Professor Val Williams

Professor of the History and Culture of Photography Director of Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC)

London College of Communication

Biography

Professor Val Williams is Director of the Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) at LCC and responsible for the initiation by the Centre of new research projects, both large and small. The Centre publishes its research findings in the biannual publication Fieldstudy and has organised study days at LCC and LCF (Out of the Box: LCC 2003 and Unfolding the Tissue: LCF 2004, The Elephant Vanishes: LCC 2005).

Val's personal research revolves around photography. She is also the author of Anna Fox Photographs 1983, a mid career retrospective of the work of Anna Fox, published by Photoworks in 2007. She curated the exhibition and conference at the University of Sussex: Hidden Photographic Archives from the 1970s (October 2005) and received AHRC Funding for The New British Photography 1967-1981 and ROAD: Artists and the Stop the M11 Link Road Campaign. In 2005 she was joint curator of Magnum Ireland for the Irish Museum of Modern Art and joint author of Magnum Ireland (Thames and Hudson). She was awarded the Dudley Johnstone medal for curation by the Royal Photographic Society in 2005.

In 2006, she co-curated (with Susan Bright) the exhibition How We Are: Photographing Britain for Tate Britain. The exhibition opened in 2007, accompanied by a catalogue.

She is an editor of the Journal of Photography and Culture.

Research interests

Public space and political action, architecture and participation, the right to the city, socially engaged spatial practices.

Research statement

Daniel Meadows was one of a group of photographers trained at Manchester Polytechnic in the early 1970s, who spearheaded the independent photography movement in Britain, breaking with tradition and infusing the medium with new energies and ways of seeing. In 2009 Val was awarded a UAL sabbatical to work on the Meadows' Archive. Two interns from the University of Wales were appointed, and the first research seminar was held in early November 2009 and was attended by Paul Reas (University of Wales) and Peter James (Birmingham Central Libraries).

For this first research period, she concentrated on the Meadows papers, and the first research paper she has presented explores the Free Photographic Omnibus project. She has also presented a paper at the Communities and Archives seminar organised by London Met University and held at the Women's Library (November 2009). The Meadows Archive was also explored in a section in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Photography and Culture.

Students

Current students and thesis titles

Alexander Awramenko, The Interstitial Space: Photography and the Extended Gaze.

Asa Johannesson, Beyond the Queer Gaze: Representation and the Viewer in Queer Photography.

Completed students and thesis titles

Annebella Pollen, Identity, Memory, Compassion and Competition: Mass-Participation Photography and Everyday Life.

Selected research outputs