Photo Archives VI: The Place of Photography

This conference investigates photographs and photographic archives in relation to notions of place. In this context, place is used to explore both the physical location of a photograph or archive, as well as the place of photography as a discursive practice with regard to its value or significance as a method of viewing and conceiving the world. Photographs are mobile objects that can change their location over time, transported to diverse commercial, artistic, social, academic and scientific locations. The photograph's physical location thus has an impact upon its value, function and significance; these topics are explored at the conference through a range of archives and across disciplines. How might the mobility of photographs open up thinking about archives and, in turn, classificatory structures in disciplines such as Art History, Archaeology and Anthropology, or in the Sciences? The conference also addresses questions of digital space, which renders the image more readily accessible, but complicates issues relating to location. What is the place, or value, of the photographic archive in the digital age?

The conference features internationally-renowned speakers, with a keynote lecture by Geoffrey Batchen and a final discussion led by Elizabeth Edwards. Site visits to Oxford's outstanding photographic collections are also planned, including to the Bodleian Library's Talbot Archive, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, the Griffith Institute's archives of archaeological expeditions, the History of Art Department's Visual Resources Centre, the Middle East Centre Archive, and the Christ Church Library and Archive.

For reactions to the conference, see #PhotoArchivesOxford

Podcasts of most of the conference talks are now available online via the following link:

Keynote Speaker

Geoffrey Batchen (Victoria University of Wellington)

Final Discussion

Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort University / V&A Research Institute)


Estelle Blaschke (University of Lausanne)
Frederick N. Bohrer (Hood College)
Catherine E. Clark (MIT)
Luke Gartlan (University of St Andrews)
Pascal Griener (University of Neuchâtel)
Katarína Mašterová (Institute of Art History, The Czech Academy of Sciences)
Christopher Morton (University of Oxford)
Chitra Ramalingam (Yale University)
Christina Riggs (University of East Anglia)
Lucie Ryzova (University of Birmingham)
Joan M. Schwartz (Queen's University, Ontario)
Nina Lager Vestberg (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
Shireen Walton (University College London)
Kelley Wilder (De Monfort University)
Shamoon Zamir (New York University Abu Dhabi)


The conference is convened by Geraldine Johnson (University of Oxford), Deborah Schultz (Regent's University London), and Costanza Caraffa (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut). It is sponsored by the Kress Foundation, the John Fell Fund and the History Faculty's Sanderson Fund at the University of Oxford, and Christ Church, Oxford.

This is the sixth in the international Photo Archives conference series dedicated to the interaction between photography, photographic archives and academic disciplines. For more information on the series, see here.

20 – 21 April 2017

Christ Church

St. Aldates
Oxford, OX1 1DP


This event will be documented photographically and/or recorded on video. Please let us know if you do not agree with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz using images in which you might be recognizable for event documentation and public relation purposes (e.g. social media).


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