Past Events

Photo Archives VI: The Place of Photography, April 20–21, 2017

Department of History of Art, University of Oxford

Conference Venue: Christ Church, Oxford

Podcasts of most of the conference talks are now available online via the following link:

For reactions to and images of the conference, search Twitter for #PhotoArchivesOxford.

Photography Conference, April 2017

This major international conference was convened by Geraldine Johnson (University of Oxford), Deborah Schultz (Regent’s University London), and Costanza Caraffa (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz—Max-Planck-Institut). It was sponsored by the Kress Foundation, the John Fell Fund and the History Faculty’s Sanderson Fund at the University of Oxford, and Christ Church, Oxford. It is the sixth in the Photo Archives conference series—for information on the series, click here.

The complete conference programme can be downloaded here.

For a copy of the conference booklet, including abstracts, click here.

The conference investigated photographs and photographic archives in relation to notions of place. In this context, place was used to explore both the physical location of a photograph or archive, as well as the place of photography as a discursive practice with regard to its value or significance as a method of viewing and conceiving the world. Photographs are mobile objects that can change their location over time, transported to diverse commercial, artistic, social, academic and scientific locations. The photograph’s physical location thus has an impact upon its value, function and significance; these topics were explored at the conference through a range of archives and across disciplines. How might the mobility of photographs open up thinking about archives and, in turn, classificatory structures in disciplines such as Art History, Archaeology and Anthropology, or in the Sciences? The conference also addressed questions of digital space, which renders the image more readily accessible, but complicates issues relating to location. What is the place, or value, of the photographic archive in the digital age?

The conference featured internationally-renowned speakers, with a keynote lecture by Geoffrey Batchen and closing remarks by Elizabeth Edwards. Site visits to Oxford’s outstanding photographic collections were also part of the programme, including to the Bodleian Library’s Talbot Archive, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, the Griffith Institute’s archives of archaeological expeditions, the Middle East Centre Archive at St Antony’s College, the Christ Church Library, and the History of Art Department’s Visual Resources Centre. 

To download the conference poster, click here.

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