Vestiges of Memory:
Intersections between photography and autobiographical memory

This interdisciplinary research symposium focuses on ways in which 21st century artists, photographic practitioners and other researchers explore the intricate relationships between photography and autobiographical memory.

Event details

  • 18 July 2024 - 19 July 2024

    09:00-19:30 (GMT)

    The Cragg Lecture Theatre, UCA Canterbury

Andersdotter, Sara - frightfully speculative eye, 2024

Relationships between photographic images and memory have been a long-time fascination for artists, writers, photographers, critics and academics.

Across two days, this interdisciplinary research symposium sets out to explore exciting new ways in which 21st century artists, photographic practitioners and other researchers interrogate, mine, imagine, respond to, question and reflect upon intersections between autobiographical memory and images created through what the philosopher Gilles Deleuze called the “frightfully speculative eye” of the photographic camera (1990: 243).

We aim to let the wide range of papers of this symposium instigate debate and discussion, and lead to contemplations on what new, germinal potential may emerge out of contemporary research in the field of photography and autobiographical memory.

Keynote speakers

Prof Annebella Pollen
(Professor of Visual & Material Culture, University of Brighton)

Prof Annebella Pollen has a long-standing research interest in mass photography and the popular image, found photos, family albums, vernacular archives, amateur competitions, photographic publishing and the photographic industry.

She has published extensively on photography, including her books Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life (2015), and More Than a Snapshot (2023)

Hrair Sarkissian
(Photographer and artist)

Syrian photographer and artist Hrair Sarkissian’s practice draws on personal narratives, collective memory and trauma in evocative, poignant projects that discuss local and wider social and historical issues. He earned his foundational training at his father’s photographic studio in Damascus.

Spanning photography, moving image, sculpture, sound and installation, Sarkissian’s practice creates meditative dreamscapes in some moments; deathscapes in others—sites where the muted voice, absent from the frame, is temporarily offered space to breathe.

He was recently shortlisted for this year's Deutsche Börse Prize for his 2022-23 exhibition The Other Side of Silence at Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht.  

 

Symposium
Programme

  • 9.30am: Registration
  • 10.00 am: Welcome & introduction: Dr Sara Andersdotter 
  • 10.15 am: Keynote: Prof Annebella Pollen, Professor of Visual & Material Culture, University of Brighton
    • Photographic Firsts, Seen from a Distance: Adult Memories of Childhood Camera Experiences
      Prof Annebella Pollen has a long-standing research interest in mass photography and the popular image, found photos, family albums, vernacular archives, amateur competitions, photographic publishing and the photographic industry. She has published extensively on photography, including her books Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life (2015), and More Than a Snapshot (2023)
  • 11.00 am: Panel 1: Memoir, Autobiography & Post memory:  Photographic stories mediated by the past and present
    Panel discussion and Q&A will follow papers by:
    • Max Ferguson, University of the Arts London (LCC)
      Whistling for Owls and Deadfall
    • Miranda Hutton, Canterbury Christ Church University
      Caged Birds and Kingfishers: the shifting narratives of memory and autobiography in photographic practice
    • Kalpesh Lathigra, University of the Arts London (LCC)
      Memoire Temporelle – Temporary Memory: What are our memories if not the mirrors we gaze into 
    • Dr Caroline Molloy, University for the Creative Arts
      The Invention of Memory in the Age of Digital Photography
  • 12.15pm: Lunch break
  • 1.00pm: Panel 2 – Family stories & personal history: acts of re/deconstruction
    Panel discussion and Q&A to follow papers by:
    • Kamal Badhey, PhD candidate at the University of Brighton 
      Reflections on Portals and Passageways 
    • Kate Carpenter, Photographer & independent researcher
      Shakes of the Kaleidoscope: family, photography and the fragmentation of memory
    • Phil Hill, Photographer & independent researcher
      The Absence of the Photograph: Re-evaluating personal histories through photographic archive and its objects
  • 2.25pm: Break
  • 2.45 pm: Panel 3 – Photographic entanglements: Autobiography & Embodiment  
    Panel discussion and Q&A to follow papers by:
    • Greig Burgoyne, University for the Creative Arts
      To picture, is not to remember 
    • Fergus Heron, University of Brighton
      Photography, Ordinary Places and Remembered Pictures 
  • 3.50pm: Panel 4 – Mnemonics of loci: Conflict, Memory, Place
    Panel discussion and Q&A to follow papers by:
    • Sian Gouldstone, Bournemouth University
      Negotiating Nostalgia, Folding Photographs: a practice-led critical examination of whiteness, as a politics of belonging in suburban Naarm
    • Mireia Ludevid i Llop, Artist & PhD candidate at University of the Arts London (LCC)
      My Grandfather was Born Underwater: Recovering Personal Memory through Autoethnographic Archive Practices
    • Dr Mischa Twitchin, Goldsmiths, University of London
      Photographic Memories 
  • 5.20pm: End note and summary of the day: Dr Caroline Molloy 
  • 9.30am: Welcome & introduction: Dr Sara Andersdotter
  • 9.40 am: Panel 5 – Acting out: interpretation, reenactment and performance
    Panel discussion and Q&A to follow papers by:
    • Clare Bottomley, Falmouth University and PhD candidate at Aalto University
      Destabilising memories through Photographic Re-enactment 
    • Dr Ana Janeiro, IHA-NOVA FCSH / IN2PAST / University of Westminster 
      Embodying the family album: acts of performance 
    • Material Memories Research Group: Becky Nunes (Staffordshire University), Alice Mercier (PhD candidate at the University of Westminster) and Mary Phan (Victoria & Albert Museum Curatorial Fellow)
      Forgetting and the photobook: An epistolary conversation discussing the photobook as a mediation or translation of memory
    • Prof Richard Sawdon-Smith, Norwich University of the Arts
      A Life Lived Through Photography: The Living Archive 
  • 11.35am: Panel 6 – Raw and tender: regarding the pain of trauma 
    Panel discussion and Q&A to follow papers by: 
    • Gail Flockhart, Artist & PhD candidate at University of Plymouth 
      Trauma, Trace and Memory in Photographic Practice: A Diffractive Posthuman Approach  
    • Susanne Hakuba, Photographer & independent researcher
      Processing (trans-generational) trauma from the perpetrator & bystander perspective of a German family through images 
    • Celine Marchbank, Falmouth University and the University of the Arts London
      A Stranger in My Mother’s Kitchen 
  • 12.30pm: Lunch break
  • 1.15pm: Panel 7 – Leaky archives: (re)encounters and traces of the untold
    Panel discussion and Q&A to follow papers by:
    • Pelumi Odubanjo, curator & PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow
      Fragmented Traces and Archival Re-encounters in the Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti Collection
    • Sam Vale, Coventry University
      Latent: Uncovering secret gestures and unconscious (autobiographical) practices in the South East Archive of Seaside Photography
  • 2.45pm: Keynote: Hrair Sarkissian, photographer
    • Syrian photographer and artist Hrair Sarkissian’s practice draws on personal narratives, collective memory and trauma in evocative, poignant projects that discuss local and wider social and historical issues. He earned his foundational training at his father’s photographic studio in Damascus. Spanning photography, moving image, sculpture, sound and installation, Sarkissian’s practice creates meditative dreamscapes in some moments; deathscapes in others—sites where the muted voice, absent from the frame, is temporarily offered space to breathe. He was recently shortlisted for this year's Deutsche Börse Prize for his 2022-23 exhibition The Other Side of Silence at Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht. 
  • 3.20pm:  End note and summary of the symposium: Dr Sara Andersdotter
  • 3.40pm: Social drinks and networking

Further
Details

The conference will be held at The Cragg Lecture Theatre at UCA Canterbury. 

View map and directions

If you have any queries, please email the organiser, Dr Sara Andersdotter: vestigesofmemory@uca.ac.uk.