British photographic history

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New History and Theory of Photography Research Centre at Birkbeck

A new History and Theory of Photography Research Centre has recently been approved at Birkbeck, University of London. Based in the Department of History of Art and Screen Media, School of Arts, the Centre is led by Professor Lynda Nead and Dr Patrizia Di Bello, supported by a steering committee.

The Centre aims to facilitate, exchange and showcase existing and new interdisciplinary research on the History and Theory of Photography not only at Birkbeck but also in the wider photographic and academic community. It recognizes that photography is a medium that is at once art, science, commerce, legal or historical evidence, emotional memento, and many more things besides. It is interested in the materiality of photography throughout the arc of its life – from how it is taken; realized as a tactile as well as visual object (album, print, poster, book, magazine, file, screen); circulated in contexts that might differ widely throughout the lifetime of the photograph (for example from document – historical, legal, scientific, or personal – to ‘art’); and viewed in specific ideological, historical and material circumstances in the lab, at home, in the gallery, on the ‘phone, in the street, and in ways we have yet to imagine.

The Centre is committed to working collaboratively and with a range of outputs: reading groups, seminars, conferences, and publications. The Centre has links with museums in London, and supports teaching on photography in the School through the MA in History of Art with Photography and MPhil-PhD supervision.

A website is under development but initial information is already available at http://www.bbk.ac.uk/arts/our-research/centres/photography.

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