The University of Westminster was the first school of photography in the world (1853) and has been in constant evolution since. Historically renowned for transforming the practice, history and theory of photography, the school offers a vibrant contemporary environment for the critical study and practice of photography. Headed by internationally recognized scholars and artists, we develop innovative research through independent projects, ranging from exhibitions, books, journal articles and critical essays to conferences, symposia and a variety of new forms of visual/textual and digital dissemination. Our research is centred in practice, theory, history and criticism, and combinations of these disseminated in exhibitions, books and other forms of visual/textual work.
We understand photography as a broad inter-disciplinary field of study based on the photographic image, set within the distinct but overlapping networks of visual art, culture and media practice. Current focus includes contemporary art, social media, digital imaging, politics and big data networks. Researchers develop important relationships with related fields including film, visual art, architecture, fashion, literature, philosophy, postcolonial and digital studies.
Recent projects embrace a range of themes including aesthetics and memory, digital optics, fashion, architecture, postcolonial and migration studies, ecology, surrealism and the Gothic. Scholarly work includes the study of major and minor historical figures and emergent photographic artists. Research outputs have a variety of destinations, including many different offline and online platforms: museum and gallery exhibitions, independent publishing, academic books and journals, talks and lectures, as well as contemporary photography blogs and magazines like Unseen, Source, Foam, Eikon, Aperture, Afterimage, 1000 Words, and American Suburb X.