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Headlines Published on 12 May 2004

Title Leading photographers map the new EU, culturally

A handful of the world’s leading photographers are being attracted to an international research centre especially for photography. Their remit: help to create a new cultural map of Europe by documenting its citizens.

Europe’s cultural tapestry in photographs © Source: PhotoDisc
Europe’s cultural tapestry in photographs

© Source: PhotoDisc
Photographic techniques have been with us for hundreds of years. Since the very beginning – when a simple camera obscuras was fitted with a telescope lens in the 16th century – people have been fascinated by photography and in seeing their own images. Indeed, these early images are now a rich source of information on how our ancestors lived.

The International Photography Research Centre, which is being set up at the University of Sunderland in the North-East of England, will promote excellence in photography but also help to document the rich cultural diversity of European life in the 21st century.

The research centre, with backing from the Arts Council England and an EU grant of almost  €1.2 million, will put together a partnership of universities and galleries in the UK, Germany, Spain, Finland, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Bangladesh as a starting point for building an online photographic archive for public use.

Changing face of Europe
The project’s manager, Laurie Short, says the centre puts Sunderland University at the heart of a network of universities and galleries across Europe and its research programme will take the photographers into all corners of the continent to capture images that will help create a new cultural map of Europe.

Their work will show the changing face of Europe through the lives of its individuals and communities. The timing of the project is fortuitous, as the European Union just welcomed, on 1 May, its ten new Member States from central and eastern Europe, many of which were former Soviet-bloc countries.

“The task of the [partners] is to make photographic images that explain how we can relate better to other cultures,” he said. The resulting photographic research archive – scheduled to be up and running in the summer – will provide the basis for an international exhibition and conference planned for September 2005.

Source:  AlphaGalileo

Research Contacts page

More information:

  • History of photography (
  • University of Sunderland (UoS)
  • Press release (UoS)

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