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Past Events

Photographs from Another Place - Tour and Talk

Photographs from Another Place
Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 14:00 to 16:00

Williamson Art Gallery,
Slatey Rd,
CH43 4UE

Alan Ward is a graphic designer and photographer based in Manchester. After purchasing a set of quarter plate glass plate negatives with unknown provenance, he set about a six-year project investigating and reimagining a family archive.

The quarter glass plates Alan bought from eBay were all from the same family collection; dating between 1914 and 1950. Piecing together clues from the images he was able to uncover a family history with strange parallels to his own.

‘Photographs from Another Place’ presents the archive alongside Alan’s own images, taken in response to the people and places he found through his examination of the archive.

This project is exhibited for the first time at The Williamson in Birkenhead. Join us for a tour of the exhibition and to hear Alan discussing his process of working with the archive.

This event is delivered in partnership with Redeye.

Who is it for? 
This event is for anyone with an interest in photography, social or family history. It would be particularly relevant for anyone who is working with an archive either for research or artistic purposes.

Saturday 18th January. We will gather from 2pm, and the event will take place from 2:30pm - 4pm.

This event will take place at The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Slatey Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside CH43 4UE. There is ramped access at front of building and all galleries on one level; accessible toilet available.

Free to attend, but please register your attendance so we know how many people to expect.

Collection Talk and Tour: National Science & Media Museum, Bradford

Glass-fronted building
Friday, November 29, 2019 - 13:00 to 16:00

National Science and Media Museum
Pictureville, Bradford


First in a series of events aiming to create an informal space for conversation and networking, and an opportunity to learn about national and private collections with some new skills along the way.

This event includes a tour of the photo collection stores at National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, followed by a talk by Head Curator Geoff Belknap.

Who should come?
This event is aimed at anyone working with photo collections and archives in museums, libraries and archives.

1:00 Coffee, cake and networking
1:30 Tour of Photography and Photographic Technology Collections
2:30 Talk: Geoff Belknap, NSMM Head Curator – Collecting the Boundaries of Photography: how to collect, curate and think photographs in the museum, libraries and archives
3:00 Discussion
4:00 Finish 

Post-event we invite you to join us at a local pub to continue conversations.

PCN at Museums Association Conference

Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 09:00 to Friday, October 4, 2019 - 17:00

The Photographic Collections Network will be at the Museums Association Conference on 3rd & 4th October.

You can find us on stand 10 as part of the SSN Consortium stand, we'll be there for a few hours each day if you want to arrange to meet up and find out how the Photographic Collections Network can support your Museum, Archive or Collection email or send a tweet to arrange a meeting.

PCN is part of the Subject Specialist Network, a group of SSNs who all work hard to support the UK's museums, archives and collections through advice, research and expertise. Read more about the SSN Consortium here.

Archive Visit: Historic England

25-36 Southernhay West, Exeter, Devon. 
Historic England Archive BB42/00714. 
Copyright Crown Copyright. Historic England Archive.
Photographed by Margaret Tomlinson after the Baedeker raids of spring 1942.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 13:00 to 15:30

This visit will include a look into Historic England's archive collections, followed by a tour of the purpose-built archive itself - from the vaults to the Conservation Department, through insight into collections digitisation, finishing with time for Q&A and informal networking over light refreshments.

Join us for a rare behind the scenes look at Historic England’s fascinating and extensive archive collections and to hear about their approach to conservation, care and access. In a tour and talk led by experts, we’ll take a look at some of the collections of photographs of England's buildings and historic sites held in Historic England's Archives, then explore issues around conservation, digitisation, caring for and access to this wide-ranging collection. 

This visit offers a unique opportunity to explore and discuss collections issues in a tailored tour with a small group of colleagues from across the sector. The event is aimed at people working in a professional capacity with photographic collections or archives, especially those with an interest or role in conserving and/or caring for collections.

Programme Outline
12.45 – 13.00    Registration at reception
13.00 - 15.00     Introductions; Overview of Historic England’s extensive collections; Tour of the purpose-built archive - from the vaults to the Conservation Dept; Discussion about Collections Care, Conservation and Digitisation
15.00 - 15.30     Refreshments, Q&A and informal networking

There are very limited places available for this rare behind the scenes visit - don't miss out!

Tickets £10 each (members only). Not a member yet? - join the network here for just £25 per year (£20 concessions).

Seminar: Photography Interpretation

Steve Slack and Jan Hicks selecting photographs for the seminar at SIM.

Monday, October 15, 2018 - 13:30 to 16:30

We're delighted to open our Autumn/Winter programme with this FREE event for members!

So what is interpretation? What is the role of photographic archives in exhibitions?
This workshop will feature an introduction to exhibition interpretation and explore the display and interpretation of photographic collections to the public. It is hoped that participants will come with questions about the display of photographs, but also examples of interpretation that they like (or don't like). Led by interpretation consultant Steve Slack and with the SIM Archives Team, the aim of the seminar is to explore, together*, where best practice in this area lies.
*The seminar is aimed at people working in a professional capacity with photographic collections or archives, especially those with an interest in audience engagement and the exhibition of collections.

The event runs 13:30 to 16:30 approx. Registration from 13:15.

Steve Slack is an interpretation consultant in the heritage sector, helping museums, archives and libraries to create content that is relevant to their audiences. Find out more about Steve's practice here.

The Science and Industry Museum's Archives Team will be introducing some photographs from their collections. The SIM's archives hold wide ranging material from daguerreotypes and paper negatives through GPNs and 35mm to photographic prints and digital. Browse SIM collections here.

The Photographic Collections Network Team will be on hand to help with any questions or to hear your ideas about the network.

Programme Outline
13.15 – 13.30    Registration at SIM reception
13.30 – 15.00    Introductions from PCN, Interpretation Consultant Steve Slack and SIM Archives Team; Exploring interpretation: processes, real examples of display of photographs from SIM and beyond - including discussion   and hands on exploration of selection, description, writing for audiences and different types of displays.
15.00 – 15.30    Time for tea/coffee, questions and networking
15.30 – 16.30    Interpretation planning and language

Science and Industry Museum Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP
You'll find details about directions and parking here.

The museum is suitable for visitors with disabilities. You can read more about facilities and accessibility here. Please do contact us here if you have any queries, needs or concerns.

Not a member yet? Join here to attend this event for free and become a member of the Photographic Collections Network. Benefits includ members' newsletters, access to our members' advice forum, specialist blogs, specialist toolkits, opportunities and events - and you'll be supporting our work to research, help save, share and advocate for UK photographic archives and collections.

Collection Visit and Talk: Catalyst Science and Discovery Centre

Packaging caustic soda in tins at Mond House of Greenbanks in Widnes.

Making packaging for tins of caustic soda at Mond House of Greenbanks in Widnes. Photo: courtesy of Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:30 to 14:00

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre
Mersey Road,

We are pleased to welcome members and non-members working with UK photographic collections and archives to a special visit exploring the chemical industry through photographs and the impact of chemistry on our collections. We're delighted that we will be joined for a talk and Q&A by Howard Hopwood, Trustee of Catalyst and former HARMAN Chairman and New Business Director.

This morning visit will combine an inside look at Catalyst Science Discovery Centre’s photographic archives and how Catalyst is engaging visitors with photographs, with discussion around the challenges that degradation poses to collections across the UK and beyond. Our visit will explore how photographs support Catalyst’s approach to exploring the science and technology behind the chemical industry and its impact on lives past and present. 

We will experience how the museum’s photographic collection and its new Panoramic Halton tablets have been integrated with hands-on exhibits and the local environment in the observatory (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund). Then we will hear from Howard Hopwood about the black and white chemistry in your archives and collections. There'll be a rare opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues like dealing chemical problems, faulty processing and contamination of prints of old negatives and prints.

The visit will end with an informal networking lunch for delegates in the café. Lunch is included in the ticket price and will consist of a mix of soup, sandwiches and quiche with vegetarian diets catered for (*if you've booked your place, please do email if you have any dietary requirements).

10.30 - registration & refreshments (at the cafe)
10.45 - introductions from PCN and Catalyst
11.15 - archive collection highlights and observatory tour
12.15 - presentation & Q+A with Howard Hopwood
13.00 - lunch and informal networking 
14.00 - close

Catalyst has a large, free car park

Places for PCN members are priced at £10, with tickets for non-members priced at £15. Ticket prices include refreshments and a contribution to the work of the museum. Places are extremely limited - so please book quickly to avoid disappointment!

Credit for image below: exterior of Catalyst Science Discovery Centre (Mersey Road, Widnes, Cheshire, WA8 0DF), courtesy of Catalyst Science Discovery Centre.

Reflections On A Glass Plate: Photography and Archive Centre Symposium

Glass plate photography silhouette

Photo credit: Sutton Archives

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 14:00 to 18:30

The Main Lecture Theatre (A)
London College of Communication
Elephant & Castle 
London SE1 6SB

Thursday 17 May, 2018 14.00-17.30, followed by networking event from 17.30-18.30

Glass plate negatives are found in many collections in museums, libraries and archives. This half day event is aimed at heritage professionals or anyone with responsibility for these collections, who are looking to undertake projects with these materials for the first time. The event will offer introductions into the history of the format, its care and conservation, and will present case studies which demonstrate approaches to digitisation, cataloguing, outreach and interpretation. As such It will also be accessible and open to students and other practitioners.

The event is a collaboration between The UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC), The Past on Glass Project at Sutton Archives, The Edward Reeves Archive Project and The Photographic Collections Network. 
The event runs 14.00 to 17.30 approx. Doors open at 13:50. 
Coffee & tea will be provided.

Nearest Tube is Elephant and Castle on the Northern and the Bakerloo underground lines as well as National Rail. The entrance (with signs for UAL) is across the road from the tube station.

Programme Outline
14.00 – 14.10    Welcome and introductions - Professor Val Williams
14.10 – 14.40    Colin Harding - The History of The Victorian Studio
14.40 – 15.00    Debbie Cooper - Working with Contemporary Glass Plates
15.00 – 15.20    Abby Matthews - The Past on Glass; what makes a successful funding bid?
15.20 – 15.40    Kathryn Tollervey - Digitisation of Glass Plates and Ledgers of the Edward Reeves Archive
15.40 – 16.10    Tea/Coffee Break
16.10 – 16.30    Sarah Allen and Emma Bonson - 'A Pain in the Glass' - Conservation Problems and Solutions
16.30 – 16.50    Anna Sparham - Curating the Christina Broom Exhibition 
16.50 – 17.10    Brigitte Lardinois - The Outreach Programme of the Edward Reeves project
17.10 – 17.30    Q&A led by Brigitte Lardinois
Please stay on for networking drinks at PARC from 17.30 – 18.30

Tickets are FREE but must be booked in advance. The event is open to all.
NB If you are not a PCN website subscriber, CLICK HERE to book your ticket (no signup required).

Please note: After booking, you will be sent an e-ticket for this event.  Please print or save a copy of this e-ticket to your phone, as you will need this to gain entry to the college.

ALREADY BOOKED but can't find your e-ticket? - please check your spam/junk folder incase your booking confirmation has landed there. 

Photo credits below: Sutton Archives; Edward Reeves Photography

Seminar: Care of Photographs (2nd date)

Friday, April 27, 2018 - 10:00 to 16:45

The Learning Zone, Wakefield Museums, One, Burton Street, Wakefield, WF1 2EB

This day-long seminar with esteemed photography conservator Susie Clark will cover the history and identification of photographic processes and techniques, common preservation problems and solutions. Held in collaboration with the Social History Curators Group.

Photographs are found in many collections in museums, libraries and archives. Their care requires an understanding of the nature of different photographic processes and their requirements. This one day course is aimed at those with responsibility for the care of photographic collections. It provides an introduction to the nature and identification of photographic processes and an understanding of their associated conservation issues and solutions. It will also cover the preservation measures which need to be taken to ensure the collections remain in good condition in the future.

Susie Clark ACR is an ICON accredited conservator and consultant, specialising in the conservation of photographs. After qualifying in paper conservation from Camberwell School of Art and Craft, she was the conservator for the BBC Hulton Picture Library. She has been a freelance conservator since 1990, working primarily for institutions, both in this country and abroad. In 1996, she was the recipient of the Museums and Galleries Commission Conservation Award for Research and Innovation.

The event runs 10:00 to 16:45 approx. Museum doors open at 09:00. Registration from 09:45.
NB Lunch is not provided – the Museum has a café, and we can also point you to places nearby.

Programme Outline
09.45 – 10.00    Registration
10.00 – 10.15    Welcome and introductions
10.15 – 11.45    History and identification of photographic processes
11.45 – 12.00    Break
12.00 – 13.00    Conservation problems and solutions
13.00 – 14.00    Lunch break
14.00 – 15.00    Conservation problems and solutions
15.00 – 15.15    Tea
15.15 – 16.30    Preservation measures
16.30 - 16.45     Close

Tickets will cost £20 and can only be booked by members of the PCN.

*This second date is now FULLY BOOKED. Please contact if you're interested in being added to the waitlist (please note you might be contacted at the last minute if cancellation should free up a space) or if you have booked a place and have any questions.*

Archive Visit: Martin Parr Foundation visit

Martin Parr; photo by Paul Herrmann

Martin Parr at the Foundation; photo by Paul Herrmann

Monday, April 23, 2018 - 14:00 to 17:00

Is it possible that Martin Parr has the best organised archive of any photographer?
The Martin Parr Foundation houses his complete archive going back 45 years, and every digital work is catalogued, keyworded, captioned – and printed. The Foundation also houses works by selected British and Irish photographers as well as images taken in the British Isles by international photographers, and an expanding library of British and Irish photobooks.

Come and spend an afternoon with Martin Parr and his colleagues at the Foundation to find out how it works and discuss their approach. 

Address: Martin Parr Foundation, 316 Paintworks, Bristol BS4 3AR. Full details including accessibility, travel and parking here.

Outline Schedule
13.45 – 14.00       Registration
14.00 – 14.30       Welcome and introductions (PCN and MP Foundation)
14.30 – 15.30       A look at the Foundation highlighting its work with archives
15.30 – 15.45       Break (including some refreshments)
15.45 – 16.30       A look at the Foundation’s workflow and Martin Parr’s archive
16.30 – 17.00       Q & A, close

Tickets cost £20 * per person and are for members of the Photographic Collections Network only. Numbers are limited to a small group.
* Half of the price of your ticket will go as a contribution towards the Foundation to support its work.

-> Attendees please note:
    - registration will take place from 13.45 - 14.00 (the Foundation is closed to the public on Mondays, but someone will let you in and sign you in)
    - some on the day details you might find helpful will be mailed out by Saturday 21st April

Collections Visit: Wilson Centre for Photography

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 14:00 to 16:00

Wilson Centre for Photography, London (accessible by Tube).


This event has now passed, Please note that the Photographic Collections Network is unable to answer queries on behalf of the Wilson Centre for Photography.


Join us for an afternoon visit to the Wilson Centre for Photography, a private archive and collection for research on the history, aesthetics and preservation of photographs. The collection began in 1978, and now includes comprehensive holdings of nineteenth-century photographs and albums with a strong representation of major twentieth-century practitioners. Contemporary material is an expanding area of acquisition.

This event is aimed specifically at photographic collection and archive professionals. Tickets are £10 per person and are for members of the Photographic Collections Network only. Numbers are strictly limited.

Please note that bookings will close at 09:00 on Tuesday, 27 February 2018, and those with confirmed bookings will be notified of the exact location (in London) shortly after that.

**THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT: but don't worry if you missed out, we've got lots of 2018 members' events in the pipeline! Have you seen our Martin Parr Foundation Archive Visit coming up on 23 April? - one not to be missed.


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