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UCA researcher investigates gender imbalance

Researcher from the University for the Creative Arts awarded International Network Grant to investigate gender imbalance in the photography profession

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | March 12, 2017 | Research

Following the success of her initial research project, Professor Anna Fox has now been awarded the £124,000 funding by the Leverhulme Trust for Fast Forward 2, which will recognise and investigate the significance of historical and contemporary women in photography. The research will also allow institutions from around the world to identify new ways to reduce the gender gap that currently exists in the industry. 

Professor Fox says: “Despite many women receiving an excellent education in photography, the industry is still heavily dominated by men. Currently, women are significantly under represented both commercially and as artists, with only two to seven percent of all monographs being published on women photographers and many museums having five percent or less of women professionals in their collections.

“It is imperative for us, and for our partners around the world, to find new ways to enhance and strengthen the status of women in the profession, and to explore the similarities and differences in issues faced by women working as photographers in different parts of the globe. Gender politics has always featured highly on the UCA curriculum. A significant proportion of students studying Photography at UCA are female and we feel incredibly strongly about ensuring their talent, skills and expertise are recognised when they graduate and beyond. In addition to helping our students grow and succeed as artists, we aim to ensure that students have a well-rounded understanding of the industry and the issues that affect it.” 

A significant proportion of students studying Photography at UCA are female and we feel incredibly strongly about ensuring their talent, skills and expertise are recognised when they graduate and beyond 

Six international institutions will host research workshops to discuss ideas about the position of women in photography and how to make changes to advance the current situation. The first event will take place at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, in Brazil, this July.

“Through the workshops, we will be considering how the experiences of women differ globally; why women are still not properly recorded in histories of photography; and why there are so few women working as commercial photographers,” Professor Fox continues.

“We will also be looking at ways in which women can network more successfully and what more can be done to ensure that women in photography get a significant and relevant place in our histories of photography.”

Fast Forward 2 follows the success of the first phase of the project, which explored and identified the issues faced by women in photography at a major conference held at the Tate Modern in 2015.

The international networking events, which form phase two, will bring together practitioners and scholars in the global fields of both photography and women’s studies. The location of each event will compare and contrast the experiences that female photographers face in different regions of the world.  

The seven international partners involved in Fast Forward 2 are: Dillon + Lee (Gallery), New York; Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte; Lagos International Photography Festival; AKJ Mass Communications Research at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi; Slade, at University College London and The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki.

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