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Dr Gary Bratchford

Senior Lecturer in Photography, MA Course Leader (Photography)
School of Arts and Media

Gary Bratchford runs photography projects, writes, and teaches Photography at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), where he is also the Course Leader for the postgraduate (MA programme) in Photography. He is the President of the International Sociological Associations’ Visual Sociology Research Group and co-editor of the Journal Visual Studies. Gary also runs the Photography Research Group and supervises postgraduate projects related to photography, visual culture and social practice.

Gary’s teaching and research focus around notions of power, politics, visibility and space. Gary’s photographic practice centres on collaborative and participatory visual practices, including socially engaged, process-based community projects.

Gary has published work on visual sociology and visual methods, visual social media, the Internet and activism in Israel/Palestine, visual processes of urbanisation and gentrification in the UK as well examining how photography can positively impact upon health and wellbeing in community settings.

Gary’s initial research interests focused on the use and function of photography and performance by Israeli and Palestinian non-violent protesters, specifically for online, international audiences between 2005-2011 as well as photographic and artist practices of visualising power, identity and space in this region. The culmination of this research was presented in Gary’s first major curatorial project, Visual Rights (2020) at the Open Eye Gallery, which placed an emphasis on visualising by foregrounding the artistic process and methods rather than the aesthetic outcome.

Gary’s new areas of research are based upon his own collaborative and process-based photography as well as analysing and employing practice-based visual methods in three distinct areas. Firstly, Gary is co-developing research (with Dr Dennis Zuev) on verticality, new aerial visions and scopic regimes. The project is entitled ‘A Sociology of the Sky’. This project’s first output is an edited collection of papers in the Visual Studies Journal (forthcoming 2020) as well as a core component of their co-edited monograph, Visual Sociology: Practices and Politics in Contested Spaces (forthcoming 2020, Palgrave).

Secondly, though his collaborative, community-based practice with artist, Robert Parkinson, Gary uses Socially Engaged approaches to examine how photography can foster community and support health and wellbeing. Recent publications in the field include his book, As and When: Documenting Socially Engaged Practice (2017), Socially Engaged Photography and Wellbeing: Reflections on a Case Study in the Northwest of England (Journal of London Primary Care, 2018) and an essay for Stephen Willat’s CONTROL magazine in 2019.

Lastly, Gary is writing, researching and developing visual methods to map urbanisation and gentrification in Manchester and Salford, UK with recent outputs including: “Visualising the invisible: a guided walk around the Pendleton Housing Estate, Salford, UK” (2019) and a chapter in an edited volume, Gentrification Around the World Vol 1: Gentrifiers and the displaced (Palgrave, 2020).

  • PhD Visual Culture, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2016
  • MA War, History & Culture, University of Manchester 2010
  • PGDE University of Bolton 2010
  • BA (Hons) Film and Media Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2003
  • AHRC Fully Funded PhD Scholarship: Awarded for Manchester Metropolitan University (2011-2015)

Modules Taught

  • PH4024 - Visualising the Invisible
  • PH4041 - Research Informed Practice
  • PH4042 - Ways of Seeing
  • PH4043 - Final Major Project
  • Visual Sociology
  • Photography (history and practice of)
  • Visual Culture
  • Visual Methods and Socially Engaged Practices, Wellbeing & Health
  • Co-Editor - Visual Studies Journal
  • President - International Sociological Association's Visual Sociology Research Committee
  • Scientific Committee - Art Style Magazine
  • Board Member - Open Eye Gallery