FORMAT: National Photography Symposium

20 Apr 2016 – 22 Apr 2016

Event times

20th April
18:00 - 19:30
21st April
10:00 - 17:30
22nd April
10:00 - 17:00

Cost of entry

Standard Ticket: £45
Concessions: £35
Redeye Members: £25
Portfolio Review Participants: £25

Derby, United Kingdom


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The National Photography Symposium, presented by Redeye, is the UK’s leading gathering place for ideas and discussion around photography.


Now in its seventh edition, NPS 2016 explores two main themes: new online photographic communities that are revolutionising learning and showing of work; and the challenges of making - and forgetting - visual history in an age when everything is recorded. It also explores the recently announced transfer of the National Photography Collection from the National Media Museum in Bradford to London's V&A Museum.

New Communities

The symposium begins on the evening of Wednesday 20th April with a keynote address, followed by a day of talks and panel discussions on Thursday 21st of April. It begins by exploring the intersection between photography and digital culture, the photographic communities that are springing up, and the tools for learning and developing as a photographer that are emerging in consequence. How flexible and dynamic are the best online communities; does this also mean they are less permanent and does that matter? How effective are the new learning and development approaches? What is the role of traditional institutions and associations – can their knowledge be transferred or does it date too quickly?

Making and forgetting history

Now that nothing need be deleted and everything is stored, how will our era be remembered visually - Will it have a "defining" narrative, and if so what part do individuals have in shaping that narrative? This has a resonance for photographers, many of whom set out to record for history. There is an ethical dimension to this; does the perceived need for narrative affect the truth or fact of what is being remembered? Has “forgetting” become a conscious act of deletion, disposal or even hiding?

The National Photographic Collection

On Friday 22nd April, the symposium will continue with drop-in discussion sessions led by industry and sector professionals exploring some of the latest issues in photography, among other things, the debate around the transfer of the National Photography Collection from the National Media Museum in Bradford to London's V&A Museum, alongside the FORMAT International Portfolio Review all day at QUAD. 


Confirmed speakers include:

Camilla Brown, curator and LensCulture reviewer
Jonathan Shaw, Disruptive Media Learning Lab
Karen Harvey, Shutter Hub
Scarlett Crawford, independent practioner/educator
Joy Gregory, artist and photographer
Alan Ward, designer and artist
Kelley Wilder, photographic historian, De Montfort University
Sarah Fisher, Director of Open Eye Gallery

More speakers being confirmed weekly.

Who should come?

This event is strongly recommended for anyone interested in photography and the future of the medium, whether photographers, curators, academics, students, writers, collectors or organisation staff.


Weds 20 April 2016: 18:00 to 19:30
Thurs 21 April 2016: 10:00 to 17:30
Friday 22 April 2016: 10:00 to 17:00


Prices are as follows:

Standard three day ticket: £45

Concession, low waged or student: £35 for three days

Redeye member or portfolio reviewee: £25 for three days

To book your ticket for the National Photography Symposium (20th - 22nd April) please visit the website.

Photo credit: from the Gearing Archive: Self-portrait and Dog, Simeon J Gearing c. 1914; from Alan Ward's presentation on the discovery and re-imagining of a family history


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