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Photography as a Social Practice

Thursday 18 May 2017, 19:00

A discussion on socially engaged art production with contemporary photographers Gemma-Rose Turnbull and Pete Brook

IC Visual Lab and the Arnolfini will host an evening with two authors from the online platform Photography as a Social Practice (PaaSP). Socially engaged photographers deal with questions around justice and representation, thereby often discussing conventions of photography. Striving to stimulate political and social change, practitioners often observe and document recent societal issues. In their transdisciplinary practice, Turnbull and Brook focus on socially engaged projects. Working alongside a team of five others, the PaaSP collective seek to provide a space for discussions on contemporary photography, addressing topics such as ethics and power dynamics. The two photographers will discuss their work both individually and collectively, before opening up a dialogue on socially engaged art to the audience. 

Gemma-Rose Turnbull is an Australian artist, writer and lecturer in photography at Coventry University. In her research projects and photography, Gemma explores methods of co-production and revised structures of authorship. She believes that shared authorship can catalyse social change and policies. In previous projects she has collaborated with street-based sex workers, elderly people who have suffered from abuse, and children. Gemma has participated in Magnum Photos’ renowned ‘Postcards from America’ project — a collaborative photographic experiment with nearly twenty photographers. 

Pete Brook is an independent writer and curator. His projects focus on prisons, photography and power, whereby he is particularly interested in prisons in the USA. Reflecting upon the visibility, propaganda and politicisation of imprisonment, he tries to stimulate a debate about the common image of prisons, and the reasons for unjustifiably long sentences.  In 2008, he founded the website Prison Photography to combine his research and writing. Pete’s work has featured in The British Journal of Photography, The New York Times, Vice and other publications. He has curated various exhibitions, most recently Prison Obscura, a show analysing image production about mass incarceration.


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