In the Photographic Darkroom conference

Thursday 8 June – Friday 9 June 2023, 09.00–17.00

What role has the photographic darkroom played in the histories of photography and visual culture? How has this space, at times known as the camera obscura, developing room, laboratory, operating room, operating box, darkened chamber, photographic tent, dark tent, and developing tent, shaped ways of living and knowing?

Historical accounts of the wet darkroom are sparse, and critical discussions largely limited to this space as the site of photographic manipulation. Yet, the darkroom is not a neutral container for photographic production, but a space with its own materiality, rhythm, and choreography that has been central to experiences of, for example, scientific experimentation, research, learning, commerce, colonial encounters, political and cultural agency, sociability, and individual and artistic expression.

This hybrid two-day event initiates a critical conversation about the largely overlooked space of the darkroom, and outlines new ways to research, theorise, and interpret the roles that it has played in our modern world. In the Photographic Darkroom will seek to do so by shifting the focus from the visual product (e.g., negatives and prints) to the setting itself within which these objects were produced, positing that the material, socio-cultural, and corporeal dimensions of the darkroom had an influence on how people conceptualised and, consequently, understood photography. This will enable us to rethink the role of photography in the development of modern visual culture, and its wider historical relations, from fresh viewpoints.

Further information – including the full programme of speakers – is available on the conference website.

This is a hybrid event. All tickets are free but registration is required.

Click here to reserve tickets for on site attendance.

Click here to reserve tickets to attend online.

For any queries please contact Dr Sara Dominici at

Working with Whiteness – clay workshops

Wednesday 1 February – Wednesday 15 February 2023, 02.30–15.00

A series of three practical workshops using porcelain clay to discuss whiteness and antiracism – with artist and PhD researcher Victoria Burgher.

The Workshops

In these practical, hands-on workshops, we will work with porcelain as a way of thinking together about the meaning of whiteness in society today. Participants will learn pottery-making and decorating techniques to produce their own ceramic porcelain pieces, which will be glazed and fired and can be taken home after the final session. We will learn about the material history of porcelain, in relation to Empire and colonialism, and discuss why porcelain is an apt material with which to consider symbolic whiteness. 

These workshops will be informal and relaxed, creating a safe, supportive environment in which to openly discuss whiteness, while engaging with the therapeutic qualities of clay. 

Dates and Times

These sessions will run on three Wednesday afternoons in February. Refreshments will be provided. 

  • Session 1 – Wednesday 1 February, 2:30-4:30pm: Intro to Victoria’s research and material history/culture of porcelain. Plus, learn pottery techniques to make pinch pots, tiles and surface decoration. Book via Eventbrite.
  • Session 2 – Wednesday 8 February, 2:30-4:30pm: Discussion of porcelain’s ties to symbolic whiteness and why we need to talk about this in antiracist practice. You’ll decorate the work made in the previous week. Book via Eventbrite.
  • Session 3 – Wednesday 15 February, 2:30-3pm: Collect and discuss glaze-fired decorated pieces. You’ll get the opportunity to reflect and feedback. Book via Eventbrite.

Participants will gain an understanding of the history of whiteness as a racial and social construct and discuss how it continues to embody and uphold white supremacy today. Participants will be able to reflect on how highlighting whiteness in this way is crucial to any antiracist social justice work. These workshops are inclusive and open to all and will create a sensitive and supportive environment in which to develop our racial awareness. 

Blabla time Podcast

Friday 20 January – Friday 31 March 2023

Launching on the 20th  of January on all major podcast platforms, Blabla time is an innovative podcast made to address the little and big challenges of student life. 

Hosted by coach and University of Westminster Senior Lecturer Dr. Sandra Gaudenzi, it invites students to listen to their internal “blabla” and, hopefully, learn from it! 

Mixing practical advice, coaching exercises and visualisations tailor-made to students, it offers a moment of break and self-discovery that is soothing and deeply transformative. The originality of this podcast is not only in its self-coaching content, but also in its format:  made to be used as a toolbox, the proposition is to select the topic one needs to address, take 15 to 20 minutes of time, and face it in a positive and self-caring way.  It is about allowing students to relax, step out of their fears, find alternative routes and eventually, in the long term, have better chances to thrive in their life.

Blabla time’s idea started during the lockdown, when Dr Gaudenzi experimented with alternative ways to support her students, and found that being led by a voice into coaching exercises that create a space for self-growth was very effective. Since then, she has extensively tested the concept with students, asked about their main topics of concern and worked with students to edit and launch the podcast itself.

The first two episodes, “The system of me” and “The system of us” are to be launched first (on Friday 27th of January), as they introduce two techniques to visualise and enter in dialogue with the Self, that are a first step into self-coaching. The next three episodes, “The fear of not being good enough”, “The fear of the white page”, and “Dealing with mild anxieties” will be released short after (on Friday 3rd of February),  for students to pick and choose depending on their needs. 

The podcast is totally free and welcomes students’ feed-back and topic suggestions in order to grow into a meaningful collaborative project!

Blabla time is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music.

Rooted Stories, solo exhibition at Casa da Cerca

Saturday 5 November 2022 – Sunday 5 March 2023

Uriel Orlow, Dedication

Rooted Stories, a solo exhibition by Uriel Orlow, curated by Filipa Oliveira at Casa da Cerca – Contemporary Art Center, in Almada, Portugal.

“Perhaps for the first time in our history, we are beginning to have a collective awareness both of the reality of climate change that has long been predicted, but also of its immediate and long-term consequences. The result of this is a growing understanding that the world is no longer human-centered, and that to deal with the demands of this crisis a collective inter-species effort is needed. If so far we have treated plants as a backdrops for human history, the works of Uriel Orlow speak to us of plants as indispensable companions in the struggle for planetary survival. Orlow shows us how plants are active agents and not just passive witnesses of history. They are a central link between nature and humans, between various types of knowledge and beliefs, capable of revealing fragilities and inequalities, and carrying ancient lessons.” – Filipa Oliveira

Locked Up: Stories from immigration detention in Europe

Friday 1 July – Saturday 31 December 2022

Verónica Posada (2022), 'Hossain Died in detention in Italy *Hossain’s story was shared by his lawyer in Italy'

In July this year, PhD researcher Verónica Posada, was approached by @picum_ig to work on, Locked Up: Stories from immigration detention in Europe, a project that helps to visualise the inhumane practice of immigrant detention centers. PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants – is a network of organisations working to ensure social justice and human rights for undocumented migrants.

Locked Up: Stories from immigration detention in Europe, is a complication of stories that aims for the visualisation of stories and voices of humans who are held in immigration detention across the European Union and who often remain unheard. It includes stories collected in recent years in Belgium, Greece, Italy and the Netherlands by non-governmental organisations. Now all these stories come to the world, hoping that we all come together to go against this horrendous practice. We are all humans.

Each of the sixteen stories told in this booklet tries to give a glimpse of what more than 100,000 people experience in countries across the European Union every year.” – PICUM

The project is available on PICUM”s Instagram page (@picum_ig). A full report on the project is available on the PICUM website (

Shattered Silk, The Bond is Always by Scent, The Salve of Repair

Saturday 24 September – Sunday 6 November 2022

‘Shattered Silk, The Bond is Always by Scent, The Salve of Repair’, an exhibition by Jini Rawlings is on at the Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.

The exhibition combines handsewn costumes of silk and cotton, interpretive dance and interactive video.  Silk is used as a metaphor for some of the entangled stories of women in the turbulent 1860s when class and race were key concerns and global events affected local lives.

Each costume is inspired by different real or fictional characters. The interactive touch -sensitive tussah silk dress and video projections of a dancer relate to Sarah, Rawlings’ birth ancestor who was a silk ribbon weaver in Coventry when the industry was on the point of collapse through free trade agreements. The digitally printed cotton dress relates to Harriet Martineau, sociologist and writer and Sojourner Truth who had personal experience of slavery. Both were long term abolitionists when the American Civil War was being fought and the Lancashire cotton famine was at its height. The organza silk hanging dress and video projection is a response to the story of 2-year-old Eppie and her mother Molly in Silas Marner, The Weaver of Raveloe, by George Eliot. Eppie represents a liminal state between being lost and found when Molly dies from an overdose in the snow, and she walk s through the open door into the weaver’s cottage.  This was a time when the poor were castigated for drug abuse while the middle classes frequently used laudanum, an opium tincture as a medical aid. 

A touch sensitive interactive box uses Cash’s name tapes and etymology pins to links some of the threads through short video sequences. The exhibition also features museum items relating to the life of George Eliot. 

Find out more about the exhibition on the Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery website.

The exhibition will come to London Gallery West in Harrow from 1–10 March 2023.

Icons of Uncertainty

Saturday 22 October – Sunday 20 November 2022

Christie Brown, Crown of Leaves, (detail) ceramics, 2022

Emerita Professor Christie Brown is exhibiting a new group of ceramic sculpture entitled Icons of Uncertainty with Messums Wiltshire in their 13th Century tythe barn. 

The work centres around a need for protection in difficult times and is informed by the artist’s ongoing interest in the connection between archaic objects and contemporary art.  

To find out more about the exhibition, visit the Messums Wiltshire website.

Spectral Cinema and Contested Landscapes

Friday 28 October 2022, 10.00–18.00

A one-day symposium Friday 28th October 2022 at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK

What role might ghosts have in the way traumatic histories are communicated and represented on screen? How might the ghost have the capacity to bring the past forwards to us in the present and enable us to reconsider how histories have been formed and by whom? How are strategies of haunting and the haunted useful to us when thinking through contested histories and contested landscapes? How can global, hybrid and alternative approaches to both documentary film and socially-engaged fiction encompass these ideas to critically re-evaluate society and our position within it?

These questions are at the forefront of a growing number of creative practitioners who are building on the work of sociologists Avery Gordon (Haunting and the Sociological Imagination), Grace Cho (Haunting the Korean Diaspora:Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War) and more recently cultural theorist Zuzanna Dziuban (The Spectral Turn:Jewish Ghosts in the Polish Post-Holocaust Imaginaire) to bring the notion of ghosts and haunting into socially and politically driven works that readdress and gently dismantle Western colonialist interpretations of knowledge formation, authority, supremacy and otherness. Further, contemporary practice in this field is differentiated from how we might have traditionally encountered the ghost in cinema to re-position the ghost within moving image practice as a political entity with agency and intention.

This symposium and its associated events will delve into this relatively recent branch of scholarship and will centre around practice-as-research. Spectral Cinema and Contested Landscapes is a hybrid project encompassing an academic symposium and a series of public-facing events in Farnham.

Keynote: Professor May Adadol Ingawanij (University of Westminster).

Artist’s presentations: Juanita Onzaga (Our Song to War); Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (Pirating Blackness).

Speakers: For full schedule and speakers, see below.

Organisers: Roz Mortimer, Abby Whittall, Simon Aeppli (UCA)


09.30-10.00 Registration and coffee

10.00-10.10 Welcome address

10.10-11.10 Keynote: May Adadol Ingawanij (University of Westminster)

11.10-12.30 Panel One

CHAIR: Roz Mortimer (UCA)

Juanita Onzaga (Independent artist). Spirits as channels of memories from ancestral times, calming the living: making peace with death.

Astrid Korporal (Kingston University). Spectral refusals and disorientating landmarks in documentary re-enactments

Cecília Mello (University of São Paulo, Brazil). Phantasmagorical Realism and Post-Epistemological Ontology in ‘Memoria’

12.30-13.30 LUNCH

13.30-14.50 Panel 2

CHAIR: Jill Daniels (University of East London)

Louise K Wilson (University of Leeds). Above and Below: Sound, affect and haunted geologies

Kate Woodward (Aberystwyth University). Rural Wales as Haunted Political Space in Yr Ymadawiad (The {Passing, 2015) and Gwledd (The Feast, 2021)

Struan Gray (Falmouth University). Fluid Temporalities: The Significance of Water in the Haunted Landscapes of Southern Chile

14.50-16.10 Panel 3

CHAIR: Birgitta Hosea (UCA)

Brontë Schiltz (Independent scholar). Ghosts in the Living Room: Televisual Terror in The Stone Tape and Ghostwatch

Sam R. M. Geden (Independent scholar). Ending on a Hug: The Revisionism of Posthumous Cinema

Angeliki Myrto-Farmaki (Kingston University). The logic of the séance: pendulum, channel, fragment and the production of otherness


16.30-17.50 Panel 4

CHAIR: Rob Cenci (UCA)

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (Independent artist). Artist’s presentation Black Trans Archive

Jenny Swingler (Roehampton University). Performing the ob skene: disorientating white radiant death in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

Chloe Turner (Goldsmiths University). They Wave to Me’ : Ivy Lake, Disco Balls and Kevin Aviance



Saturday 29th October 2022 (time and venue TBC) – please come to the launch of a new audio story walk F for Farnham created by theatre and film director Sophie Austin, produced by Roz Mortimer and Simon Aeppli (UCA). A Knowledge Exchange collaboration between University for the Creative Arts and Farnham Town Council.

F for Farnham is a series of nine audio stories which takes the listener on a ghost hunt around Farnham, the most haunted town in Surrey. This story-walk gives voice to those who have gone before as they share their stories and the resonances that keep them present today. Farnham’s phantoms can sometimes be heard and occasionally seen, but their presence is most felt as their energy reverberates through the bricks and mortar, the flag stones and cobbles, the wooden beams which creak with the memory of hanging bodies. Do not walk alone.

Wednesday 26th October 2022 at Farnham Maltings – please come to a special screening of She Will (2022, Dir: Charlotte Colbert) introduced by Dr Abby Whittall (Post-Doctoral Fellow, UCA). Time and tickets TBC.

Register for free via Eventbrite.