Dialogues In Photography the symposium - PTG2016M

Symposium: An occasion at which people who have great knowledge of a particular subject meet, in order to present their ideas to an audience.

Your symposium will take place on the 23rd of April in the SLB Lecture Theatre, SLB0006.

Your theme this year is GROWTH, to align with the 2020 OpenWalls Exhibition in Arles.


Organize and Run a Symposium: You will work together as a year group to organize and run a Photography Symposium on the 23rd April. You will take the lead in designing, planning and running this event and you will each take on a specific production role to this end.

Complete and Present A Case Study at the Symposium: Using the theme 'Growth' you will work in small groups (2-4 students) within your seminar groups to prepare a case study to present at the symposium. The format of the module will give you the space to reflect, collaborate and work on ideas that explore the symposium theme from a photographic perspective and help you prepare for public speaking.

Document Your Work for Assessment: You will keep a record of your research and development process for the case study as well as the production work you did to contribute to organizing the symposium. Full details on this will be provided later in this document.

Amrita Chandradas (2019). Modern housing enroaching in to the space of Kampong Buangkok, Singapore

Module Structure

Alongside weekly lectures you will participate in a seminar group and take on a production role of your choice. The structure of this module is a little different to the others you are doing, so the following guide will take you through the process and provide all the information you need.

Step 1 - Choose a Seminar Group

There are three seminar groups, each one responding to the symposium theme from a different perspective. The case study you present at the symposium will be responding to the idea of 'Growth' from the perspective of whichever seminar strand you choose. Each seminar theme is deliberately broad to enable a very wide range of responses.


The three seminar strands and the tutor who is leading each one are as follows;

  • The Environmental Sphere - Clementine Monro (NDH1008)
  • The Social Sphere - Michelle Walsh (NDH1005)
  • The Personal Sphere - Annie Morrad (NDH1003)

Step 2 - Choose Your Case Study Team and Start Thinking About Potential Topics

From within your seminar group choose one to three other students with whom you will collaborate to research, compile and present a case study, on a topic of your choice, at the symposium.

The seminar in week one is used to get you all into your case study groups. You should think carefully about who you will work effectively with during this process and find out who might wish to tackle similar topics rather than simply working with your friends.


The answer here is simple. You can choose any topic you wish so long as it responds to

  1. The theme of 'Growth' from the perspective of the seminar strand you have chosen.
  2. Explores how contemporary photography is being used to explore or support the topic of your choice. For example documentary and raising awareness, campaigns/activism, conceptual engagement, transmedia story telling, new modes of image making and/or dissemination that could have an impact etc.

The Environmental Sphere: In this group you might present a case study on the negative or positive elements of growth currently related to the environment, and the photographers who depict this in their work. For example climate change in its many manifestations would be appropriate here, both the changing weather systems and the impact on communities affected by floods, rising sea levels, extreme heat, fires and crop failure. The growth in migration arising from disruption to local ecosystems. The growth of environmental activism, veganism, green energy, sustainability, collaborative consumption, the sharing economy and the increasing awareness around the waste we produce are just some of the possibilities here. Photographers such as Simon Norfolk, Edward Burtynsky, Mishka Henner, Gregg Segals, Jamey Stillings, Mandy Barker, Toby Smith, Klaus Thymann, Jo-Anne McArthur and Chris Bethell are just some of the numerous practitioners whose work in this area you could draw on. You have already covered several theorists who write about this in your critical practice so don't forget to use these sources too.

The Social Sphere: Here we envisage you draw on the growth of specific communities, ideas or movements and the photographers who explore these. Far right populism, wealth disparity, celebrity culture, social media influencers, the body positivity movement, veganism (as concern for animal rights rather than as environmental issue), LGBT rights, , fourth wave feminism, black lives matter, surveillance culture, subcultures of any kind in fashion and music, online activism. You might also explore specific issues you have encountered in your own communities or think very specifically about issues like housing, poverty, migration using photography projects you have been inspired by either nationally or internationally. Purely conceptual approaches such as the growing interest in photography as an object or post photographic ideas are also highly appropriate. Photographers like Juno Calypso, Dougie Wallace, Mishka Henner, Zach Blas, Robin Hammond, Valentina Neri, Jordan Tempro to name just a few, are practitioners who work in this vein.

The Personal Sphere: In this strand the notion of growth pertaining to the lives of individuals should be explored. Work that explores personal identity, identity politics, sexuality, selfie culture, mental health, online identity personas and avatars, motherhood, the body, loneliness, beauty, grief, wellness and the female gaze are just a small sample of what is appropriate here. Many of the topics relevant to groups and communities in the social sphere would be applicable here but framed through a personal rather than social perspective. Photographers such as Petra Collins, Ashley Armitage, Leah Schrager, Elinor Carucci, Sarah Maple, Maisie Cousins, Sian Davey, Yakov Knyazev, Sergey Filimonov are all good examples of relevant practitioners.

The most important thing to remember is that the work you present should not just be descriptive. It should be grounded in relevant cultural theory, it should be analytical, it should be be well structured and engaging. What you have learned about good research and writing practice so far should be integrated here. We will provide advice on how to do this in the week 4 lecture and provide examples of photographers who deal with some of the themes above in weeks 2 and 3. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to spend about 40% of your case study presentation talking about ideas and theory and 60% analysing how photography and photographic practitioners explore/represent your chosen theme.

Step 3 - Choose a Production Role

In line with Student as Producer principles we want the symposium to be shaped, led and driven by you. Although we will guide you and support you in this process (and provide some structure to avoid total chaos), we are handing over responsibility for this event to you. We believe this will prove to be an invaluable source of personal and professional development and provide you with an opportunity to acquire the kind of skills that will set you apart from other graduates, enhance your cv and increase your employability prospects.

There are five different production roles available. We encourage you to choose a role that is aligned with the broader skill set you would like to work with after graduation, as this is a really valuable opportunity to develop your CV with important and transferable professional skills. This experience will also prove invaluable when it comes to organizing your final year degree show next year.

Designers X 7: Your primary responsibility is designing a way of communicating the symposium content to the audience, for example through a catalogue. This would include creating layouts and communicating text and visual requirements to the rest of the year group. You can decide whether to produce this in printed or digital format. If going the printed route you will need to liaise with each seminar group to ensure you receive written content by a date which allows you to be ready to send the catalogue to professional printers by the 2nd April. (We have a printer already in place if required.) We recommend including both a summary of each case study and the thematic response from the writers from each seminar group in whatever format you choose. We also suggest creating a logo to be used on the catalogue as well as all subsequent event marketing and swag bags (if you decide to make them). Any other ideas you wish to pursue are very welcome.

Event Managers X 7: This role requires considerable cross-seminar collaboration. Essentially you will be responsible for making sure the symposium happens and runs smoothly. You will need to set up an online booking system for attendees through 'Eventbrite' or similar and take responsibility for promoting the symposium across the school of film and media and beyond. You will ensure all presentations are downloaded onto an external hard-drive and collated into three large presentations (one per seminar group) before the symposium begins and co-ordinate this process. You will be in charge of the schedule for the symposium and ensure all student groups know when they are presenting. You will ensure A/v equipment is working before the symposium starts to avoid technical glitches. If you decide to have swag bags you will also source some free content for them . One of your most important tasks will be to decide if you want to have any invited guests at the symposium, such as a keynote speaker, photography workshop leader etc etc and then source and book them as required. Any ideas that you think would make for a good symposium are yours to explore and make happen!

Writers X 6: There must be two writers per seminar group. Working in pairs you will be responsible for writing a 600 word critical statement engaging with the symposium theme in relation to your seminar groups' specific sub-strand. The statement should make reference to the case studies your seminar group will be presenting and contextualize this activity from a critical perspective. This will be featured in the catalogue. This needs to be complete by the date specified by the designers if a printed catalogue is being produced.

Fund-Raisers x 7: You will be responsible for organizing and running some fund raising activities to cover the costs associated with any key-note speaker or workshop leader invited to the symposium, (typically £150 plus travel). If you wish to include any other elements in the symposium this should also be covered by fund-raising activities. There are lots of ways to be innovative here and we would encourage you to be as creative as possible in this role. We have a budget in place for printed catalogues and swag bags if needed.

Content Creators X 7: Working across the three seminar groups you will be responsible for creating some suitable content to help the event management team promote the symposium. For example you could create a series of very short films (30 second duration approx) interviewing some case study groups about their symposium presentation. You may also wish to produce a short 'film' documenting the process of creating the symposium. Ideally this would be edited to include content produced throughout the semester showcasing the production work being carried out, the activities in each seminar group and highlights of the event itself. We will share this product widely on social media after the symposium, with next years level 2 group and at open days. Liaise with the designers so you can include logos and maintain aesthetic cohesion across all elements such as fonts etc. You should have the work edited and ready with everything apart from the symposium content by the end of week 12, so that you can complete the final edit in time for the submission at the end of week 13.

Lead Tutors - Production Roles

Once you have chosen your production role you will meet with the assigned tutor below between 11.00 and 11.30 each week before going to your seminar group. This is a chance to check in, update the tutor on your progress, problem solve and brainstorm ideas.

  • Michelle Walsh - Event Managers, Designers (NDH1008)
  • Clementine Monro - Fundraisers, (NDH1003)
  • Annie Morrad - Content Creators, Writers. (NDH1005)

Student As Producer

This module integrates student as producer principles with the focus clearly on moving beyond a purely instructional paradigm to one where students have a clear say in the direction their learning activities take. Weekly lectures will provide the key components you need to complete the assessed aspects of the module. Seminars will have a basic task-based weekly structure to help guide you in shaping your case study but will also work in a responsive manner, responding organically to what you need to get your work done to a high standard. Beyond the date and the fact you have to present a case study every other aspect of the symposium design will be decided by you. This is your symposium and we want you to take the lead in designing it, promoting it and making it a success and to have the opportunity to discuss ideas that matter to you.


  • A weekly lecture on Wednesday morning at 10am in ATB3211.
  • Meet your production group between 11.00-11.30 in the lead production tutor's seminar room.
  • Seminar group in your seminar tutor's room between 11.30 -12.30.

Assessment Guidance and Submission Dates

Symposium Presentation and Documentation: (Group Grade – 60%) In groups of two to four students you will present a case study exploring the symposium theme from the perspective of your chosen seminar strand in front of a live audience. This case study should respond to the symposium theme through an exploration of contemporary photographic practice and practitioners and consider new dialogues within the medium as relevant. You must critically engage with the topic you present rather than simply being descriptive here. Each member of the case study group will be required to prepare 5-6 mins of content for the symposium presentation. So for example in a group of three your presentation will last for 15 to 18 minutes. Your case study will be assessed by staff during the symposium. For specific assessment criteria on which you will be marked, please refer to the mark sheets on BB under assessment materials.

Live Assessment At Symposium

Students will complete an individual contribution document that clearly outlines the work they undertook for the group presentation/case study. This will be submitted as a PDF to BB and has a 500 word limit. Grades are allocated to the group as a whole for the symposium presentation, with +/-10% allocated based on individual contribution document. Please also upload presentation slides and speaker notes to BB. For specific assessment criteria on which you will be marked, please refer to the mark sheets on BB under assessment materials.

Individual Documentation, Presentation slides and speaker notes to BB by 4pm

Symposium Production Logbook (Individual Grade - 40%) In the logbook you will outline the planning, meetings, communications and activities you engaged in for your chosen symposium production role. You must use the ‘logbook template’ found on the module site, record the date and provide a short description for each entry. Bullet-point format is entirely acceptable, as per the example shown in the logbook template. The purpose of this assessment is to judge how effectively you carried out your chosen production role, your individual creativity and contribution in shaping the design or delivery of the symposium, your capacity for effective collaboration and demonstration of professional working practices.

Submit Logbook via BB by 4pm

Supporting Materials

  • Production Logbook Template: On BB under Learning Materials Tab. Please use this to record your activities on a weekly basis, it will only take you a few minutes each time. If you leave it to the end of semester you will lose the nuance of what you did and the associated grades that come with this!
  • Weekly Task Sheets: These are provided to guide you through the initial stages of working on your case study. You will need to complete these and bring to your seminar group on a weekly basis. They are also on BB under the Learning Materials Tab.

Alternatives to the Symposium Presentation


Alternative assessment options are available to students who are unable to present in person at the symposium. This takes the form of a Photoessay of five to six mins duration and should be available to be played at the symposium on April 23rd 2020. You can still work as part of a group with this option or work alone, if that is deemed necessary. The photoessay should be saved using an online platform such as Youtube (in private mode if desired) and a weblink uploaded to BB by 4pm the previous day, 22nd April 2020, under this assessment task. This option is only granted in discussion with your seminar tutor, please contact them to seek advice in advance.

Upload Photoessay to BB by 4pm

If you have questions or want to discuss any of this....

Drop me an email on mwalsh@lincoln.ac.uk or pop in to see me during my office hour, Thursdays between 11.00 - 12.00

Some Useful Reading

  • Adams, R. Why people photograph: selected essays and reviews Aperture (2004)
  • Barrett, E. & Bolt, B. (2009) Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry, I.B. Taurus.
  • Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. and Tight, M. (2010). How to research. Open University Press
  • Cotton, C. (2004). The photograph as contemporary art. Thames & Hudson
  • Diprose, G. (2012). Photography: the new basics : principles, techniques & practice. Thames and Hudson
  • Durden, M. (2014). Photography Today. Phaidon.
  • Elkins, J. (2011). What photography is. Routledge.
  • Fried, M. (2008). Why photography matters as art as never before. Yale.
  • Frosh, P. (2003). The image factory consumer culture, photography and the visual content industry, Oxford New York Berg.
  • Gallo, C. (2014). Talk like TED the 9 public speaking secrets of the world's top minds, London Macmillan.
  • Gray, C. and Malins, J. (2004). Locating and using reference materials for art and design research. In: Visualizing research: a guide to the research process in art and design. Ashgate.
  • Grosenick, U and Seelig, T. (2008). Photo Art: The new World of Photography. Thames and Hudson.
  • Lipkin ,J. (2005) Photography reborn: image making in the digital era . Abrams.
  • McLaren, S. & Formhals, B. (2014). Photographers' sketchbooks, London Thames and Hudson.
  • Modrak, R and Anthes, B.(2010). Reframing photography: theory and practice. Routledge
  • Osborn, M., Osborn, R., Turner, K.J. & Osborn, S., (2015). Public speaking: finding your voice/ Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn, Randall Osborn, Kathleen J. Turner, Tenth edition edn, Pearson, Boston.
  • Rugg, G. and Petre, M. (2007). Searching the literature: why, where, what for and how, pp. 48- 56. In: A gentle guide to research methods. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Williams, R. & Newton (2006; 2007), Visual communication integrating media, art and science, New York Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Created with images by Jakob Owens - "Nikon In The Cold" • Nick Fewings - "In the bar of the hotel that I was staying at, they had a whole wall full of reading material for the guests. I was staying their long enough to read any, plus, I was too busy taking photographs!!"