Regent’s University, London 2019

The Representation of Memory: Activating Archives

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


This event was 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 examined photography beyond the aesthetic and opened up discussions around engaging with the photographic images as memetic devices, what Kuhn (2002) calls ‘Image-texts.’ Drawing from this perspective, this event looked at ways in which vernacular photographies inform and shape our understanding of the present, as well as the past. In so doing, we questions were raised around the of value of archives in new temporalites. 

Presentations were given by FTN co-ordinator, Dr Nicky Bird, with Dr Karen Shepherdson and Dr Deborah Schultz. This morning panel was chaired by Caroline Molloy, Senior Lecturer in Photography, Coventry University. The afternoon session included short presentations by PhD students, Lucy Carolan (Newcastle University) and Patricia Hull (Regent’s University).


Dr Nicky Bird is a Reader in Contemporary Photographic Practices, Glasgow School of Art. She is an artist whose work investigates the contemporary relevance of found photographs, the hidden histories of archives and specific sites. Nicky is interested in a key question: what is our relationship to the past, and what is the value we ascribe to it in the present? The title of Nicky’s presentation was ‘Ghosting the Castle: A map between Archive and Memory’

‘Ghosting the Castle’, Nicky Bird, 2017, With photograph by John Ross Polson, late 1960sCourtesy of Margaret Polson and Timespan


Dr Karen Shepherdson is a Reader in Photography, Canterbury Christchurch University. In addition, she is the director of the UK’s South East Archive of Seaside (SEAS) Photography; co-director of the Centre for Research on Communities and Cultures; and co-editor for the Journal of Photography and Culture. Karen’s research is based around archival coastal photography; through which she seeks to provide new insights into cultural memory around working class coastal history. Karen’s presentation was entitled ‘(Re)Membering through the Photographic Archive: The Presence of the Past in the Future’

Image ©South East Archive of Seaside Photography


Dr Deborah Schultz isa Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Regent’s University London. Her research explores word-image relationships, photo archives, and the representation of memory in 20th century contemporary art. Following on from her position as an academic visitor in the department of Art History at Oxford University, she co-convened the 2017 international conference on Photo Archives: The Place of Photography. The conference proceedings will be published imminently. Deborah’s presentation was called ‘Rediscovered, Reviewed, Revalued’.


PhD student, Lucy Carolan (Newcastle University) in conversation with Dr Deborah Schultz.


PhD student, Patricia Hull (Regent’s University) in conversation with Dr Deborah Schultz.