This two-day conference (6 – 7 November 2015) explores the complex and dynamic evolution of the history of women in photography, from early commercial practices, to the impact of World War II on women and their work, to reframing the role of the archive. Considering both national and international discussions about women in the history of photography, this event presents some of the latest research and debates in the field.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 01: Introduction

Introduction to the conference by Sandra Skyrova, Tate Curator of Public Programmes; Sarah Jeans, Head of School for Film, Media and Performing Arts, University of the Creative Arts; and Shoair Mavlian, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 02: Liz Wells

Keynote talk by Liz Wells: Women in Photography Now and Then

This talk notes some of the ways in which the situation and the context for women in photography have developed over the past three decades, taking into account the changing interrelation between the global and the local. Emphasising continuous problems of gender and representation, while considering women’s international presence as photographers across diverse professional spheres and acknowledging the extensive research into women’s participation in photography historically, it is suggested that despite welcome changes many issues remain to be addressed.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 03: Anna Tellgren

Anna Tellgren: Agneta Ekman, Eva Klasson, and Tuija Lindström – Three Photographers, Three Strategies

This paper discusses the role of women photographers in the history of Swedish photography after World War II and places them in an international context of feminist artists. The works of three prominent Swedish women photographers are presented. What different strategies have these photographers used to explore questions around sexuality, the body and femininity?

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 04: Russet Lederman

Russet Lederman: Then and Now: Japanese Women Photographers of the 1970s and '80s Revealed Through their Photobooks

Ishiuchi Miyako, Ishikawa Mao, and Nishimura Tamiko – three Japanese women photographers who first came into the Japanese photography scene in the 1970s and ‘80s are examined, accounting for the varying trajectories of their increased recognition in the light of the re-edits, reprints and reinterpretations of their early and influential photobooks.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 05: Sabina Jaskot-Gill

Sabina Jaskot-Gill: Embalming Time and Imagining Communities: Zofia Rydet's Sociological Record, 1978-1990

In 1978 Zofia Rydet (1911-1997) embarked on an ambitious project to photograph the people she encountered while travelling through Poland, creating a substantial photographic ‘atlas’ of Polish domestic life. Why did the photograph hold such significance for Rydet? What desires did the photograph promise to fulfil, and how can these desires be understood in the specific context of post-war communist Poland?

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 06: Panel discussion

Panel Discussion and Q&A chaired by Shoair Mavlian

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 07: Introduction

Val Williams introduces Session Two: Who owns the archive?

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 08: Charlene Heath

Charlene Heath: The Jo Spence Memorial Archive Intact: The Physical and Intellectual Organisation of a Life’s Work

The Jo Spence Memorial Archive has been dispersed internationally and is now in multiple locations. Using Spence and Terry Dennett’s collaborative project Remodelling Photo History (1982) as a case study, the author suggests that the separation of the archive constitutes an accidental extension of her pedagogical project. As a result, an understanding of Spence’s work must take place outside of the traditional archival best practices and take into consideration the multiple past and present contexts.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 09: Sabeena Gadihoke

Sabeena Gadihoke: The Many Lives of Homai Vyarawalla: Revisiting a Historical Archive

Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first woman press photographer passed away in 2012 leaving behind a vast archive of historical images. This paper explores how contextual displacement resulting from digitisation and a distancing from the memory of the photographer may allow for more diverse interpretations of her work.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 10: Sara Davidmann

Sara Davidmann: Photographs from a family archive – through a queer lens

In the 1950s my uncle Ken, who was transgender, took photographs of his wife Hazel. This paper considers these pictures in the context of new photographs I have made, using analogue, alternative and digital processes, in response to the vintage portraits.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 11: Jean Wainwright

Jean Wainwright: The Vocal Cord:  An audio portrait of contemporary women photographers

Using audio clips from interviews with international women photographers, the female photographer’s ‘voice’ will be examined as a form of feminine and feminist performance and portraiture that reflect changes in photographic practice and culture over the past twenty years. The underlying themes and the various links between the artists will be revealed.

Fast Forward: Women in Photography – 12: Panel discussion

Panel Discussion and Q&A chaired by Val Williams