Centre for Research in Creative and Performing Arts

Ben Burbridge

My research deals with contemporary photographic practice implemented in wider cultural, socio-political and economic systems, photography's relation to global capitalism and in particular institutional critique. I engage in creative practice through curation, including work with photographer Jason Evans, in an exhibition that explored the relationship between photography online and in a gallery space. I have co-curated the Brighton Photo Biennial, setting up 12 different exhibitions dealing with photography's relationship to political occupation. This included an exhibition of work by homeless children in Brazil which was originally disseminated through fly posters, and newspapers and re-presented in a gallery setting, an exhibition of photos outside the gallery setting about the history of squat culture in Brighton, which included a parody of the Latest Homes property magazine handed out across the city. I took part in an exhibition at the Science Museum which explored how artists have engaged with early scientific photography, and the extent to which their engagement reflects social histories of science and technology.

Prompted by talks with Dame Mary Archer, who is partially responsible for the National Media Museum, about the decision to create a purely STEM based museum in the north, I think the research centre should encourage constructive institutional critique. Particularly to enable researchers to reflect on how some of the pressing socio-political and economic questions that we might pose through our research are to some extent compromised by the institutional structures in which they are raised. That we might engage in the long tradition of institutional critique not only in terms of politics elsewhere but from within the institution itself.

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