Posts by David

Researching, Writing and Exhibiting Photography Symposium, Saturday 8th April 2017

23 February 2017

UPDATE: This event is now FULLY BOOKED. Please complete the form in the link below if you would like to be added to the waiting list. We will be in touch if places become available:

Saturday 8th April, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, London W1W 6UW

Researching, Writing and Exhibiting Photography

We’re delighted to announce details of the upcoming Institute of Modern and Contemporary Culture’s one-day symposium on Researching, Writing and Exhibiting Photography.

Speakers: David Bate (University of Westminster); Benedict Burbridge (Sussex); Sara Davidmann (UAL); Anna Dannemann (Photographer’s Gallery); Christopher Morton (Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford); Russell Roberts (University of South Wales); Karen Shepherdson (Canterbury Christ Church); Kelley Wilder (De Montfort)

This one-day symposium seeks to explore current practices of researching, writing and exhibiting photography, three activities central to the production of knowledge about photography. The symposium will consider the intertwined relationships between these activities from two main standpoints. The first is the ways in which the practices of researching, writing and exhibiting photography draw from, influence and critique one another as they produce our understandings of the photographic. The second is the ways in which the photographic, understood here as technical forms and associated images, operates as a transformative force within society, and in doing so produces the field for researching, writing and exhibiting photography.

Organised into three successive panels – “Researching Photography”, “Writing Photography” and “Exhibiting Photography” – the event brings together researchers, writers and curators working in academic and commercial contexts, and whose interests span from photographic archives to contemporary photographic practice. The symposium will provide a platform to discuss conceptual, theoretical and practical approaches to the study, discourse and display of photography; and how their intertwined relationship(s) can offer reflections on approaching the opportunities and challenges presented by working in the arts and humanities today.

You can find further details of the programme, and can book your free ticket, on the RWEP website here.

Further information from Sara Dominici at:

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The Chinese Experience in London discussion Monday 27 February 2017

23 February 2017

Monday 27 February, 1.00 – 2.00
Room UG05, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

The Chinese Experience in London
A Conversation with Derek Hird  & Anne Witchard 

Derek Hird: A Brief History of the Chinese in London, focussing on some of the interesting human stories of the Chinese presence in London over the centuries

Anne Witchard: British literary and cinematic depictions of the Chinese in the early twentieth century, including the silent film ‘Broken Blossoms’ (1919) which is to be shown in the Regent St Cinema on Friday 3rd March.

Book your free ticket for the event here.

Part of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Westminster’s week-long Difference Festival.

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Lampedusa: Debating the Representation of Migration in an Age of ‘Crisis’

23 February 2017

Thursday 2nd March, 6.30 – 8.30
University of Westminster, Portland Hall, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street, London, W1W 7BY

Lampedusa: Debating the Representation of Migration in an Age of ‘Crisis’

Federica Mazzara (Modern Languages and Culture, University of Westminster) – Federica is currently writing a monograph for Peter Lang entitled Re-imagining Lampedusa which explores the geographical, legal, artistic and political framing of asylum seekers and migrants.

Côme Ledésert (film maker/PhD student at University of Westminster) – Côme is the author of Persisting Dreams, a short film about Lampedusa that questions our perception of migrants in Europe.

Maya Ramsay (artist) – An award-winning artist, Maya works with historically and politically important sites including, most recently, the graves of migrants who lost their lives whilst trying to reach Europe by sea.

Lucy Wood (artist) – Lucy set sail from Lampedusa to London in a rescued North African migrant boat on World Refugee Day, 20 June 2013.

Find out more and book a free ticket via Eventbrite.

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When Concepts Become Norm: Copyright Law Through Conceptual Art seminar Thurs 23rd

20 February 2017

Thursday 23rd February 2017, 5.00 – 6.30 pm
Room 351, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London

“When Concepts Become Norm: Copyright Law Through Conceptual Art”
Danilo Mandic (Law School, University of Westminster)
Respondent: Kaja Marczewska (IMCC)

The fourth of the new series of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Cross-Disciplinary Research Seminars at Westminster is a talk by our good friend Danilo Mandic on copyright and conceptual, with a response from the IMCC’s Kaja Marczewska. One not to miss!

All very welcome. Followed by drinks …

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Shadows of the State: Mapping Intelligence Agencies seminar this Wednesday

20 February 2017

Wednesday 22nd February, 5.00 – 7.00
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T

“Shadows of the State: Mapping Intelligence Agencies”
Lewis Bush (University of the Arts, London)

Shadows of the State employs methodologies derived from espionage in order to investigate so-called ‘Numbers stations’. These are shortwave radio broadcasts transmitting coded messages and widely speculated that they are the means by which intelligence agencies communicate with their operatives overseas. In this talk I will discuss the origin of these stations, the process of locating them and their continuing role in today’s new Cold War.

Lewis Bush studied history and worked for the United Nations before retraining as a photographer. Since then he has developed a practice exploring the way power operates in the world. Recent works include Shadows of the State, which involved tracking the communications of intelligence agencies. Bush also writes extensively on photography for a variety of titles and maintains the Disphotic blog. He frequently curates exhibitions, and is lecturer in documentary photography courses at London College of Communication and a visitor on a number of other courses.

All welcome! Followed by the usual drinks in The Green Man.

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Transparency in International Relations, Law and Politics, Thursday 16 Feb

10 February 2017

Thursday 16th February 2017, 5.00 – 6.30 pm
Room 351, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London

“Transparency in International Relations, Law and Politics”
Matthew Fluck (Politics & International Relations, University of Westminster)
Respondent: Eleni Frantziou (School of Law, University of Westminster)

The third of the new series of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Cross-Disciplinary Research Seminars at Westminster is a talk by Matt Fluck on transparency, with a response from Eleni Frantziou.

A reminder that the following seminar (with a particular IMCC flavour!) will be same time and place the week after:

February 23rd: Danilo Mandic, “When Concepts Become Norm: Copyright Law Through Conceptual Art”, with respondent Kaja Marczewska

All very welcome! Followed by drinks …

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The Difference Festival, February 27th – March 3rd 2017

4 February 2017

Monday 27th February – Friday 3rd March 2017
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW

The Difference Festival

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Westminster is hosting a week-long (and timely) celebration of Difference from February 27th to March 3rd that will pay homage to the history and roots of the institution, whilst showcasing the work of staff, students, alumni and friends, aspiring to ‘instruct and delight’.

Friends of the IMCC may be particularly interested in some events involving our members and affiliates – including Anne Witchard and Derek Hird discussing The Chinese Experience in London (Monday 27th, 1-2), Gwilym Jones on Shakespeare’s Storms (Tuesday 28th, 1-2) and Federica Mazzara, Côme Ledésert and the artist Maya Ramsay discussing the representation of the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ in the Mediterranean (Thursday 2nd, 6.30-8.30) – but there are a whole interesting events taking place during the week, including a screening on the Friday of the silent film Broken Blossoms (1919) at the Regent Street Cinema, with organ accompaniment.

All welcome! Full details here:

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The Return of the Art and Tech Lab: Transdiciplinary Gravy or Neoliberal Grey Goo?

28 January 2017

Thursday 2nd February 2017, 5.00 – 6.30 pm
Room 351, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London

The Return of the Art and Tech Lab: Transdiciplinary Gravy or Neoliberal Grey Goo?
John Beck (IMCC)

Kicking off the new series of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Cross-Disciplinary Research Seminars at Westminster is our own John Beck, Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, discussing the perils of transdiscplinarity. With a response from Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos.

Future seminars (same place and time) will run weekly as follows:

February 9th: Andrew Linn, “19thC Mass Migration and 21stC Technology”, with respondent Dan Conway

February 16th: Matt Fluck, “Transparency in International Relations, Law and Politics”, with respondent Eleni Frantziou

February 23rd: Danilo Mandic, “When Concepts Become Norm: Copyright Law Through Conceptual Art”, with respondent Kaja Marczewska

March 16th: Ludivine Broch, “The History of Objects in Post-War France”, with respondent Debra Kelly

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Thomson & Craighead Love L.A.

28 January 2017

Thomson and Craighead are currently on show at the Young Projects gallery in Los Angeles with the exhibition Wake Me Up When It’s Over. The exhibition will feature nearly a dozen works spanning the years 1996-2016, thereby presenting an in-depth look into the couple’s practice and methodologies.

For the better part of the past two decades Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead have been “digging deep,” as curator Marc Garrett once described their practice, “into the algorithmic phenomena of our networked society; its conditions and protocols (architecture of the Internet) and the non-ending terror of the spectacle as a mediated life.” In the process they’ve employed web cams, data feeds, networks, movies, images, sound and text in their many installations, videos and art-objects–often with a wide array of art-historical reference points, including 1960s systems art, 1970s structuralist film-making, and the compositional experiments of the literature group, Oulipo.

Works featured in the exhibition include: A Short Film about War (2009/2010); Apocalypse (2016); Belief (2012); Common Era (2016); Flipped Clock (2009); Help Yourself (2016); Television Fan (1996); The Time Machine in Alphabetical Order (2010); Trooper (1998); Untitled (Balloon Work) (2016).

More details here.

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The French Novel Today with Emmanuel Bouju, Weds 25th January 2017

17 January 2017

Wednesday 25th January, 5.00 – 7.00
Room 206, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T

“Literature on Credit: The French Novel Today”
Emmanuel Bouju
(Université de Rennes 2)

For the past twenty years, French literature has lived on credit, or, rather, on the credit of the last century. Placed at the heart of a crisis of trust in public speech, in democracy (which is still undergoing a state of emergency), and in social economics, it now has decreased in fiduciary value. Nevertheless this talk will plead for a new strength and a new authority for the French novel: a strength and an authority that are related to a gradual shift from “the indiciary paradigm” to the “fiduciary paradigm”.

Emmanuel Bouju is currently Professor of Comparative Literature at the Université de Rennes 2 and Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University in 2012, 2014 and 2015. He is the director of the “Groupe phi”, a research group dedicated to historical and comparative poetics. He is also an editor for the Classiques Garnier (Coll. “Littérature, Histoire, Politique”) and for the Presses Universitaires de Rennes. Professor Bouju’s publications include Réinventer la littérature : démocratisation et modèles romanesques dans l’Espagne post-franquiste (with a préface by Jorge Semprún, 2002), La transcription de l’histoire. Essai sur le roman européen de la fin du vingtième siècle (2006) and Fragments d’un discours théorique (2015).

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UPDATE: CANCELLED: Picturing the Perpetrator seminar, December 7th

1 December 2016

CANCELLED: Unfortunately, due to illness we have had to cancel Paul Lowe’s seminar that was to take place today. We will reschedule in the new year. Apologies.

Wednesday 7th December, 5.00 – 7.00
Room 412, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1T

“Picturing the Perpetrator”
Paul Lowe (UAL)

Photographs of and by the perpetrators of atrocities, war crimes and genocide pose a series of troubling and difficult questions for practitioners, media outlets, audiences, and critics. Such images often blur the boundaries of photographic representation, generating a form of genre slippage, such as the formal portrait, where an accepted form of representation with an accepted set of responses, is challenged by the knowledge that the subject, with whom the form invites the viewer to empathize with, is know to be a mass murder. Images made by perpetrators of their actions also are complex, should they be viewed as evidence of their atrocity, or does such an act make the viewer complicit in the re-victimization of their subjects? How should self-images of terrorists be understood and analyzed?

This seminar will explore these questions through the detailed close reading and interpretation of a series of perpetrator related images covering a broad historical and geographic sweep, that will include 19th century colonial imagery, the Holocaust, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and the War on Terror. A key feature of this exploration will be the imaginative space generated by the still image. This idea of the image creating a performative space into which the viewer is invited to project their imagination makes the act of photographic production and consumption more akin to that of the theatre or even opera; a space in which the everyday is heightened by the emphasis in dramatic moments to create an encounter that amplifies the situation and draws attention to it, and a space where the co-existence of the everyday and the extreme can collide in the encounter of traumatic realism.

All welcome. Followed by Christmas drinks in the Green Man.

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Professor Richard Imgham Inaugural Lecture: Language History and Language Acquisition

1 December 2016

Tuesday 13th December 2016, 4.00 – 6.00 pm
Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HT

Language history and language acquisition: making the connection
Professor Richard Ingham, University of Westminster

Please join the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies for Professor Richard Ingham’s inaugural lecture as Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster. Professor Ingham is Principal Investigator for The Bilingual Thesaurus of Everyday Life in Medieval England, a Leverhulme Trust-funded project based at the University of Westminster and Birmingham City University. In creating an online, freely accessible thesaurus of Middle English and Anglo-French words, the project captures the influence on English of Anglo French at a time of the overlapping presence and use of both languages within England. It allows scholars to conduct research on the Middle English and Anglo-French vocabulary of seven occupational domains: building, domestic activities, farming, food preparation, manufacture, trade, and travel by water.

The lecture will be followed by an introduction to the project by Louise Sylvester, Professor of English Language at Westminster, a brief discussion of the key findings so far by Professor Ingham, a demonstration of the thesaurus by Dr Imogen Marcus, and a drinks reception.

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British Story in Spanish

26 November 2016

For any Spanish readers, there’s a translation from Michael Nath’s excellent novel British Story to be found in the new issue of the Mexican magazine Argonauta on Shakespeare and Cervantes.

Read it here:

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Call for Papers: Media, Arts and Hybrid Spaces, January 27th 2017

26 November 2016

Friday 27th January 2017, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
Room 315, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HT

Media, Arts and Hybrid Spaces: Experience and Meaning in the Contact Zone

Study Day organised by Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) in collaboration with HOMELandS

Mary Louise Pratt introduced the concept of ‘the contact zone’ in 1991, using this term ‘to refer to social spaces where cultures, meet, clash and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today’. She goes on to introduce the concept of ‘transculturation’, which is expanded upon in her later book Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992), which describes ‘processes whereby members of subordinated or marginal groups select and invent from materials transmitted by a dominant or metropolitan culture’.

The ‘contact zone’ is a site of artistic production but it can also be a site of negotiation of meanings, a context of experience. In her paper, Pratt expands on the notion of the contact zone beyond the interpretation of colonial encounters and deals with difference and conflict in the classroom. She writes, ‘All the students in the class had the experience … of having their cultures discussed and objectified in ways that horrified them; all the students experienced face-to-face the ignorance and incomprehension, and occasionally the hostility of others … Along with rage, incomprehension, and pain, there were exhilarating moments of wonder and revelation, mutual understanding, and new wisdom—the joys of the contact zone’. How might we broaden Pratt’s notion of the ‘the contact zone’? What is its significance in the contemporary sphere and how might it be a useful site for further investigation?

Please send abstracts (circa 300 words) for 20 mins papers by 6 January 2017 to both organisers:
Mattia Lento –
Margherita Sprio –

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Reminder: New Nativisms in Global World – this Thursday 24th

22 November 2016

Thursday 24th November 2016, 6.00 – 7.30 pm
Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HT

New Nativisms in a Global World

The rise of such phenomena as post-reality politics, extreme right-wing parties, legitimised demonisation of refugees, the partisan lines drawn by emotive referendums, populist language at the highest levels of political power, regional politics blocking vast transnational agreements, and so on, have all been signaling the rise of a new nativism of petty locality that seeks a reversal of the status quo with unpredictable consequences.

The theoretical challenge of this is considerable: is this the voice of the disenfranchised and the rise of minor politics; or is it the triumph of populism through mendaciously democratic and inclusive means? What happens to stasis when co-opted? What is the role of affects in post-reality politics today? How to resist the nativist, nationalist call, while carrying on questioning the globalising impetus of capitalism?

The interdisciplinary panel brings together experts from the Westminster Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities in order to diagnose  and reflect upon these recent emergences.

PANEL: Dibyesh Anand (Politics and International Relations); David Cunningham (IMCC / English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies); Radha d’Souza (Westminster Law School); Harriet Evans (Modern Languages and Culture); Thomas Moore (Politics and International Relations); and Lea Sitkin (History, Sociology and Criminology).

CHAIR: Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (Westminster Law & Theory Lab)

Book a place at:

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Phobic Resistances from Freud to Blanchot seminar, November 23rd

17 November 2016

Wednesday 23rd November, 5.00 – 7.00
Room 412, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1T

“‘Detestable residue’: phobic resistances from Freud to Blanchot”
Simon Morgan Wortham (Kingston University)

This talk traces Freud’s interest in yet apparent aversion to phobia, from his earliest writings on the topic in the 1890s through to his reinterpretation of the Little Hans case study, originally from 1909, in the mid-1920s. Here, it is possible to detect something like a phobic reaction to phobia itself. In the subsequent writings on the case of Little Hans, including those by Deleuze and Guattari, traces of this phobic reaction can be found contaminating sometimes sharply critical readings just as surely as they do Freud’s own text. Such ‘phobia’ operates precisely through a certain resistance to itself, a doubleness that renders Freud’s phobophobia not just a psychological curiosity but perhaps a feature of the very structure of phobia from the outset.  The talk will contrast psychoanalytic approaches to phobia with other possible ways to think about the questions it invites. Since Freud’s most famous early text on phobia takes the example of Pascal’s fear of abysses, the talk will turn to Blanchot’s short essay, ‘Pascal’s Hand’. For Blanchot what is abyssal in Pascal’s text amounts to a ‘detestable residue’ that might prove just too much for psycho-phobic reading.

Simon Morgan Wortham is Professor in Humanities and Co-Director of the London Graduate School at Kingston University. His many publications include Modern Thought in Pain: Philosophy, Politics, Psychoanalysis (2014), The Poetics of Sleep: From Aristotle to Nancy (2013), Derrida: Writing Events (2008), and Counter-Institutions: Jacques Derrida and the Question of the University (2006).

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Archive-as-method Salon, December 5th at Senate House

17 November 2016

Monday 5th of December 2016, 15.30-18.30
Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E (SH243)

Archive-as-Method Salon
Working with Visual Documents of the Italian Colonial Heritage

Presentations, short-film screenings and Q&A with: 
Alessandra Ferrini, Gianmarco Mancosu, Martina Melilli and Jacopo Rinaldi

Organised by one of our former MA Art & Visual Culture students, Alessandra Ferrini, of the excellent Mnemoscape, this Salon brings together artists, filmmakers and historians in order to discuss methodological approaches to the exploration and activation of colonial, archival material. Given the recent interest in the Italian colonial past,  the salon aims to shed light onto a previously marginalised historical period.

The first part of the salon will introduce to the fascist imperial project and its legacy through Gianmarco Mancosu’s research based on the newsreels on the Ethiopian War of 1935-36 and Alessandra Ferrini’s essay film and pedagogic project Negotiating Amnesia (2015), which is based on archival photographs and propaganda postcards from the same period. The second part of the salon will kick off with Martina Melilli’s presentation of an ongoing body of work stemming from her family’s history in the Libyan colony and in Italy, after the expulsion of Italians from Libya in 1970. It will be followed by Jacopo Rinaldi’s problematisation of the truthfulness of archival material, through his research in the Pirelli Historic Archive (Milan), and the production of works exploring the rubber industry. To conclude, the four researchers will be in conversation and will open up the debate to the public.

Free, but seats are limited. Please email Mnemoscape at to book a place.

For more information please visit the facebook event page.

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PhD Scholarships at Westminster

14 November 2016

The University of Westminster Graduate School is offering five MPhil/PhD Scholarships in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, including in Visual Culture, Cultural Studies and English Literature. The Scholarships are open to candidates with a Home fee status, and are full-time for three years, including an annual stipend of £16,000 and a Home fee waiver starting in September 2017. As part of the Scholarship candidates will be required to undertake up to six hours teaching per week. Deadline: February 10th 2017 by 5pm.

For general enquiries please contact Dr Leigh Wilson,, T: 020 7911 5000 ext 68955.

At the same time, the Faculty is also offering three fully funded Quintin Hogg Trust PhD studentships beginning in September 2017 for projects using the University of Westminster Archive. The Archive holds a wide collection of material on the history of the University and its predecessor institutions from 1838 to the present. The Studentships will be awarded to projects making excellent use of the University Archive, and to applicants demonstrating commitment to the promotion of the Archive both within the University and externally and to the development of the University’s research student community. The three Scholarships will be awarded across the following broad areas: Creative Writing based on material in the Archive; Performing science in the 19th centuryLeisure, religion and mobility: Quintin Hogg and the Regent Street PolytechnicPhotography and/as pedagogy

It is strongly recommended that candidates for these scholarships contact the Archive and arrange to visit and speak to an archivist before applying. Please contact Anna McNally at the Archive:

Further information on all the Scholarships, and details on how to apply, here:

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Conversations on Communism podcast

4 November 2016

We are very pleased to announce an exciting new project by the IMCC’s own Elinor Taylor, who is launching a podcast series, “Conversations on Communism”, in collaboration with Henry Stead. Episode 1 is now online, with Robert Lister discussing Frank Walbank and Polybius.

Check it out at:

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La Post-photographie, un nouveau paradigme? November 11th, Paris

4 November 2016

If anyone is in Paris on Friday 11th November, the IMCC’s Deputy Director, David Cunningham, is speaking on a panel at the Centre Culturel Suisse on “Post-Photography“, as part of Paris Photo.

The blurb is in French, but the discussion is in English. Kicking off at 8pm.

Soirée menée par Duncan Forbes, directeur du Fotomuseum Winterthur. Avec :Melanie Bühler, commissaire indépendante, Amsterdam and New York ; Joshua Chuang, New York Public Library ; David Cunningham, Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, Londres ; Camille Le Houezec et Joey Villemont, It’s Our Playground, Thorigny-sur-Marne ; Nadine Wietlisbach, Photoforum PasquArt, Bienne.

Further details at:

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