Conference Organiser

2017

Diverse Migrations: Photography out of Bounds

Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

The consequences of the expansion of photographic practices around the globe are many and varied. Social interactions through and with analogue and digital photographs and the platforms across which photography is shared and disseminated keep challenging traditional socio-cultural boundaries. For its 2017 conference, Diverse Migrations: Photography out of Bounds, PHRC is particularly interested in how these processes affect peoples whose photographic histories are currently understudied. These may be (but are not limited to) African, Central American and Middle Eastern cultures.

Diverse Migrations: Photography out of Bounds seeks to interrogate what social and other meaningful photographic practices emerge when photographs cross boundaries, and move between individuals, places, and distinct cultural environments. Papers will concentrate on the following themes and related subject matters:

  • transnational and/or emerging photographic practices
  • cross-cultural knowledge exchange through photography
  • migrations across media
  • sharing and exchanging photographs
  • global forums for photography and its theorisation

Conference website

2016

Photography: Between Anthropology and History

Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

PHRC16On the occasion of Professor Elizabeth Edwards’ retirement, the 2016 PHRC Annual International Conference will address themes from her complex and wide ranging scholarship on the cultural work of current and historical social photographic practices. Photography: Between Anthropology and History aims to showcase scholarship driven by engagements with research methodologies that informed the material and ethnographic turns in the study of photographic history, and opened up a variety of innovative critical spaces for the re/consideration of photography and its history. Papers will consider questions related to:

  • Photography in historical studies
  • Photography and geography
  • Photographic collections
  • Photographic ethnographies
  • Photography and material culture
  • Historiography of the social history of photography
  • Photographic practice and social as well as technical change

Conference website

2015

Photography in Print

Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

IMG_4045Co-organised with my colleagues at the PHRC, Photography in Print explored the functions, affects and dynamics of photographs on the printed page. Many of the engagements with photographs, both influential and banal, are through print, whether in newspapers, books, magazines or advertising. We would like to consider what are the practices of production and consumption? What are the affects of design and materiality? How does the photograph in print present a new dynamic of photography’s own temporal and spatial qualities? In addition, photography can be said to be ‘made’ through the printed page and ‘print communities’. What is the significance of photography’s own robust journal culture in the reproduction of photographic values? How has photographic history been delivered through the printed page? What are the specific discourses of photography in the print culture of disciplines as diverse as history and art history, science and technology? Photography in Print continueed the theme of previous PHRC conferences, which explored photographic business practices and flows of photographic knowledge. Conference website

2014

Exchanging Photographs, Making Knowledge (1890-1970)

Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Photo 07-04-2014 17 31 28Co-organised with my colleagues at the PHRC this two-day international conference explored how collectivities of photography such as camera clubs, photographic societies, commercial photographic studios, and other groups of practitioners produced knowledge about world phenomena, about local and historical events, new technologies, visual practices and techniques, as well as about photographic history itself. In recent years scholars have begun to explore the ways in which photographs have been set in motion since the early nineteenth century in a range of circumstances, both social and cultural. Foregrounding detailed information about some of the main social conditions that enmeshed the use of photography within complex networks of institutional authorities, these accounts have shown how photographic practices and meanings were created jointly, by powerful groups of professionals and organisations. While such studies have clarified that the apparatus of photography and its various functions developed through institutional negotiations with sociocultural and economic forces, systematic interrogations of more prosaic, private exchanges that influenced the development and emergence of photographic enterprises are sparse.

Dominant histories of photography, with their attention on individual photographers have poignantly concealed much of the interpersonal, cross-cultural and collaborative relationships that have been at the core of the development of photographic technologies and processes, photographic images and objects, knowledge and education, as well as of the making of the hegemonic history of photography itself. This two-day conference invited further interrogation of private interactions between camera users, image makers, designers of photographic equipment, writers, publishers and curators. It encouraged contemplation of the impact that such exchanges might have had on the expansion of photography within the private and public, the social and political, as well as the professional and amateur terrains. Thus, the conference reconstructed forgotten links between histories of photography that have become isolated, and it reestablished overlooked connections between individual subjects whose encounters, friendships, collaborations and animosities led to significant practical or theoretical photographic activities. Conference website

2014

Analogue Photography in the New Media Age

Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Analogue Photography in the New Media Age explored the social and aesthetic appeal of resuscitating analogue photographic practices in a digital world. Recent decades have seen the emergence of photographic practices and technologies that have resuscitated either historical image-making techniques or merely the visual properties of analogue photographs. Some of these practices make use of actual analogue processes as alternatives to the digital means of photographic production readily available at present. Others utilise the digital technologies and platforms designed to support the production of photographic imagery whose appearance connotes the aesthetics of analogue photographs. Either way, a tendency to recreate or replicate the visual and physical characteristics of analogue photographs appears to be prevalent amongst amateur and professional practitioners alike.

While scholarly literature on this subject appears scanty, eclectic popular sources provide a number of possible reasons to explain the increasing number of analogue and analogue-looking photographs produced in the new media age. Some believe it is a nostalgic reaction to the rapid transformation of photographs into virtual ephemeral images,that are hyperrealistic and thereby removed from reality itself. Others claim it is the product of digital natives’ curiosity about what they interpret as obsolete technologies and the aesthetics of past times. According to another view, the tangibility of analogue processes and the ability to modify realistic representations by digital means make users feel in control of the mechanical and digital means of photographic production, as well as involved in the materialisation of photographic images and objects. In line with this perception, it is suggested that digital natives understand the physicality of analogue processes as the difference between amateur and professional practice.

It would seem that, in fact, this return to the analogue defines digital photography, its benefits, conventional uses and also its limits and limitations. This one-day postgraduate symposium fostered an interdisciplinary approach to the investigation of the current trend of returning to or reinterpreting analogue photography. In doing so, it addressed a diverse range of environments in which photographs are produced, disseminated or displayed to include, for example, social media, art galleries and museums, educational activities, photographic societies, camera clubs, and others.

2012

Insight Palestina: Images, Discourses, and the Image of Discourse

University of Leeds and the University of Huddersfield, UK

Insight Palestina PosterOrganised with my colleague Lior Libman (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; The University of Leeds), this one-day international conference focused on visual and textual images produced within, and in relation to, the circumstances of the Israel-Palestine struggle. It explored and challenged a range of research approaches to cinematic, documentary, literary, fine art and other media images, and looked into academic studies and patterns of interpretation which tend to solidify exclusive perceptions of politicised images. While such explorations often evoke a belligerent discussion, in which challenging theoretical perspectives are commonly being buried, Insight Palestina specifically focused on perceived relationships between politically-engaged academic investigations and the political agendas represented by the objects of their inquiry. Embracing theoretical and political complexities, Insight Palestina took issue with the reciprocity between images and historical narratives in a context that exceeds formal state, non-reflective and non-self-critical historiography. In this respect, one of its main aims was to explore modes of academic inquiry that are not removed from politicised discourses, while resisting the activation of tangential biased forces and demands. How can academic research modify socio-cultural perceived norms and conventional understandings to materialise a platform which allows for critical distance from binary-oriented political debates? Can academic research open up a space which does not compromise critical theorisation, activism, and radicalism while avoiding the reiteration of biased ideologies? Do academic investigations of politically-loaded images always-already generate or reinforce existing perceptual regimes and opinionated dogmas? Are academic researchers bound to using familiar methodologies in a manner reiterating and cementing political structures, constructions and divisions, even when intending to challenge or reconcile between them? These were some questions that Insight Palestina considered through the examination of various case studies.

2010

Supplementary Conflicts: Domesticities and Life Histories in Wartime

This conference session was part of the 36th Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, 15 – 17 April 2010, held at the University of Glasgow. (closed)

 

Session Organisers and Convenors:
Paul Fox, University College London
Gil Pasternak, University College London

Session Abstract:
Histories of warfare and insurrection have evolved constantly reflecting, in part, reactions to the shifting nature of war caused by factors including technological innovation, ideological motivation and institutional development. This session will explore personal visual responses to conflict, defined as the activities of armed groupings prepared to use lethal force to achieve political aims. It will consider the role played by visual culture in developing supplementary historical topoi that accompany, and may challenge, both popular and official accounts. We will explore personal visual responses to conflict produced in, or in relation to, the domestic sphere and everyday life, defined as visual representations of subjects played out in the social and political spheres.

Personal visual responses to conflict bear upon subject and identity formation. This session hopes to offer useful insights into the relationship between the historical constituted as narrative, on one hand, and the autobiographical as fantasy (rather than as fiction) on the other. This is not to say that the autobiographical provides greater insight into human experience than other modes of historical inquiry. Rather, this session will hold that autobiographical responses to conflict comprise just one productive source that provides access to the dynamic between the experience of ordinary people and subsequent wider accounts of the same event, in relation to which the personal may emerge as either complementary or subversive. Either way, the dynamic destabilises any tendency to accede unreflexively to dominant accounts of past conflicts. The session will explore the role personal responses to conflict play in the mediation of history and ideology, private and public narrations of history, and individual and collective identities.

Speakers:

Antigoni Memou (University of East London)
A Conflict of Representations: Photography and the Internet in the Zapatista Struggle

Alexandra Moschovi (University of Sunderland)
The Authentic Snap? D.I.Y. Reporting in the Age of ‘We Media’

Jeannine Tang (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Citizens Against Chauvinism: Martha Rosler’s Feminist Polemics

Stina Barchan (Independent)
Dada in the Suburb: Hannah Höch and the Second World War

Chris Cornish (Slade School of Fine Art)
‘The Killbox’: Experiencing Architecture and Landscape in Digital Warfare

Peter Stilton (University of Bristol)
Colin Self’s ‘Archaeology of Anxiety’

Ian Horton (University of the Arts, London)
Wilhelm Sandberg’s ‘Experimenta Typographica’: Domestic Origins and Post-war Impact

Sharon Jordan (Independent)
Painting in Arcadia: Ernst L. Kirchner and Male Friendship, 1914-1917

2009

Visual Conflicts: Art History and the Formation of Political Memory

AHRC funded one-day international conference at University College London.

 

The Department of History of Art, Saturday, 7 March 2009.

Location: Cruciform Building, Lecture Theatre 2

Organised by: Gil Pasternak and Paul Fox

The conference will explore ways in which visual culture has engaged with armed conflict and politically-motivated acts of violence of all types. It aims to provide a platform for developing links between issues of memory formation, the politics of violence and visual representation. Working with the analytical framework of the discipline of art history, it will consider the entire field of visual representation, to include, for instance, documentary film, reportage as well as images produced by individual agents but that were made public in one wayor another. It will consider questions such as how pre-existing narratives of conflict condition the way in which we derive meaning from representations of politically motivated acts of violence and to explore the implications for art historical inquiry posed by shifts in imaging technologies and of the experience of war itself.

Closing date for registration 27 February 2009. (closed)

PROGRAMME

09.30-10.00
Registration and coffee

10.00-10.30
Tamar Garb, Paul Fox, Gil Pasternak
Introductory Remarks

10.30-11.15
Tom Gretton (University College London)
Camp life: news pictures of military men and domesticity in British
and French imperial armies c.1870 to c.1900

11.15-12.00
Eva Kernbauer (University of Bern)
Mediality and historiality in Videograms of a Revolution

12.00-12.45
Sue Walker (University College London)
Fragments and the epic: soldierly subjectivity after Napoleon

12.45-13.30
Lunch

13.30-14.15
Katy Parry (Liverpool University)
Haven’t I seen that before? Photographic clichés of conflict and loss
in the British press

14.15-15.00
John Curley (Wake Forest University)
Life magazine “Picture of the Week” from 22 May 1944

15.00-15.30
Tea

15.30-16.15
Thomas Cauvin (European University Institute)
Exhibiting a conflict during a peace process; bicentenary of the 1798
rebellion in Ireland and Northern Ireland

16.15-17.00
Kira Shrewfelt (University of South California)
A martyr’s aesthetic: digital media in the twenty first century Middle
East

17.00-17.30
Summing up and discussion

17.30-18.30
Drinks

2005

Research Spaces: Materisalization of Practice in Art & Architecture

14th – 20th November 2005 (closed)

Hosted by the Slade School of Fine Art and the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London

Organized by:
Willem de Bruijn (Bartlett)
Kristen Kreider (Slade/Bartlett)
Chiristina Malathouni (Bartlett)
Gil Pasternak (Slade)

This AHRC funded week of workshops, exhibitions and paper sessions is a student-run initiative between the Slade School of Fine Art and the Bartlett School of Architecture. Concerned with how research practices materialise within art and architecture as well as in inter- / trans- / cross-disciplinary approaches between these two and other disciplines, Research Spaces aims at making the spaces and materials generated in and between the disciplines not only debatable but also the site of a week-long research event.

Recognising the broad range of interests at both schools – from archiving to film-making; model-making to performance; patterning to painting; drawing to theorising – the conference will explore the spaces produced through specific research practices, asking the following questions:

  • How can researchers open up the production of their research spaces to a wider audience and in what ways are these spaces then occupied, inhabited, activated or otherwise politicised?
  • How do specific research practices materialise: as text, objects, works, constructions – or otherwise?
  • What different types of spaces evolve from the crossover between art and architectural research as well as between these two and other disciplines?
  • How do theoretical and practical concerns interrelate? How do we theorise space? How can we spatialise theory?

The workshops and conference paper sessions will take place from Monday 14th until Thursday 17th November, while the exhibition will develop throughout the week 14th – 20th November in a sequence of rooms at the Woburn Square Studios. Throughout these rooms and for the duration of the week’s events, researchers will be making, performing, teaching, discussing, writing or otherwise materialising their research practices so that the whole program enacts a physical and conceptual journey through variant spaces of contemporary research as produced by all those involved in the events.

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