6th June 2008, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

National Galleries of Scotland

Friday 6 June, 10.30 to 16.30

Free Entry – No Booking Required

Hawthornden Lecture Theatre – Weston Link, National Gallery Complex

A one-day symposium examining the relationship between the politics of migration and the visual arts. How have artists and filmmakers tackled the issue of migration and what strategies have they developed to intervene in migratory politics? What is the history of migration-based archives and how might they be put to use? What role does migration play in constituting the visual cultures of globalisation?

Despite the presence of photographs in major national institutions, universities and local authority collections in Scotland, the photographic archive remains comparatively hidden and underused. This conference addresses the issues surrounding the use of photographic collections, both practically and theoretically. Bringing together archivists and theorists from a variety of disciplines, debates relating to historical context, method and policy will be brought to bear on the empirical investigation of photography’s archival presence in Scotland.

The conference interrogates the history of the photographic archive and its relation to an evolving history of photography in the era of globalization, examines archival holdings and the grounds of their classification, explores methods of archival management and investigates the formulation of institutional public policy, not least in an era of digital convergence. It also raises questions concerning the pursuit of the democratisation of cultural memory.

The conference speakers consider these issues using the theme of the migrant presence in Scottish photographic collections, asking questions such as

  • which archives offer access to migration stories and how can their content to be explored?
  • what are the research questions that might govern public narratives and the methods to be used in their presentation?
  • how do institutional remit and parameters impact on collections and how might policy frameworks include transformation and flexibility?
The symposium is funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and organized in collaboration with Dundee and Napier Universities. For more details go to www.nationalgalleries.org.