Grant: International Opportunities Fund (SSHRC)

Social Science and Humanities Research Council, 2007-09

This was a two-year SSHRC-funded collaborative grant designed to link the members of the Toronto Photography Seminar with scholars outside of Canada. The focus of the grant was on “Affect and Photojournalism,” and resulted in eleven single-authored articles; one guest-edited special issue; an international conference; and two co-edited books.

Our grant brought together, as team members, eighteen scholars from five countries whose research concerns the history and theory of photographic media. Our research focus during the grant period concerned the relationship between photography and affect, especially in relationship to the mass-produced and mass-circulated visual images central to 20th and 21st century photojournalism. Our goals including strengthening ties between our research cluster and similar networks in the U.S. and the U.K.

The SSHRC International Opportunities Fund allowed us to meet as a research team, monthly, over the course of two years to research, write and publish at least eleven single-authored articles; one guest-edited special issue (“Affecting Photographies,” Photography and Culture, November 2009); and two co-edited books, including Feeling Photography, currently under contract with Duke University Press (in addition to numerous conference presentations). We also were able to bring in 5 distinguished scholars from the U.S., the U.K., and France; each scholar workshopped research in progress at our seminar, and also gave a free public lecture in the GTA (Peggy Phelan, Stanford, spoke at York U; Clement Cheroux, Pompidou Centre, spoke at Ryerson; Mark Haworth Booth, V+A Museum, London, spoke at the Art Gallery of Ontario; and both Roberto Tejada (U Texas) and Laura Wexler (Yale) spoke at the University of Toronto. In addition, we organized a major international conference on this theme, which took place in the Fall of 2009 at the University of Toronto. We also used the funds to network with cognate photography clusters. We met with members of the Developing Room (Rutgers) in Toronto and in NYC; one delegate from our group met with the organizers of the Yale-based Photographic Memory Workshop; two members met with Val Williams, the director of the Photography and the Archive Research Cluster (London, England); and  two team members met with colleagues at the Durham, UK-based Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies (where one of our members also presented her research as an invited speaker). These networking meetings have resulted in our decision to pursue a larger-scale collaboration with the International Centre for Photography (NYC), the Rutgers Developing Room scholars, and the Durham, UK colleagues on the theme of “photography, affect, and politics.” This goal was realized in 2011 when we received a three-year SSHRC Partnership Development Grant.