Research papers


the coded camera: Investigating the philosophy of photographic instrumentality

Milo lethorn

In the act of photographing, the camera may commonly be considered a faithful tool; a mechanical means to a representational end at the whim of its user. Technological advancement might be also thought, throughout history, to have attached itself to new methodologies via modulation, specific variations of cameras allowing new terms of practice. To exist in a period where so many tools are available would imply a certain freedom with regards to photographic representation. But what is the reality of this causal presupposition and what consequences might such have for contemporary photography?

This questioning requires a rigorous deconstruction not only of the camera itself but how particular modes of practice and corresponding aesthetics, now taken for granted, have become synonymous. Examining the technological introduction and cultural induction of photography, this research mobilises canonical lenses and critical debates so as to distil a coherent philosophical account of photographic instrumentality and its practical implications.

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The power socially engaged art has as a tool for advocacy

Esther May

This essay explores the different ways in which socially engaged art has been effectively used as a tool for advocacy. The work focuses on three artists in recent decades that have developed their practice of socially engaged art in different ways, in order to deliver social change. Each artist embodies different strategies ofcollaboration including: Pedagogy as practice,’ ‘Participatory performance’ and ‘Social engagement with global reach,’ all with the common goal of catalysing social change. Through analysing three forms of participation, it is clear to see how socially engaged art is utilised to facilitate a series of ‘Political actions in order to transform power relationships through achieving specific policy changes benefitting the population involved’ (Daw 2009:3). The application of key theorists including Claire Bishop and Paulo Helguera reflect on key implications that collaborative dialogues raise, including the ‘desire to shift models of authorship to more non-hierarchical social models’ (Bishop 2006:12). Through articulating the change that social engagement can have within communities, each body of work anchors the fact that collaborative art has the potential to be a powerful interactional and transformative process.

Digitised Portraiture on Instagram and the

Questions of Representation and Exploitation They


megan bradley

How can the examination of prominent CGI Instagram users unpack the issues of representation and exploitation of the human body on social media platforms? This research essay analyses how the key theories and debates presented in Digitized Dysmorphia and the work of Xenofeminists can address the subject of digital modification of self-representations, as well as the object rights and underlying marketing strategies of digitised social media characters acting as the mouthpiece of media corporations, and the enforcement of stereotypes and racial fetishism that arises from a white artist creating lifelike digital representations of racial minorities. By studying the growing trend of overtly digitised social media influencers in this way this paper will apply these findings back to the general practice of Instagram posts today, as a falsified presentation of user’s reality and the underlying drives behind them.


Nostalgia, materiality and the photographic archive

Greta Vainauskaite

Notions of nostalgia, materiality and the photographic archive is going to be explored further in this research paper. Dwelling on the artistic responses and interpretations of the archive and its traditions. It is going tobe done in relation to the Wunderkammer tradition, also known as the cabinets of curiosities which expands the notion of the archive further into the realm of the museum collection. This research paper is based on the studying of the museological influences of the presentation strategies and the archival aesthetics of it. Focusing on the contemporary artists practices that involves the works of Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle and Ilya Kobakov. And is looked at through the prisms of the archive as a primal source of the material and inspiration for the artistic practice, the active act or a performance of the archiving and the appropriation of the institutional and personal archive.



Charlie Allen

This theory-based research paper examines the notion of the sublime in landscape photography, including its effect on a reader. The profoundness of the sublime throughout landscape art history has attributed towards the success of numerous photographers, specifically Edward Burtynsky. The paper questions the role of Burtynsky’s sublime in the toxic, through discussions on Disaster Capitalism, the New Topographical aesthetic of 1975 and the moral implications of Burtynsky’s apolitical attitude. A contrast will be drawn from the work of Ansel Adams, who’s over glorification of the Yosemite National Park through the sublime has formed questions concerning the significance of environmentalism, conservationism, and the treasured Sierra Club. Throughout the paper, an array of criticisms against the role of the artists are discussed. Comparing Burtynsky and Adams, assists in the scrutiny and admiration developed by the implementation of the sublime in landscape photography.

a study of the impact of jewish émigrés of the visual culture of british books

beatrice debney

The objective of this research paper is to investigate the impact of German- speaking Jewish émigré book artists on the visual culture of British books, following their consequential exile from Germany and Austria during World War Two. The paper will introduce the differences in visual culture in Germany and Britain prior to the Second World War, which will be examined in chapter 1 with reference to an international exhibition in the book arts, which took place in 1927. Chapter 2 will explore the introduction of integrated image and text, and the idea of the book as a ‘harmonious whole’, which was brought to the visual culture of British books by émigrés working in the publishing sector. The final chapter reflects on the impact that Jewish book artists have had on British book design, giving current examples of publications that demonstrate the émigré’s on-going influence. Finally the paper will reflect on how the high quality arts education received by the émigrés continues to inspire todays young people and art students through holistically designed books.

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An exploration into how women challenge censorship issues

through photography in a fourth wave feminist context.


This research paper studies female representation in regards to challenging censorship issues on a digital platform. The paper sets a historical basis of feminist censorship issues imbedded in the second wave through using the case study Interior Scroll (1975) by Carolee Schneemann to explore the nude body in art. By focusing on censorship in a fourth wave feminist context the paper looks to the case study Pics Or It Didn’t Happen (2017) to explore the attitudes towards the representation of menstruation on Instagram. The psychoanalytic terms abjection and the uncanny will be implemented to underpin the fearful stance towards female bodily functions. By exploring perceptions of the female nipple in conjunction with feminist theory, the paper also discusses the contemporary feminist artist Ingrid Berthon-Moine and her censored image from Instagram. Throughout this research paper the suppression of the female body and its functions will be discussed with its relation to the fourth wave feminist issue: censorship.