Martin Parr, New Brighton, England, From "The Last Resort," 1983-85 © Martin Parr, Magnum Photos, Janet Borden
Photography and Britishness
November 4, 2016-November 5, 2016
November 4–5, 2016

This conference seeks to investigate the various ways in which ideas about Britain have been communicated, inflected, and contested through the photographic image. How has photography been used at “home” and “abroad” to create a variety of images of Britain and Britishness, defined as much from the outside as the inside? How do photographs mirror, reinforce, or interrupt what constitutes “Britishness,” in national, local, imperial, colonial, and postcolonial contexts? What national and regional cultures and conflicts do the construction of British identity subsume? Can “Britishness,” indeed, have a photographic referent or is it itself an effect of representation?

We seek papers that consider how photography—as opposed to, or in tandem with, other modes of image-making—has been invested with the capacity to visualize, articulate, and contest ideas about Britain. Papers may consider any period in the history of photography, and focus on individual case studies or broader historical questions. Proposals might address the work of individual photographers, photo agencies, or photographic archives; the photographic print or album; different photographic technologies such as lantern slides, stereoscopes, or digital photography; the uses of photography in pedagogy, advertising, news, propaganda; photography as a tool of surveillance and record; the display and exhibition of photographs; or photography as art and document.

We invite proposals for papers from scholars in any field. Graduate students and early career scholars are particularly encouraged to apply. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the organizers.

Please e-mail abstracts of no more than three hundred words and short CVs or bios, no more than two pages, to The deadline is May 16, 2016.

This conference is a collaboration between the Yale Center for British Art; the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London; and The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut

Keynote address by Martin Parr:

Friday, November 4, 5:30 pm