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Job and News: V&A announces The Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project

The V&A museum has announced The Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project, a major new curatorial programme to support women in photography. The Project, funded by Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and the Parasol Foundation Trust, encompasses a new curatorial post alongside acquisitions, research, education and public displays, aiming to foreground and sustain women’s practice in contemporary photography and highlight the role women have played throughout the history of the medium.

The Parasol Foundation Curator of Women in Photography – a new curatorial position, endowed for 25 years – will lead the Project’s activities. Recruitment for the role begins today and details of the role can be found here.

The Project furthers the V&A’s mission to nurture contemporary artists and share the museum’s collections, knowledge, and expertise in photography. Through commissioning women to create new work, acquiring photography by women artists, devising women-led displays, and organising talks, educational programmes and events, the Project’s ambition is to support contemporary women artists, develop programming, and investigate the roles of women photographers within the V&A collection. International in scope, there will be a particular emphasis on digital art, and the digital distribution of resources and information via social media. The Parasol Foundation Curator of Women in Photography will also develop a significant online presence for the Project, including a dedicated Instagram account to highlight works by women artists, which will launch in early 2022.

The Project is made possible through a major gift from Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and the Parasol Foundation Trust, a philanthropic trust established in 2004 that supports educational, health, culture and heritage initiatives. In addition to the Trust’s support of the Project, Gallery 97 at the V&A will be named The Parasol Foundation Gallery. This gallery, a space for displaying contemporary photography, is part of the V&A Photography Centre Phase Two development.

Duncan Forbes, Head of Photography at the V&A, said: “We are thrilled to launch this programme in support of women photographers at the V&A. It allows us to focus resources over a sustained period and to celebrate the creativity of women artists across the photography collections. The opportunity to bring work by contemporary photographers into dialogue with the V&A's rich historical archive is particularly exciting. The programme arrives at an energising moment for photography at the museum with the forthcoming expansion of the Photography Centre in 2023. We are very grateful to the Parasol Foundation Trust for its enlightened support.”

Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol said: “I’m delighted to be working with the V&A to create the Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project. We’re aiming to celebrate the achievements of women in photography and inspire the next generation of women photographers to fully express their creativity and achieve their potential. Our focus on digital art and social media will open up participation and help us connect with the widest possible audience.”

The V&A was the first museum in the world to collect photographs, beginning with its founding in 1852, and continues to collect and commission new work today. Phase One of the V&A Photography Centre opened to critical acclaim in 2018, sharing the breadth of the V&A’s world-leading photography collection, and Phase Two – with four new gallery spaces – will open in 2023.

The next 18 months will be a busy time for photography at the V&A. On 6 November 2021 the existing Photography Centre will be entirely rehung with two new displays. Maurice Broomfield: Industrial Sublime will open in Room 100, The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery, and next-door, Known and Strange: Photographs from the Collection in Room 101, The Sir Elton John and David Furnish Gallery. The V&A will also be recruiting the second Curatorial Fellow in Photography, supported by The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation in 2022.

See ParasolCuratorofWomeninPhotography-JD-Sept21%20%281%29.pdf and the link here to apply. Applications close 8 October 2021.

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