The Photography and the Archive Research Centre, based at London College of Communication part of University of the Arts, is to close after nearly 20 years. PARC was founded in 2003 by Professor Val Williams and Julian Rodriguez, then Dean of Media at LCC. After 15 years as Director – which saw partnerships with the National Media Museum, Tate, Photoworks, Magnum Photos and others Val Williams stepped down. Since 2018 her archive now resides at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol.
In 2018, Directorship of PARC was taken over by Brigitte Lardinois who specialises in photographic archives and has strong links to the world of photojournalism through a decade working as Cultural Director of Magnum Photos. In her tenure as director of PARC she has built strong links with the UAL’s Archives and Special Collections Centre and focused PARC outputs on social engaged research and practice.
The Centre's stated aim was to facilitate practise-based and scholarly research that develops an understanding of lens-based works. PARC endeavours to widen participation with archive collections. PARC seeks to expand upon dialogues surrounding decolonialism, climate change, conflict and trauma within the institution and beyond. Its outputs include a wide range of events – exhibitions, publications, workshops, study days and conferences – with a special interest in archival collections, notably the documentation of war and conflict and the transfer of analogue archives to digital forms.
It has gathered a number of significant collections over the years and these will now migrate to the university's library and special collections. Lardinois will remain on the academic staff.