Inside Out - Symposium

28 November 2019

09:30 - 15:30

RPS House, 337 Paintworks
Arnos Vale
United Kingdom


RPS Member£3.00 
Non RPS Member£3.00 

Image: Too Many Blackamoors (#3), 2015, Heather Agyepong. (commissioned by Autograph ABP)

‘Inside Out’ Photography reclaiming identity in a complex society

Who are we? What do we believe? And what are our values?

With questionable histories to refer to and our online presence increasingly reflecting a negotiation between manufacturer and marketer rather than a meaningful identity, where does true expression of the self exist?

In a world which encourages us to rapidly adopt and shed identities, through consumption and self- publicity, to what extent can we be expected to know ourselves? If we treat these new technologies within the context of photographic tradition and practice, we may better understand how they function. Contemporary photographers often work in the space between traditional visual arts and current vernacular practices, questioning each in attempting to define meanings for themselves.

Presented here, these research led photographies explore notions of personal and social identity as a critique of the ‘now’ and an attempt to reach out and make meaningful connections with our past and future through performative and poetic personal anthropologies.


Dr Dawn Woolley is a visual artist using photography, video, installation, performance, and sound. She completed an MA in Photography (2008) and PhD by project in Fine Art (2017) at the Royal College of Art. Her practice encompasses photography, video, installation and performance. 

Woolley uses photographs of objects and people to question issues of artificiality and idealisation in relation to consumer culture and stereotypical gender representations. Her research examines the relation between people and objects, to explore how and why different objects and bodies are valued in popular and consumer culture. Her central argument is that commodity culture turns everything into adverts, from seventeenth century still-life paintings to selfies. She considers social networking sites to be the commercial space where commodity culture invades our social interactions. 

Her photographic work blurs the boundary between self-portraiture and still-life, producing inanimate bodies and seemingly animate objects. The practical outcomes of her research include photographic and installation works, but also public interventions in physical commercial advertising spaces in cities and in virtual ones on online social networking sites. 

Heather Agyepong is a visual artist, performer/actor and maker who lives and works in London. Her art practice is concerned with mental health and wellbeing, activism, invisibility, the diaspora and the archive. She uses both lens-based practices and performance with an aim to culminate a cathartic experience for both herself and the viewer.  Agyepong adopts the technique of re-imagination to engage with communities of interest and the self as a central focus within the image.

She has worked within photographic & performance arts since 2009 with a range of works that have been published, performed and exhibited around the UK and internationally.

She has been nominated for Prix Pictet & Paul Huf Award in both 2016 & 2018. Her work exists in a number of collections including Autograph ABP, Hyman Collection, New Orleans Museum of Art and Mead Art Museum.

She has been commissioned by a number of organisations including the Mayor of London, Photoworks, Artichoke & Tate Exchange.

In her television/film and theatre work, she is drawn to challenging and compelling writing with an intrigue for unique voices. She has previously been an associate artist of black led theatre company Talawa and continues to perform both nationally & internationally.

She was nominated for the South Bank Sky Arts Breakthrough Award 2018.

Michal Iwanowski
On April 27, Michal Iwanowski set off from his adopted home in Cardiff to walk back to his family home in the village of Mokrzeszów in Poland, having been haunted for several years by graffiti he spotted on a wall in his Roath neighbourhood that read “Go Home, Polish”. His dogged 1,200 mile journey, mapped out in regular Instagram photographs that merged various approaches – diaristic, documentary, staged, conceptual – was by turns funny, revealing and marked by moments of drama amid the drudgery. When I asked him if the journey changed his way of thinking about home, he replied, “It confirmed something. I feel utterly at home walking in the landscape, wherever that landscape is. I don’t need to be told by a government, ‘This is your home.’ The ground beneath my feet sanctifies my belonging in this world – not the passport given to me by a country.” Amen to that. (Best of 2018: Sean Hagan, The Guardian)

Tom Roche (Alumnus) is a photographer based in Bristol is work is rooted in Documentary, with a subjective way of thinking. He borrows from the esoteric and fiction, blurring the line between genres. He is interested in creating a narrative and raising questions on truth and authorship within the medium of photography, and storytelling in general. His most recent work Black Blood, is a body of work about his Romany Gypsy heritage; which relies on speculation and folklore, to uncover how his past has tropes that affect his current way of thinking. Formalities and records were not available to him when making the work, so the process was one of meditation and following trails on the road, with people he met, and information he found out along the way.


Emma Iris Hill (Current Student) Emma’s work to date has been focusing on using therapeutic photography as catharsis. Using predominantly self-portraiture Emma has studied the relationship of photography with memory and emotions as a form of self-reflection and progression.



Liz Williams
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Region: Bristol (HQ)