Photography and the Museum: Contradictory Histories and Contemporary Perspectives


To mark the inauguration of the first Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland, this symposium brings together photographers, artists, curators and researchers for a series of conversations about photography and the museum.  Speakers include: photo-historian Eléonore Challine (University of Paris, Sorbonne-Pantheon), Alison Nordström (Independent Photography Curator, Boston) and Marco De Mutiis (Digital Curator,  Fotomuseum Winterthur). A museum of contemporary photography might offer new approaches and possibilities in relation to the place of photography in the museum, curatorial strategy and scope, policies of collecting, exhibiting practices and knowledge production.

The status of photography has been far from stable in the museum environment. Photography’s changing and varied technologies, its ubiquity and potential for reproduction, has made it difficult to contain within discrete institutional boundaries. The prioritisation of the artefact and the ‘unique’ original has historically troubled the place of photography in the art museum yet photographs are an integral part of the ecosystem of many museums, making a significant contribution that was until lately both invisible and unacknowledged. What then of a contemporary museum conceived specifically for photography?

This event has been organised by the research group Photography/ Archives/Ireland in association with the PhotoIreland Foundation. Presented in association with the French Embassy in Ireland.

In keeping with the idea of ‘conversations,’ each participant presents on their research/work for 45 minutes (roughly) and is then joined by a respondent with whom they have a brief discussion about the ideas/key points of the presentation.


10 – 11:30am New Research on Photography and the Museum: Eléonore Challine (University of Paris, Sorbonne-Pantheon) with Justin Carville (Lecturer, History and Theory of Photography, IADT) as respondent;


12-1:30pm The Photography Curator’s Perspective: Alison Nordstrom (Independent Curator of Photographs & Museum Associate, Peabody Museum, Harvard University) with Niamh Ann Kelly (Lecturer in Contemporary Visual Culture, Technological University, Dublin) as respondent;


2:30-4pm New Situations for Photography in the Museum: Marco de Mutiis (Fotomuseum Winterthur) with Rachel O’Dwyer (Lecturer in Digital Cultures, NCAD) as respondent;

4-4:30pm Round-table discussion with participants joined by Ángel Luis González (Director, PhotoIreland);


Booking here


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