed to the same man.  And, throughout the entire period, of course all guest workers were as different from each other as ethnic Danes were,” Silke Holmqvist explains. 

Overview | PhD project by Silke Holmqvist


Inventing an immigrant – An emotional geography of guest worker images in Denmark c. 1960-1989


I ask how media, including mass media but also the urban environment as a medium in itself, influenced the changing contours of the figure of the guest worker. The research design pays attention to the interaction between the emotional repertoires associated with or identified by visible minority workers and the urban places (material and fictional geographies) in which the guest worker was installed”.


  • Cultural history 
  • Immigration and minority studies
  • Emotional geography

EMPIRICAL BASE (a selection)

  • TV, radio and printing press about immigration from the 1960s to 1980s.
  • Collections of memoirs from former guest workers
  • Turkish/Danish literature, autobiographies by former guest workers

How did you use

“I started my PhD project by going through all TV programme guides from three decades at the Royal Danish Library. Back then, I did not know about’s digitisation of the programme guides – and it would have been great to search digitally instead of flicking through pages,” Silke says. 

Silke has used to check programme guides – both the TV programmes she had already located in the printed programme guides at the Royal Danish Library and the DR programmes she was allowed access to. With, she double-checked metadata for the programmes – data about airtime, reruns and programme descriptions. In addition, Silke Holmqvist has used in her teaching. She has encouraged her students to use it because it is an ideal place to find historical source material. 

“Media in general, both radio and TV, are heavily under-prioritised as historical sources, even though they are central for our modern time. In a historical perspective, we know very little about the television contents in prime time. In the period that I study, the Danes watched an average of 1 hour and some 20 minutes every day for 20 years. However, we do not know much about what they were looking at. offers insights into that matter,” Silke explains.

An example of use

“I knew which decades I wanted to study. I sectioned the search in five-year intervals to make sure that I did not get too many results. Then I created my own projects where I searched first for “gæstearbejder”, “fremmedarbejder”, “arbejdsindvandring”, “tyrker”, “pakistaner”, “jugoslaver” etc. Then I did the same searches across the chosen decades. 

I knew what was supposed to be there because I had studied the paper-based programme guides from the Royal Danish Library. However, sometimes I was surprised to find a  programme I did not know of, or a radio programme I could listen to. I was positively surprised by how many radio programmes I could access.”

Three advantages with using

Useful features

Create own projects, annotate, jump back and forth in programmes by 10 seconds and more.

Intuitive interface

The platform is easy and quick to get started with and has a user-friendly interface. 

A good place to find historical source material

Radio and TV are under-prioritised as sources, but central for the modern period. 

It is really rare that you don't find something in a search that puts your work into perspective

According to Silke Holmqvist, is an ideal place to find historical sources, both for colleagues and students, because it has so much to offer: 

“I can easily recommend to others, and I do it all the time. If a colleague is working with a specific historical topic, it is really rare that you don’t find something in a search – a radio programme that puts your work into perspective. is an excellent place to get a broad overview of events in our past.” 

Silke looks forward to finishing up her PhD dissertation and to defending it. She hopes to continue working with TV and minority studies in a postdoc position. 

“In the future, I’ll continue to need the platform to be accessible because it offers something that you can’t really find anywhere else,” Silke finishes. 

Behind the researcher

Silke Holmqvist is a PhD student at History and Classical Studies, Aarhus University. She has a BA in History of Ideas and an MA in Cultural History from Aarhus University. 

Her research interests include modern history, visual history, cultural history, minority studies and emotional geography.