National Photography Symposium 2014

05 June 2014

Industry news

Photographers, curators, and those working with photography from across the country will descend upon Birmingham next week as the highly prestigious National Photography Symposium takes place at the Library of Birmingham.

Curated by Redeye Photography Network and hosted by GRAIN Photography Hub at the Library of Birmingham, 2014 will be the sixth National Photography Symposium and the first time it has taken place in Birmingham. This year’s symposium will see speakers such as internationally acclaimed Simon Roberts, curator and writer Val Williams and critic Francis Hodgson join an extensive three day programme of debates, discussions, talks and presentations with some of the country’s leading movers and shakers from the world of photography.  Other speakers include Jon Levy, Stephen Mayes and David Drake.

Taking place across three days (12-14 June), the symposium looks to explore the most critical and talked-about subjects for photography and photographers. Experts will offer advice to amateur and professional photographers alike on the various routes into the industry, whilst leading academics, curators and writers explore the ethics behind the business of photography.

Each day will look to explore a different area of photography however the symposium is open to all to attend.

Thursday 12 June 2014: Students and Emerging Photographers

This afternoon focuses on routes into photography – with talks and panel debates from leading figures in the photography market. What’s on offer for students and emerging artists to help establish themselves in photography? Which of the many competitions, reviews, courses, opportunities and online services are worth signing up for? Who benefits? The day finishes with a keynote talk.

Friday 13 June 2014: Organisations and Institutions

The second day concentrates on key issues of integrity for organisations and institutions. How can they preserve their public service or members’ remit whilst improving commercial income? What new kinds of ventures are working for organisations, and what are the new types of fundraising and finance being tried? How do the larger institutions and museums deal with conflicting demands for acquisitions, collections and archives? What are the “standards” in the new photographic landscape? What’s on the horizon for some of photography’s leading companies and organisations?

Saturday 14 June 2014: Photographers

The final day of the Symposium explores key issues around ethics, authenticity and business for all photographers. The discussions, like the Symposium as a whole, take a lead from Stephen Mayes' assertion that photographers need to redefine their product to create new value for their work. It explores new kinds of business models and collaborations that allow photographers to retain creative integrity while still making a living in a dramatically different economy. How can they deal with the pressures on copyright from new licensing models and digital distribution? What are the opportunities and constraints of ethical practice and environmental sustainability?

The National Photography Symposium will take place at the Library of Birmingham.   Taking place at the same time attenders can visit photography exhibitions including ‘Daniel Meadows:  Early Photographic Works’, ‘Album 31 by Sophy Rickett and Bettina von Zwehl’ and ‘Our City’.

Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND from 12-14 June 2014.

For more information and to book tickets please visit

Image: The Librray of Birmingham © Jas Sansi.