British Photography since 1972: a conference

Event info

The Royal Photographic Society’s Historical Group was formed on 22 March 1972 at a time when photography in Britain was undergoing a significant transition. The RPS, itself, was in a process of modernisation as it sought to remain relevant to British photography. The way photography was taught in higher education reflected a move away from the technical to a focus on approach and the content of the picture. New galleries showing photography were established, national museums and galleries began to take photography seriously and the Arts Council appointed its first photography officer.

The period also saw major upheavals for the industry and the profession with recessions, a move to digital, and new ways for commissioners to source content. The way photography was experienced, shared and disseminated changed dramatically later in the period with the advent of new digital technologies.

This conference will examine some of these changes through a series of papers that look at British photography and photographers over the fifty years from 1972-2022.

Bookings can be made using the link here


Speakers will talk for around 25/30 minutes, followed by up to 15 minutes for a Q+A with the in house and online audiences. As this will be a hybrid event, we will aim to keep to timings for the benefit of those joining online. For online audiences questions and comment may be placed through the Zoom chat. For those attending in person tea, coffee and water will be available each day.

The final programme can be downloaded here

Paper abstracts and speaker biographies can be downloaded here

The conference is a hybrid event. It will be live for delegates in the RPS auditorium, Bristol, and livestreamed. Please ensure you book the correct ticket type as seating in Bristol is limited. 

For attendees in person your conference fee includes the conference pack, tea/coffees throughout the day, but not lunch. There are several lunch options close by. For those watching the livestream you will be sent conference abstracts by PDF. Your Zoom link will be send on Thursday, 30 June. 

Event Organiser

RPS Historical Group


Venue Information

All areas are fully accessible with a lift, ramps and restrooms on each floor. If you have any specific requirements, please contact us on RPSHouse@rps.org so we can assist you during your visit.

There is public parking in Paintworks. We also have reserved parking spaces we can make available for those with accessibility requirements. Please contact us in advance if you would like to reserve a space. From ground level there are lifts to reach RPS House on the raised ground floor.

Cancellation policy

This is a hybrid event. The RPS will do its best to ensure that it keeps to the published timings and runs as planned. In the unlikely event that the event has to be cancelled all participants will be advised by email at the earliest opportunity.  No responsibility will be accepted for any consequential losses.


RPS House

337-340 Paintworks

Arnos Vale



RPS website