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Symposium cfp: The Camera, Social Networks and The Inaccessible, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day / 9 April 2019

The National Trust for Scotland is inviting papers for the first Morton Photography Symposium, to be held on Tuesday 9 April, 2019 at Broughton House & Garden, Kirkcudbright: The Camera, Social Networks and The Inaccessible, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day. This symposium is inspired by a collection of photographs held at Broughton House in Kirkcudbright; the home of Scottish painter, Edwin Atkinson Hornel.

Comprising glass plates and prints taken in Japan, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Burma (now Myanmar) and Scotland, the collection shows how photographs inspired Hornel’s artwork.  He joined a photographic society in Japan, was sent photos by his fellow artists in Scotland and worked with a photographer at home in Kirkcudbright. The camera and these social networks gave him access to people, places and subjects that may otherwise have been hard to reach.

Papers on any aspect of the photographer and social networks, as well as on how the camera creates a distance that can justify access to ‘foreign’ sites or inaccessible subjects, will be considered. It is hoped the conference proceedings will be published at a later date.

Subjects may include (but are not restricted to): 

  • The camera’s ability to provide access to inaccessible people, places and cultures.
  • How social networks – from 19th century photographic societies to contemporary sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – can provide forums for sharing photographs and accessing the inaccessible.
  • The networks created and used by Scottish artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • The influence of the camera on Scottish painting.
  • The camera as a tool of colonialism and/or stereotyping.
  • How the camera can provide new opportunities for, or give a voice to, marginalised people, places and cultures.

Please send a proposed title and abstract of 200-300 words for a 20-25 minute paper to Ben Reiss at by Friday, 12 October. Scholars at any stage of their career are encouraged to submit proposals. 

Any enquiries about delivering a paper or attending the symposium may also be directed to Ben at this address, or please phone 07864 918969.

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