Many research intiatives and websites deal with nationalism as a political ideology. SPIN deals with the cultural aspects of European nationalisms in the long nineteenth centry, and within that field of interest focuses specifically on the networks of intellectuals and scholars as well as artists.

National thought as it emerged in the nineteenth century was not merely a political ideology, it had an important cultural component. Cultural production (involving both knowledge production and artistic production) shaped the outlook and ambitions of nationalism. This cultural production could involve artistic production in various media (visual arts and music) and knowledge production in various disciplines (folklore studies, archaeology), but textual cultural production was of direct importance: besides patriotic poetry and verse, or the historical novel, the knowledge production in the new field of philological research, investigating the nation's vernacular linguistic and literary "roots" and rootedness.

SPIN has undertaken to situate the artists and intellectuals as a specific cohort of agents in European cultural and political history, to chart how and to which extent these culural produceres on nationalism formed communication networks, exchanging information and inspiration, while working on the interstice between various scholarly disciplines and different artistic media.