Photographic History research student to present new research on Hungarian visual history at international conference

Research by a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) postgraduate into an emerging field of photographic history will be delivered to experts from all over the world.

Catherine Troiano has been invited to deliver a paper at the Shaping Identities: Challenging Borders conference, being held at the Institute of Art History in Prague’s Czech Academy of Sciences.

Dr Gil Pasternak (left) with Catherine Troiano

A follow up to the highly successful international conference Discovering “Peripheries”: Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe, which was held by Warsaw’s Polish Academy of Sciences in 2016, the conference in Prague will continue to elaborate the study of photography in Central and Eastern Europe.

Scholars from around the world as well as museum curators and art gallery professionals will examine how photography has been used to construct, reflect and record the history of former communist and other countries in these regions.

Catherine, who is studying alongside her job at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, said: "In my paper I will address the idea of ‘national’ photography in Hungary since the late 1980s.

"I will analyse a series of exhibitions in order to understand how definitions of ‘national’ photography change based on context and circumstance. I hope to shed light on how photography and politics intersect in Hungarian cultural institutions, whilst contributing to an under-researched area of scholarship. Despite interest in earlier Hungarian photographers, contemporary photography from Hungary remains largely unexplored.”

Dr Gil Pasternak, Catherine’s supervisor in DMU’s Photographic History Research Centre and one of the contributors to the organisation of the 2016 and 2017 conferences adds:

"The study of photography in Central and Eastern Europe is a relatively new area for photo historians. We have some understanding of dominant artistic and propagandistic photography from these parts of the continent. But scholars are now keen to understand the role photography has played in private and collective experiences of the regions’ turbulent histories, and analyse the impact photographs have made on people’s everyday life, whether in the course of war or during peace.

"Catherine’s conference paper is one rich example of research that helps us tap into the sociocultural implications of Central and Eastern European political histories."

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Catherine joined DMU’s world-renowned Photographic History Research Centre in 2016. Undertaking innovative research on photography and its practices from the early 19th century to the present day, the Centre attracts scholars and practitioners from a range of fields including history, anthropology and cultural studies. 

Catherine said: "My research more broadly addresses photographic societies, competitions and regional institutions in Hungary. I hope to build a picture, through both state-funded and independent activities, of how photography is adopted in the construction of a Hungarian national and cultural identity. The conference in Prague provides a great opportunity to discuss my work and other regional photographic histories with many academics in the field."

DMU is contributing to the success of the conference alongside the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Humboldt University in Berlin, Liber pro Arte Society in Warsaw, and Photoinstitute Bonartes in Vienna.

Posted on Friday 28th April 2017

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