MPhil/ PhD

Danny Aldred
Matt Johnston
Delphine Bedel

bookRoom supports teaching and research across the School of Fine Art, Photography and Visual Communication with some collaborations with the School of Film, Media & Performing Arts. 

bookRoom welcomes application for practice-based research degrees or PhD by publication on the following themes:

Photography and the book –  Contemporary dialogue between electronic and print culture – Political and social history of independent publishing and artist books – The interplay between the book and other time based medium; photography, writing, moving images, music, performance art – Postdigital interaction.

Past and current PhD projects affiliated to bookRoom

Emma Lambert   (Phd by practice)

Book as social space: the contemporary photobook at the intersection of independent publishing and social art practice ( working title) started in October 2020, supervised by Emmanuelle Waeckerlé and Jeremiah Ambrose.

Emma is a photographer , artit book maker and lecturer at Coventry University. Her research interests revolve around the role of photography in the representation of place, the home and the ‘local’, collaborative art projects and the processes involved in developing, constructing and disseminating photobooks. For her PhD research, she proposes to interrogate the role and purpose of both independent photo publishing and social art/collaborative practice in order to examine the tensions and relationships between them. She has launched her imprint Silvergrass Press in 2021.

Matt Johnston  (PhD by thesis)

PHOTO / BOOK / CLUB; Connections (made and missed, digital and other) between the photobook and its reader (2004-2018) started October 2015, completed May 2019, supervised by Emmanuelle Waeckerlé and Jean Wainwright

In the post-millennium period, the photobook has become a central form for the presentation and dissemination of photographic works by contemporary practitioners. As interest in the medium has increased rapidly, so too have the communities, dedicated events, platforms and competitions which shape the photobook world. Yet there is little critical discourse accompanying this new age of the photobook, and where consideration of the medium exists, it tends towards maker-centric or art-historical discourse. In response, and in a continuation of The Photobook Club project, this research sets out to critically interrogate the space between the photobook and its readers — a gap in existing scholarship. As a result of the research undertaken and findings articulated, this thesis represents the first critical consideration of the photobook in the postdigital age and as such is a necessary body of research which has responded to, and will inform, the medium in the 21st century. (abstract)

Photobooks & : A critical companion to the contemporary medium, based on Matt Johnston research was published in October 2021 by Onomatopee.

Matt is a UK based photographer, educator (Assistant Professor in photography at Coventry University), researcher and founder of The Photobook Club. 

The Photobook club, created in 2011 as a space for conversations around the photobook, has developed into an international network generating events, publications and critical discussions, bringing together a variety of voices connected with the photobook with those who are new to the format. To date there are over 45 clubs around the world from Auckland to Bangalore connected by a series of postal projects spanning over 50,000 miles.

Manuel Vason  (PhD by publication)

The PhotoPerformer – The Performance of Photography as an act of precarious interdependency (2019) started February 2017, completed February 2019, supervised by Emmanuelle Waeckerlé and Jean Wainwright

This PhD by Publication explores Manuel Vason’s art practice at the intersections of photography and performance culminating in his development of the PhotoPerformer. Vason formulates the interdependency between the two art forms as a reflexive collaboration with the Other and as an evolving methodology which leads to a collaborative transformation of photography through performance. Vason questions the fixity of photography – symbolized by ‘the frame’ – as an ideological dispositive of power and control that distances subject and object and enforces a unique, absolute and finished perspective. Considering photography in relationship to performance allows him to comprehend the medium through theories of differentiation. (abstract)

Manuel is a photographer and artist interested in ” the correspondence between the art of photographing and the art of performing” that have come together in his concept and practice of the photoperformer.  ” Through this phd by publication he wished to add a significant contribution to the existent discourse around the complex relationship between Photography and Performance Art, aspiring to free Photography from the weight of the photograph and free Performance Art from its dependency on the trace. “

Delphine Bedel   PhD by practice

/ COUNTERIMAGE: WOMEN IN PHOTOBOOKS    – on becoming a feminist publisher (working title) started October 2015, transferred from Leiden University, interrupted 2018, supervised by Emmanuelle Waeckerlé and James Trafford

Although the history of photography and the history of photo and artists’ books is widely documented, collected, exhibited, and discussed, there is not a single publication dedicated to the history of women artists’ and photo books. 2017 was the Year of Feminism: the Women’s March brought millions of women on the streets around the world, its emblem–a hand-stricken pink ‘Pussy Hat’–made the cover of majors magazines, and on social media, the hashtags #MeToo, #NotSurprised, #IWontKeepQuiet and #TimesUp took the world by storm. This research aims to retrace, from a critical and feminist perspective, a different legacy of women photographers, to unravel some of the mechanisms that made this erasure possible and to highlight their contribution to the field. ‘Feminist publishing’, seems to barely exist in the photobook world. Maybe the real question is, in 2018, how to become a feminist publisher? And how to bring forward a new wave of active yet unspoken feminism / feminist practices? We need counter-images and counter narratives.

Delphine is a photographer, curator and publisher, specialised in emerging practices in photography, art and publishing. Founder of Meta/Books and Amsterdam Art/Book Fair. She is currently MA Thesis Supervisor at Dirty Art Department – Sandberg Instituut. Her work is exhibited internationally. She regularly contributes to books and magazines and international conferences. Delphine is also a food blogger under the name Rawfoodista.

Danny Aldred PhD by practice 

  / Self-publishing as a mode of disruptionfrom the Avant-Garde to the Post Digital (working title) started October 2014,  interrupted 2017, supervised by Emmanuelle Waeckerlé and James Trafford

History has told us that self-publishing can be an agent for persuasion, an intervention, and a form of disruption, it can be politically motivated and deliver a counter-institutional alternative. The artist book is seen as the central form of 20thcentury self-publishing that disturbs existing practices, embodies thematic or aesthetic concerns and amplifies a message or story. But what can the artist book communicate today when we are submerged within culture of publishing? Can self-publishing still be radical and disruptive? Disruption is always wedded to some form of political and social background; this context is central in understanding what the disruption is and how and why it is amplified through publishing. This research explores the socio-economic context and socio-historical situations to see how disruption is manifested, the forms it takes, the modes of dissemination and communication, in turn allowing for a detailed study of the aesthetics and understanding of how and why it looks a certain way.

Danny is a visual artist and graphic designer. He teaches graphic arts at Winchester School of Art. His practice centres on publishing as creative practice with a focus on artist book projects. His work has been chosen for numerous international exhibitions and publishing projects within the UK, Germany and the USA.