Ph: The Photography Research Network was established in 2010 as a research forum for early career scholars working in the field of photography. Since its establishment, the Ph network has gathered scholars from many institutions across the UK. The diverse interests of the group’s members are reflected in the heterogeneous character of the discussions in monthly meetings held at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, where participants have an opportunity to present their research and current projects in an atmosphere of intellectual rigour and peer support.
The significance of this initiative was acknowledged with the award of the AHRC Student-led Initiatives Grant under the auspices of the Beyond Text Programme (2010-2011). This grant allowed us to establish a dedicated website as a means of extending the group’s activities by opening the discussion to a wider community of researchers, specialists and members of the public.
In 2012 the Ph Network was invited by The National Media Museum to commission content for the projcet Either/And. The project was aimed at examining critical issues that have been shaping the histories of photography, film, publishing and broadcast media by making current research of leading thinkers and practitioners available to a wide and varied public. In the course of the first nine months of the project, which started in July 2012, the Ph Network focused specifically on photography. Ph members have selected a number of key issues in the recent production, dissemination and theorisation of photography and commissioned material in relation to these thematic areas. Published on the Either/And website, commissioned material including essays, interviews, images and films, all of which provided a starting point for invited responses as well as public online discussion. Bringing together these disparate thematic strands was the conviction that unites the activity of Ph as a group: that photography can provide a point of contact between different disciplines, discourses, periods and approaches and that, by opening a dialogue between them, we might better understand the positions it occupies in society and culture.
In 2018 Ph started organisng an exhibition of work by group members. Inteneded to be installed in London in 2019 and tentatively entitled Photographic Experience of Space, the exhibition will explore how space is produced photographically. It will bring together a collection of text-based and visual work by artists and researchers from the group to form a dialogue where the visual will meet the spatial in a critical and creative interaction. The exhibition project will include a one-day symposium which will serve to situate the discussion within a broader context, and comprise a programme of presentations by researchers, curators, and photographers (read more about this project)
Ph: The Photography Research Network was established and developed by Ben Burbridge and Olga Smith. It is now directed by Andreia Alves de Oliveira, Alexandra Tommasini, Lauren Winsor, Annalisa Sonzogni, and Gil Pasternak
2016-2017 Andreia Alves de Oliveira, Alexandra Tommasini, Lauren Winsor, Liz Johnston Drew, and Gil Pasternak
2013-2016 Annebella Pollen, Juliet Baillie, and Gil Pasternak
2010-2013 Ben Burbridge and Olga Smith