Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) is a research centre of the University of the Arts London, based at the London College of Communication. Its overall aim is to facilitate practise-based and scholarly research that develops an understanding of lens-based works. PARC endeavours to widen participation with archive collections.
The Centre consists of members, research fellows, associates, PhD students and alumni who together produce significant outcomes that span the history and culture of photography giving insight in to the medium’s development and helping to preserve its heritage.
The outcomes include a wide range of events – exhibitions, publications, workshops, study days and conferences. The PARC membership includes leading practitioners in photography, film and curatorship. Membership of the Centre is open to practitioners from all UAL colleges on all the academic pathways and collaborations are encouraged. There is a special interest in archival collections, notably the documentation of war and conflict and the transfer of analogue archives to digital forms.
The Centre is currently led by Brigitte Lardinois (Acting Director) Corinne Silva (Research Fellow) and Robin Christian (Administrator). PARC is situated in W224 - the former London College of Printing science laboratory - and consists of an administrative office, a gallery, a studio and a multipurpose work and meeting room. PARC members and PhD students and alumni are encouraged to use these spaces for active research.
PARC was instigated in 2003 by Professor Val Williams and Julian Rodriguez, then Dean of Media at LCC. After 15 years as Director – which saw partnerships with the National Media Museum, Tate, Photoworks, Magnum Photos and many others Val Williams stepped down, though she still co-edits the academic journal Photography & Culture.
Under the new leadership the Centre moved its physical archives to the UAL Archive and Special Collections Centre and they work closely together. PARC has also set up a partnership with the Audio Visual team and the College Communications Team at LCC.
Externally PARC works closely with the Photographic Collections Network (PCN) which is a collaborative project with the V&A, National Media Museum, Royal Photographic Society and Redeye. Its steering committee includes scholars from various institutions.