The Political Geographies of the Archive

Thursday 17th and Thursday 24th September 2020 (6:00-7:30/7:45pm)

This two-part online research seminar event raises questions about how archives of ‘vernacular’ photographs inform and shape our understanding of both the present and the past. During the presentations, each speaker will examine how archives are re-activated within contemporary photographic practice as potential sites of critical political significance. Whilst the starting point originates with the material culture of the archive itself, the political relationships within the selected photographic materials will be critically evaluated. These discussions aim to expose and debate the continued complexity of gender, sexuality, race, class and politics held within the photographic archive. Featuring presentations by FTN co-ordinators Lizzie Thynne and Caroline Molloy, with Sian Macfarlane, Geoff Broadway and Harmeet Chagger-Khan.

Through the Years, Watershed, Bristol 

Friday 6th December 2019 (10.30am – 16.00pm)

A joint symposium by the Family Ties Network (FTN) and The Visual Culture Research Group (University of West England, Bristol) that considers inter-generational identity from a range of perspectives, focusing on recent film and photographic practice. Featuring presentations by FTN co-ordinators Nicky Bird and Rosy Martin along with Clare Johnson and Aaron Schuman from UWE.


The Representation of Memory: Activating Archives, Regent’s University London

Friday 14th June 2019 (10:30am-2:30pm)

This event sees a reconvening of the Memories of the Future conference panel at Senate House (postponed from March 2019) entitled, Photography and the Archive: Activating Archives. This event aims to examine photography beyond the aesthetic and open discussions around engaging with the photographic images as memetic devices, what Kuhn (2002) calls ‘Image-texts.’ Featuring presentations by FTN co-ordinator, Nicky Bird, with Karen Shepherdson and Deborah Schultz.

Ideas of Intimacy, Ravensbourne University London

Saturday 6th October 2018 (11am-5:30pm)

This research seminar at Ravensbourne University London considered ideas of intimacy, in terms of personal relationships and family bonds through artist moving image and photography. Emotional expressions of love, loss and closeness were examined through issues of self-exposure, identity and ethical boundaries. There were presentations by FTN co-ordinators Suze Adams and Sally Waterman, alongside guest speakers Jane Prior and Sarah Pucill.

The Transnational Family, Coventry University

Friday 8th June 2018 (11am-5pm)

This one-day research seminar, hosted in association with the VAR Research Centre for Art and Cultural Memory, explored the overlaps between personal and cultural interrogation of transnational identities through familial representations. This fruitful event looked at transnational family from different conceptual perspectives, including presentations by Caroline Molloy, Anand Chhabra, Amak Mahmoodian and FTN co-ordinator Lizzie Thynne, who presented work in progress with her sister Annabel.

Journeying Home, University of Greenwich

Saturday 2nd December 2017 (11:30am-6pm)

Family Ties Network: Journeying Home explores notions of place, rituals, loss and the family archive through the work of Jacqueline Butler, Sally Waterman, Matthew Humphreys and Celine Marchbank. This seminar event was held in association with the ‘So Cheerio for Now’ exhibition in the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, which features photographic and video works by FTN co-ordinators, Jacqueline Butler and Sally Waterman:

Beyond the Visible: Contemporary Visualizations of Loss, Illness and the ‘Unseen’ in Representations of the Family, The Northern Charter, Newcastle

Thursday 23rd March 2017 (1pm-6:45pm)

This study day considered how photography is being used to create visual conversations around the lived experiences of illness, loss, medical conditions and the ‘unseen’ within representations of the family with presentations by Rosy Martin, Sophie Ingleby, Arabella Plouviez,  Sarah Tulloch and Marjolaine Ryley. Photography is a difficult medium when it comes to photographing something that is not always visible. The particular visual strategies adopted by the artists explored a range of approaches for circumnavigating the challenges this presents.  Their work raises questions as to how we see (or don’t see) these lived experiences. More than this, through their exploratory visual strategies, such practices are asking if it is possible to perceive – and therefore understand – such experiences and conditions differently? An informal launch of ‘Image Object’ by Sarah Tulloch and ‘The Thin Blue Line, The Deep Red Sea’ by Marjolaine Ryley followed the main event.

Storytelling, Family and Archive, Touchstones, Rochdale, Greater Manchester

Saturday 3rd September 2016 (11am-4pm)

‘Tall Tales’ is a national touring programme bringing together the work of 17 international women artists who employ the playful use of storytelling techniques in the making of their work. The exhibition launched in London at Freud Museum London, Swiss Cottage Gallery & Library and the Tavistock Clinic in April 2016. It opened in Touchstones Rochdale, Lancashire in July and will then tour to Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) in Scotland in October.

The group exhibition, curated by wewioraprojects features FTN co-ordinators, Nicky Bird’s book works ‘Tracing Echoes’ (2001) and ‘Red Herrings’ (1998), together with Jacqueline Butler’s photographs ‘On Hearing of his Illness I realised there were plants that needed watering’ (2014) and her quilt piece, ‘Mapping Household Management’ (2014). This closing event began with a tour of the exhibition with the Tall Tales Curators, alongside Jacqueline Butler and Nicky Bird and presentations by Lizzie Thynne and Suze Adams.

Subject Missing, Reid Building, Glasgow School of Art

Friday 20th November 2015 (11am-6pm)

Subject Missing asked how can lens-based practices investigate physical absences of parental/maternal figures and move beyond current representations of the missing or the lost within the ‘family’? Guest speakers Anne Brodie, Laura Gonzalez, Michail Mersinis and Jacqueline Butler  were invited to bring both personal, autobiographical experiences and distinct methodological approaches demonstrated in their recent work to help discuss this question. The event included an opportunity for GSA students to show portfolios of work that also explored the theme of ‘subject missing’ within the family. Subject Missing was supported through the GSA’s Research Development Fund.

Parental Concerns, Harvard Lecture Theatre , University of Bedfordshire, Luton

Friday 3rd July 2015 (11am-6pm)

This study day organised by the Family Ties Network and hosted by University of Bedfordshire examined how three practitioners have explored the stories of or collaborated with their parents, leading to the production of profound photographic, video or documentary film works. Colin Gray, Jill Daniels and David Jackson discussed their creative process and resulting artifacts, in relation to ethical issues and familial memory in this practice based research event. The Q&A sessions were faciliated by FTN co-ordinators Rosy Martin, Sally Waterman and Lizzie Thynne.

Family Matters, Watershed, Harbourside, Bristol

Friday 5th December 2014 (11am-4:30pm)

This informal research seminar explored representations of familial relations through photography and film with presentations from fine art practitioner and curator Nick Kaplony ( and Shawn Sobers artist and senior lecturer in Photography and Media at UWE Bristol ( Both Nick and Shawn showed a range of works that addressed issues of loss and memorial,  touching on the political by examining issues of inheritance and legacy, identity and diaspora.  In addition, Sally Waterman and Suze Adams from the Family Ties Network showed new video work.

The event was jointly hosted by the Family Ties Network and the Visual Culture Research Group at UWE Bristol, introduced by Clare Johnson and responded to by Alex Franklin,.

Family Ties: Reframing Memory Exhibition Events, Birkbeck, University of London (3rd-25th July 2014)

Saturday 5th July (2-5pm)

Artist talk in The Peltz Gallery, led by Nick Kaplony, Independent curator and Senior Programme Coordinator at Artquest and short film screening in Birkbeck Cinema, which featured work by Suze Adams, Rosy Martin and Sally Waterman. This 35-minute looping programme dealt with key themes such as ancestral connections to place, the parental home, mother-daughter relationships, the family album and mourning and loss.

  • Rosy Martin, Too Close to Home, 1999, 8 min
  • Rosy Martin, The Sitting Room, 2002, 8 min
  • Sally Waterman, Wisdom, 2013, 1min, 25 secs
  • Sally Waterman, Against, 2014, 5 min
  • Suze Adams, Communion, 2012, 12 min

Birkbeck Cinema, Friday 25th July, 6:30pm

Lizzie Thynne, On the Border film screening and Q&A with Dr. Silke Arnold-de Simine, Senior Lecturer in Memory and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck

Public and Personal Archives: Creative Negotiations, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton

4th April 2014 (11 – 6pm)

This study day explored the relationship of public and personal in different life story projects which prioritize listening, sound and voice. Three presentations by Nicky Bird, Melanie Friend, Lizzie Thynne, Ed Hughes and Margaretta Jollydiscussed questions of politics, representation and aesthetics which arise in using life stories in creative works. The event included a pop up exhibition of new video, photography, and sound work by FTN members, Suze Adams, Jacqueline Butler, Rosy Martin, Sally Waterman and Lizzie Thynne in the Creativity Zone.

Family Ties Network Research Seminar, University of West London, Ealing

30th November 2013 (12-4pm)

FTN member, Rosy Martin and artist/academic, Marjolaine Ryley presented their recent arts research at this second FTN research seminar event, chaired by Camilla Brown. Rosy Martin’s recent work mediates the processes of bereavement and mourning. Alone, in the theatre of memories, the home she grew up in, it was as if the past haunted: In Situ makes this feeling visible. Using re-enactments, performative actions of becoming, in Acts of Reparation she embodies both her parents within the domestic setting, as if from another time and place, re-imagining a lost past. The Thin Blue Line / The Deep Red Sea is a new body of work by Marjolaine Ryley that explores miscarriage and pregnancy loss. Although this is Ryley’s most personal work to date documenting her own journey to start a family, she continues to use the personal to explore and question wider social, political (and this case scientific and medical) issues.

Family Ties Network Research Seminar, Manchester Metropolitan University

28th June 2013 (2-5pm)

FTN member, Sally Waterman and artist/academic, Eti Wade presented their recent arts research at this research seminar event. Eti Wade is a visual conceptual artist identifying as ‘Mother/Artist’.  Eti showed and discussed works produced in the past decade, including Kisses, The 2.4 Project, Jocasta, Bathwomb and Goodnight Boys. Sally Waterman presented recent work from her Translucence series. Serving as a reflection on the fragility of life, this project investigates her experience of loss, in particular, that of her grandmother, who passed away nearly twenty years ago.

Suze Adams_Communion

‘Tracing Ancestral Homelands’ Film Screening, Richmond American International University, London

3rd November 2012

The Family Ties Network organised a film screening of new works by Suze Adams and Lizzie Thynne exploring family, landscape and memory, followed by a panel discussion.

Communion, Suze Adams, UK, 2012, 11:56’

On the Border, Lizzie Thynne, UK, 2012, 56’




2 thoughts on “Events

  1. silvanamacedolamb

    Hi there
    I would like to know more details about this event, do we need to book on advance? is there a registration fee? I’ll be going to Oxford to attend the “Intimate Archives:Photography and Life-Writing Conference”, so I could go to London for your event in the following day. Many thanks, wishing you all a successful event. Warm regards, Silvana Macedo

  2. Pingback: Art or therapy? – Where it all began | thethinbluelinethedeepredsea

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