2016 Programme


Now in its seventh edition, NPS 2016 is organised this year in partnership with FORMAT International Photography Festival off year and QUAD. It explores three main themes: new online photographic communities that are revolutionising learning and showing of work; the challenges of making – and forgetting – visual history in an age when everything is recorded. And it also explores the recently announced transfer of the National Photography Collection from the National Media Museum in Bradford to London’s V&A Museum.

To book your ticket for the National Photography Symposium (20th – 22nd April) please click HERE.

Tweet: #NPS16



18:00 Doors and registration open

18:30 to 19:30: Opening Keynote Address by Hester Keijser: On clouds, islands and diversity in the digital biosphere – a call for climate change in online photographic communities.

The two main themes of the symposium explore issues raised by the networked technologies that many photographers find themselves using on a daily basis. The talks and panel discussions will elaborate how we take part in and shape the digital culture that has evolved. The keynote by Hester Keijser will address risks and challenges facing us as we inhabit this digital biosphere. To what extent are we in control of our online presence and participation? What qualities need to be negotiated for peer to peer communities to thrive? How is the perceived need for narrative photography related to the rise of social media?

Hester is an independent curator and author specialising in contemporary photography. Currently she is advisor for the Mondriaan Foundation and is engaged as associate curator of the Noorderlicht Foundation in the Netherlands. Based in The Hague, she blogs as Mrs Deane, a name borrowed from a spiritualist medium.


9:30 Doors and registration open

Morning session – New Communities

Exploring the intersection between photography and digital culture, the photographic communities that are springing up, and the tools for learning and developing as a photographer that are emerging in consequence. How flexible and dynamic are online communities; does this also mean they are less permanent and does that matter? How effective are the new learning and development approaches that they foster? What is the role of traditional institutions and associations – how are they responding to changes and developments?

10:00 to 11:00: Presentations
Camilla Brown – LensCulture
Camilla will consider her work over the past 8 months with LensCulture (www.lensculture.com). She will explore and discuss what such online platforms offer photographers and curators and what the challenges are of presenting work in this context. What are the pros and cons of this new virtual frontier and how might we creatively respond in our glocal age?
Jonathan Shaw – Disruputive Media Learning Lab
Jonathan will introduce the pioneering work of his Disruptive Media Learning Lab which acts as an agent of change for new models for education, teaching and research, and other innovations in pedagogy, in the fields of photography and culture.
Followed by Brief Q&A

11:00 to 11:20 Break

11:20 to 12:05: Presentations
Karen Harvey, Creative Development Director of Shutter Hub:
In her work Karen explores new ways to reach out, to share, and to show talent to a hugely diverse and varied audience, without being confined by timescales, costs, or situation/location.
Scarlett Crawford – independent practitioner and educator. Scarlett will give an introduction to herself and her practice as an independent practitioner and educator. She will discuss whether the priorities for learning and development in photography have changed in the context of social and technological change in the last decade. She will discuss what she thinks we need to do to ensure that the widest range of people can access and benefit from learning opportunities including increasing representation, integration and cross cultural exchange, and an overall change of the industrial education system.
Tim Gander, commercial photographer and a moderator for the EPUK (Editorial Photographers UK) email forum, will outline EPUK’s origins and purpose, highlighting its campaigning efforts and its evolution in a changing media world. He will also describe the benefits and challenges of running an email discussion group from the perspective of the moderator team, as well as the pros and cons of this model from its users’ point of view.

Straight into…

12:05 to 12:45: PANEL DISCUSSION Chaired by Paul Herrmann
Including the morning participants and Hester Keijser

12:45 to 14:00: Lunch

Afternoon session – Making Visual History

Many photographers set out to record or document for posterity and history. In the past this has involved multiple selection and editing processes, with ultimately relatively few images stored long term. But now that no image need be deleted and almost everything is stored, how will our era be remembered visually – will it have a “defining” narrative, and if so what part do individuals have in shaping that narrative? There is an ethical dimension to this; does the perceived need for narrative affect the truth or fact of what is being remembered? Has “forgetting” become a conscious act of deletion, disposal or even hiding? We invite you to explore with a range of photographers and historians what it now means to photograph for history.

14:00 to 15:10: Presentations

 Joy Gregory – artist working with photography and related media
Here today… Over the last 10 years Joy’s interest has been captured by disappearances of intangible histories. She has used a range of photographic materialities to be record their existence. This seems ironic when one considers the fragility of the digital image, which is constantly threatened by the instability of our many storage devices (including the Internet) and the continuing advance of technology. Joy will be taking the issues at the centre of her more recent projects as a prism through which to reflect on the future of the photographic image in the 21st-century.

Alan Ward – artist and designer
The Gearing Archive Re-imagined. In 2013, while an artist in residence, Alan Ward bought some glass negatives on a whim from eBay. They had no provenance or documentation, though seemed to show a single extended family and its travels and activities. Over a three-year period of what he calls “forensic research and voyeuristic obsession” Alan worked out the locations shown, pieced together the story told by the images, and in doing so uncovered – re-imagined – the history of the Gearing family and the society in which they moved.

15:10 to 15:40 break

15:40 to 17:15: Panel session with the above speakers and:
Sarah Fisher, Director of Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool
Graham Harrison, Editor of Photo Histories, The Photographers’ History of Photography

Introduced and chaired by Kelley Wilder – Director, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University.


The National Collections Debate

Friday is given over to discussing future possibilities for the UK’s national photographic collections, and the role of institutions in supporting photography into the future. We are delighted to welcome speakers from key institutions, as well as photographers and researchers, with a view to generating new ideas and potential outcomes for the photographic community.

Confirmed speakers for the day:

Michael Terwey, Head of Collections & Exhibitions at the National Media Museum
Martin Barnes, Senior Curator, Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum
Michael Pritchard, Director-General of The Royal Photographic Society
Colin Ford, first director of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television
Anne McNeill, Director of Impressions Gallery, Bradford
Francis Hodgson, Professor in the Culture of Photography, University of Brighton
Jo Booth, artist and researcher
In addition Graham Harrison, Sarah Fisher and Paul Herrmann will take part.

10:00 to 11:30: The background to recent proposals and changes including: the history of the UK’s national photography museum; the decline in cultural sector funding; the location of cultural assets, and the dominance of London.


Colin Ford (with intro from Paul Herrmann):

Michael Terwey

Michael Pritchard

Martin Barnes:

Q & A with Michael Terwey, Michael Pritchard, Martin Barnes and Paul Herrmann:


We are anticipating a lot of questions and comments at Friday’s debate and suggest that you send questions in advance. Please email any questions/comments to question@redeye.org.uk. Please include your full name; questions may be published. Please get your email questions/comments to us no later than 18:00 on Thursday 21st April. We will also be handing out slips should you wish to write your question during the symposium. These can be handed in to Redeye staff or volunteers up until 9:45 on Friday morning.


11:50 to 13:00: How might we move forward from this to create a stronger photography sector? Exploring both centralized and distributed case studies internationally and from different disciplines; the future for collections; mapping resources and joined-up thinking.


Sarah Fisher and Francis Hodgson:

Panel session Friday – the above and Jo Booth, Graham Harrison with Paul Herrmann:


13:00 to 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 to 15:30: Break outs, idea generation and discussion sessions.


16:00 to 16:30
Conclusions and next steps.


Friday reports back and conclusion:


Alongside Friday’s Symposium sessions are the FORMAT International Portfolio Review all day at QUAD. FORMAT has carefully selected 25+ international experts in the field of photography, from around the world to be available for meetings. For the reviewer list and to book, visit the link here.

More speakers being confirmed weekly. Speakers may change.

Who should come?

This event is strongly recommended for anyone interested in photography and the future of the medium, whether photographers, curators, academics, students, writers, collectors or organisation staff.


Weds 20 April 2016: 18:00 to 19:30
Thurs 21 April 2016: 10:00 to 17:30
Friday 22 April 2016: 10:00 to 16:30


Prices are as follows:

Standard three day ticket: £45
Concession, low waged or student: £35 for three days
Redeye member or portfolio reviewee £25 for three days

To book your ticket for the National Photography Symposium (20th – 22nd April) please click HERE.

Photo credit: from the Gearing Archive: Girl c. 1936; from Alan Ward’s presentation on the discovery and re-imagining of a family history

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