Call for Papers for a Symposium on ‘Photography and Memory’

From the series 'No Ruined Stone' (2018), Paul Duke

To be held at Edinburgh Napier University School of Arts and Creative Industries in collaboration with the City Art Centre Edinburgh and The Glasgow School of Art The symposium will take place in Merchiston Campus, Edinburgh Napier University, on the 2nd and 3rd of February 2023, with an optional cultural programme on 4th February 2023

The ‘Photography and Memory’ symposium will coincide with three forthcoming photography exhibitions at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh: ‘Edinburgh: A Lost World’ by Ron O’Donnell,  which tracks social change by returning to shops, laundrettes and barbers previously documented by O’Donnell in the 1970s and 80s; ‘No Ruined Stone’ by Paul Duke, where the photographer returns to Muirhouse, an area of North Edinburgh where the artist grew up from the mid-1960s to early 1980s; and the survey exhibition ‘Glean: Early 20th Century women filmmakers and photographers in Scotland’ curated by Jenny Brownrigg, which presents the work of fourteen pioneering women photographers and filmmakers, documenting different aspects of rural and urban Scotland, including communities and working life. “Through its cultural heritage a society becomes visible to itself and others. Which past becomes evident in that heritage and which values emerge in its identificatory appropriation tells us much about the constitution and tendencies of a society” (Jan Assmann, 1995) The ‘Photography and Memory’ symposium takes as its inspiration, Jan Assmann’s thoughts on Cultural Memory, especially how formative memories and images of the past, influence the present, and how they become pillars of collective identity. We invite presentations discussing a wide range of ideas relating to the notion of photography and (cultural?) memory. We are open to submissions dealing specifically with the themes presented in the cited exhibitions, and in the core questions: How does photography relate to such a process? In what way? Is this true for all cultures? In exhibition-making and curation, how do visitors and curators relate to photographs representing times and areas that are not part of our present lives, but which we were intimately connected with in the past?

Please send your abstract of 250 to 350 words plus a short biography of about 150 words as a
single word document before October 15th to The panel will
discuss and decide as soon as possible after the submission date. We welcome early
submissions, particularly from those who identify themselves as early career researchers.