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cfp: Another Eye: Women Refugee Photographers in Britain 1930s-60s / London: 1 May 2020

The impact of refugee artists in shaping British visual culture between the wars and in the post-war period is relatively well documented. Far less well-known is the fact that among the refugees fleeing Nazi-dominated Europe for Britain there were many women photographers. The work of these women, some well-known, many unrecognised, brought a fresh approach to British photography in the decades that followed.

The conference will consider the contribution of these women émigré photographers to British visual culture. In so doing, it will analyse the nature of the European cultural practices they brought with them and investigate their work across portraiture, social-reportage, architectural and still-life photography; it will also look at their work for magazines such as Picture Post, Lilliput, The Radio Times, The Listener and Vogue, and for book jackets, record sleeves and the documentation of artworks at the Warburg institute. Many set up their own studios, producing portraits of the British cultural elite; others observed the more socially diverse world of the city. In the 1940s they played a significant role in representing British national life anew as part of the post-war social democratic reconstruction. A primary aim of the conference is to consider how their experience as both (mostly Jewish) outsiders and women shaped their practice.

The conference, organised by the History & Theory of Photography Research Centre, Birkbeck and Four Corners in association with the Insiders/Outsiders Festival (https://insidersoutsidersfestival.org/), accompanies Another Eye: Women Refugee Photographers in Britain 1930s-60s, a major exhibition at Four Corners Gallery, London, which runs from 28 February to 2 May 2020 (https://www.fourcornersfilm.co.uk/another-eye).

Proposals for papers, which will be 20 minutes in length, are invited from postgraduate students, academics and independent scholars on topics including, but not limited to:

Individual Photographers

New research being done on relatively well-known figures such as Dorothy Bohm, Gerti Deutsch, Elsbeth Juda, Lotte Meitner-Graf, Lucia Moholy, and Edith Tudor-Hart. Papers focussing on those who only stayed in England for a relatively short time (such as Grete Stern, Ellen Auerbach, Trude Fleischmann, Lore Kruger, Margarete Michaelis and Erika Anderson née Kellner) will also be considered.

However, priority will be given to lesser-known figures such as Inge Ader, Alice Anson, Anneli Bunyard, Elizabeth Chat, Bertl Gaye (née Sachsel), Laelia Goehr, Lisel Haas, Adelheid (Heidi) Heimann and Hella Katz, Germaine Kanova, Erika Koch, Erna Mandowsky, Betti Mautner, Ursula Pariser, Gerty Simon, Lore Lizbeth Waller (née Back) and Gisele Zinner.

Disrupted career paths

The Exile Photographer’s Career – a collective look at the paths into exile and in and out of photography.

Critical evaluation of work in different genres

Portraiture, photo-essays, photojournalism, photography of art objects, fashion, and advertising. 

The convergence of British documentary with European photojournalism

As seen in the work of Gerti Deutsch, Edith Tudor-Hart and Elisabeth Chat among others.

Networks of support (or not), both personal and institutional, including publication outlets

These might include Picture Post, Lilliput, Weekly Illustrated, Georg Fayer studio, Report photographic agency (Simon Guttmann), the Warburg Institute, the Reimann School, The Ambassador, The Radio Times, The Listener, Tatler, Vogue, The Diplomat, Queen, Women’s Journal, The National Geographic, The Geographical Magazine, The Royal Photographic Society.

The intersection of Jewishness, class and gender

Legacies and influence:

To include the nature of these photographers’ influence on later women photographers, the process of their rediscovery and the role of archives, both institutional and personal, both in the UK and abroad.

Another Eye: Women Refugee Photographers in Britain 1930s-60s
Conference, Birkbeck, University of London, 1 May 2020

Abstracts of no more than 300 words, and a short biography of no more than 100 words should be sent to Carla Mitchell (carla@fourcornersfilm.co.uk) by 2 March 2020. 

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