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NYU’s Department of Photography & Imaging in Collaboration with University College London and The Walther Collection to Present an International Symposium on Alternative Ways to Describe Historic and Contemporary African Photography

October 1, 2012

In collaboration with Tisch School of the Arts Department of Photography and Imaging and University College London, The Walther Collection will present a symposium entitled Encounters with the African Archive on November 10, 2012 at New York University.  This one-day event, coinciding with the exhibition series Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive at The Walther Collection Project Space, brings together leading international scholars to exchange, debate, and open up the categories—colonial, ethnographic, anthropological, and artistic—that are often used to describe historic and contemporary photographs of Africans.

Encounters with the African Archive is free and open to the public with advance registration. Individuals interested in attending should email their name/s and affiliation (where applicable) to or call 212.352.0683. The symposium will be held at NYU’s Silver Center, 100 Washington Square East, on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The symposium will provide an opportunity for rethinking the African archive in relation to the concerns of contemporary critics and artists.  It is co-chaired by Tamar Garb, Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art at University College London, and Deborah Willis, Chair, NYU Tisch Department of Photography & Imaging, and is co-presented by the NYU departments of Africana Studies and the Institute for African American Affairs. Participants will include Awam Amkpa (NYU), Jennifer Bajorek (NYU), Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort University), Christraud Geary (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Michael Godby (University of Cape Town), Erin Haney (George Washington University), Salah Hassan (Cornell University), Hlonipha Mokoena (Columbia University), Riason Naidoo (South African National Gallery), Gabi Ncobo (University of the Witswatersrand), Chika Okeke-Agulu (Princeton University), and John Peffer (Ramapo College). For more information about Distance and Desire please visit:

The Walther Collection is dedicated to researching, collecting, exhibiting, and publishing photography and video art. Located in the landmark West Chelsea Arts Building, The Walther Collection Project Space is an exploratory exhibition venue, supporting programming and research in connection with the collection’s main museum campus in Neu-Ulm, Germany. The collection is currently engaged in a multi-year examination of African photography through the themes of portraiture, landscape, and the historic archive.

The Department of Photography & Imaging is an intensive four-year BFA program centered on the making and understanding of images. It is a diverse department embracing multiple perspectives. The students work in virtually all modes of analog, digital, and multimedia photo-based image making, exploring photo-based imagery as personal and cultural expression.  For further information, visit

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Tisch School of the Arts

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Richard Pierce | (212) 998-6796

Encounters with the African Archive Symposium to be Held at NYU, Nov. 10

(left to right) Elizabeth and Jan van der Merwe, Johannesburg, c. 1900, from Santu Mofokeng, “The Black Photo Album / Look at Me: 1890-1950.” Unknown Photographer –– Ms Le Sishi I, Glebelands, Durban, from “Beulahs,” 2010, by Zanele Muholi, 1997 –– Portrait of Kgama III, South Africa, early 20th century. Unknown Photographer

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