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Photography Research Group

Gary Bratchford & Robert Parkinson, Open eye Gallery, 2017
Gary Bratchford & Robert Parkinson, Open eye Gallery, 2017

Led by Dr Gary Bratchford, the Photography Research Group (PRG) deals with the notion of the image in a broad and interdisciplinary way. A research driven collective of image-makers, visual practitioners, writers and theorists, the PRG recognises the significant and ever-changing role images and visual practitioners play in how we understand the past, present and future.

Within the group, members have undertaking research and projects with regional, national and international reach on a host of topics, including, but not limited to:

  • Examining the effects of gentrification on local communities and public space in the North West, UK.
  • Long-term projects funded by the NHS and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool examining the relationship between socially engaged photography, health and place.
  • Ongoing projects focusing on verticality, visual sociology and drone imagery
  • The role of print cultures during the Cold War.
  • China and urbanisation
  • Visual Culture and solidarity networks with specific emphasis on notions of national belonging and internationalist sentiments.
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Outputs from within the PRG include exhibition, conference and symposia, curatorial projects, essays, book chapters and monographs.

Members of the PRG welcome PhD projects on the following areas of expertise:

  • Photography (history and practice of)
  • Visual Culture
  • Visual Methods and Socially Engaged Practices, Wellbeing & Health
  • Visual Sociology
  • Visual Politics and place
  • Urban visual analysis, regionally and globally (with a specialism on China)
  • Migration, citizenship and identity

We are demonstrably committed to extending the reach and significance of our research beyond the bounds of academia though public engagement and publicly funded research. Please see specific members academic profiles and Clok pages for details on relevant:

  • Monographs & edited volumes on the topics noted above
  • Contributions to edited volumes
  • Papers published in international peer review journals
  • Curatorial collaboration on international, and national projects
  • Exhibition catalogue essays
  • Exhibitions through publicly funded, and commercial galleries
  • Conference attendance and organising

Members within the group also work collaboratively, co-publishing, researching and practicing. Examples include John Van Aitken and Gary Bratchford’s research space/project, Critical Lens.

  • Co-Editor of Visual Studies Journal (Gary Bratchford)
  • President of the International Sociological Association Visual Sociology Research Group (Gary Bratchford)

Please see specific members academic profiles and Clok pages for details on relevant and current outputs.

The School has a growing community of UK and international students working on taught master's. The Photography team welcomes applications from those wishing to undertake postgraduate research.

Further details on the master's can be found on the MA Photography course page.

For PhD enquires, please email relevant staff or Dr Gary Bratchford in the first instance.

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.

Maria Ikoniadou’s research is situated on the intersection of visuality and politics with a focus on the role of print cultures during the Cold War. Recent work investigates the ways in which political refugee populations and their solidarity networks mobilised the qualities of illustrated magazines to negotiate national belongings and internationalist sentiments. Research interests include the ways that conscious design, the juxtaposition of image and text and the entanglement of visual and material objects can encourage aesthetic and political shifts and intervene in the sociopolitical sphere. Member of Identities strand, MIDEX Research Centre.

Academic expertise