Conference: The Place of Photography

On 20 and 21 April, Christ Church hosted a major international conference, Photo Archives: The Place of Photography. The conference investigated photographs and photographic archives in relation to notions of place, both in terms of a photograph or an archive's actual physical location, and in terms of 'place' as a means of viewing or conceiving the world. In considering the nature of photographs as mobile objects that can be transported to different locations, participants were asked to question how this opens up thinking about archives and photography in relation to different disciplines, such as Art History, Archaeology, Anthropology, and the Sciences. The conference also considered the issues that are raised by digital spaces, posing questions relating to the place and value of photographic archives in the digital age. 

Convened by Geraldine Johnson (Christ Church Tutorial Fellow and Associate Professor in History of Art), along with Deborah Schultz (Regent's University London) and Costanza Caraffa (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut), the conference included over 110 participants and featured internationally-renowned speakers, including a keynote lecture by Geoffrey Batchen (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) and a final discussion led by Elizabeth Edwards (Victoria & Albert Museum Research Institute). There was also the opportunity for site visits to a number of Oxford's outstanding photographic collections, including the Christ Church Library, where participants were able to view albums associated with Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, presented by Christ Church Librarian Steven Archer along with Patrizia Di Bello (Birbeck College, University of London). 

The conference was sponsored by Christ Church, the Kress Foundation, the John Fell Foundation and the History Faculty's Sanderson Fund. To find out more, visit the conference website or see the comments and photographs at #PhotoArchivesOxford. Some of the talks given at the conference will be made available as podcasts - please keep an eye on the conference website for further information.