Join Redeye for the first in a new series of lectures that will honour the great champion of British photography Pete James, who died in March 2018. The Pete James Lectures will be regular events delivered in partnership with The Royal Photographic Society, PARC (Photography and the Archive Research Centre), and FORMAT International Photography Festival & QUAD.
Pete was a central figure in British photography, establishing an outstanding collection of photography at the Library of Birmingham over his 26-year career at the institution, and researching and curating exhibitions at the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ikon Gallery, the Library of Birmingham, and many more. The lectures will explore and interrogate some of the issues that were an important part of Pete’s illustrious career surrounding historical and contemporary photography, libraries and archives, curatorial practice and research, and technological change. Each lecture will also provide audiences with a platform to delve into discussions, encouraging an environment to share thoughts.
For the inaugural Pete James Lecture, we are delighted to welcome Professor Elizabeth Edwards to deliver Photographs and the Public Library: Back to the Future. Addressing the subject of libraries, historical collections, anticipated futures for photography and where that leaves us now when thinking of identity in the public sphere. Elizabeth’s recent work has involved public libraries – an area of much-discussed interest shared with Pete himself. Many people mention Pete's unwavering generosity. He supported and backed many people, advising them from his wealth of photographic knowledge. Born in London and arriving in the Midlands to attend Birmingham Polytechnic, his knowledge from the 18th century to the modern day, his imagination and loyalty to Birmingham were unparalleled.
The Pete James Lecture forms the opening event of the National Photography Symposium, this year running from Thu 1 - Sat 3 November at the University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford.
For more information on the National Photography Symposium.
About the Speaker
Elizabeth Edwards is a visual and historical anthropologist who is currently Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor at VARI (the Victoria and Albert Museum Research Centre) in London. Before, Elizabeth was Professor Emerita of Photographic History at De Montfort University; Curator Emerita at Pitt River Museum, University of Oxford; Research Associate at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford; and Honorary Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University College London.
Her focus of research is the relationship between photography, history and anthropology, and includes investigations of photography and historical imagination, the social practices of photography, and the materiality of photographs. Her full biography can be found below.
Thursday 1 November, 6-8pm, (doors open at 5pm)
This event will take place in the Digital Performance Lab in the University of Salford's MediaCityUK Campus.
Orange Tower, Salford Quays, Salford M50 2HE
This venue is fully accessible, but for more information visit their website.
To buy a ticket for the Pete James Lecture, or for the Lecture and the rest of the diversely programmed Symposium, please visit the following link:
Thursday opening lecture:
Full price ticket for Thursday lecture: £8 - BUY YOUR TICKET HERE
Concession price ticket for Thursday lecture: £6 - BUY YOUR TICKET HERE
Purchase tickets by clicking on the relevant buttons below.
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Photo: Brian Griffin
Peter James FRPS (1958–2018) was a British archivist and curator of photography, at Birmingham Central Library. He curated photographic exhibitions internationally and served as chair of the Committee of National Photography Collections, as well as receiving the Royal Photographic Society's Colin Ford Award.
James' interest in photography was kindled when he worked for Kodak in Harrow in the 1970s, and visited their Kodak Museum during his lunch breaks.
After obtaining a BA in Humanities, Ceramics and Art History from the Polytechnic of Wales in 1987, James arrived in Birmingham in 1986 to study the History of Photography, and Art & Design at Birmingham Polytechnic for his MA, which he received in 1989.
He was Curator of Photography Collections – a post created for him – at Birmingham Central Library (latterly the Library of Birmingham) from January 1989 to October 2015. His work there resulted in the library's photography collection becoming one of the United Kingdom's National Collections of Photography.
In 2015, Birmingham City Council made drastic cuts to the Library of Birmingham's funding, and in October that year, James opted to take redundancy, despite being offered a different research post there.
James curated photographic exhibitions in Birmingham, at the Libraries where he worked, at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and at Ikon Gallery; in London, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and at Somerset House; and overseas, at the Royal Palace of Milan and Museum Africa, Johannesburg. He also served as chair of the Committee of National Photography Collections.
He was an Accredited Senior in Imaging in the Creative Industries (ASICI) and a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society (FRPS), and received the Royal Photographic Society's Colin Ford Award, given in recognition of a major contribution to photographic history, in 2009.
He was a co-founder of the independent arts organisation GRAIN, which aims to support and develop artists working in photography.
Elizabeth Edwards is a visual and historical anthropologist. Before recently retiring, Elizabeth was Professor Emerita of Photographic History at De Montfort University; Curator Emerita at Pitt River Museum, University of Oxford; Research Associate at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford; and Honorary Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University College London.
In 2017 she was appointed the Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor at the V&A Research Institute, London. Her focus of research is the relationship between photography, history and anthropology, and includes investigations of photography and historical imagination, the social practices of photography, and the materiality of photographs.
Elizabeth was previously the Director of the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) at De Montfort University, was the Curator of Photographs at Pitt Rivers Museum, lecturer in visual anthropology at the University of Oxford, and Professor at the University of the Arts London. She was featured as one of the major writers on photography of all time in 'Fifty Key Writers on Photography'.
In 2015, Elizabeth was elected to Fellow of the British Academy. She was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Visual Anthropology (American Anthropological Association). Elizabeth is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and was Vice-President between 2009-2012. She is also a past Chair of the Museum Ethnographers Group.