Photographies and Conflict: Archiving and Consuming Images of Strife

November 22-24, 2018

Nicosia, Cyprus

Welcome to the 5th International Conference of Photography & Theory. Registrations are currently open. Submissions close on April 30, 2018. (Extended to May 7, 2018.) To see our submission guidelines and to submit, please scroll down or click here.

Keynote Speakers

Akram Zaatari was born in 1966 in Lebanon and lives and works in Beirut. He has produced more than forty videos, a dozen books, and countless installations of photographic material, all pursuing a range of interconnected themes, subjects, and practices related to excavation, political resistance, the lives of former militants, the legacy of an exhausted left, intimacies among men, the circulation of images in times of war, and the play of tenses inherent to various letters that have been lost, found, buried, discovered, or otherwise delayed in reaching their destinations. Zaatari has played a critical role in developing the formal, intellectual, and institutional infrastructure of Beirut's contemporary art scene. He was one of a handful of young artists who emerged from the delirious but short-lived era of experimentation in Lebanon's television industry, which was radically reorganized after the country's civil war. As a co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, a groundbreaking, artist-driven organization devoted to the research and study of photography in the region, he has made invaluable and uncompromising contributions to the wider discourse on preservation and archival practice. Zaatari’s work has been featured at Documenta13 in 2012. Zaatari also did the Lebanon pavilion at the Venice biennial in 2013. His solo exhibitions include MoMA in NY, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, SALT in Istanbul, Kunsthaus Zurich, Macba in Barcelona and K21 in Dusseldorf.

Dr. Anthony Downey is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa, within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. He sits on the Editorial Board of Third Text, is the Editor-in-Chief of Ibraaz, a research platform for cultural practitioners in the Middle East, and the series editor for Visual Culture in the Middle East (Sternberg Press). Anthony has published widely on the politics of cultural production in the Middle East, art practices and human rights, civil society and collaborative art practices, postcolonial and critical theory, and new media practices. Recent and upcoming publications include Zones of Indistinction: Contemporary Art and the Cultural Logic of Late Modernity (forthcoming, Sternberg Press, 2018); Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K (Walther König Books, 2017); Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 2016); Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2015); Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes (JRP Ringier, 2015); Art and Politics Now  (Thames and Hudson, 2014); Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practice in North Africa and the Middle East (IB Tauris, 2014); and The Future of a Promise: Contemporary Art from the Arab World (Ibraaz Publishing, 2011). He is currently researching a project, in partnership with Renzo Martens and the Institute of Human Activities, on art criticism and critical practices in the art world today (forthcoming, 2019). For a full list of Dr. Downey's publications and research activities, click here.

Dr. Olga Demetriou is, as of August 2018, Associate Professor in Post Conflict Reconstruction and State Building at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. She is a social anthropologist working on minorities, conflict, gender, and migration and has authored two books: Capricious Borders:Minority, Population and Counter-Conduct Between Greece and Turkey (Berghahn, 2013) and Refugeehood and the Post-Conflict Subject: Reconsidering Minor Losses (SUNY, 2018).


As drones fly over our heads surveying our movements, it becomes evident that the fast evolving technologies of capturing images of war and violence have resulted, among other things, in an unprecedented extent of spectacles of conflict. Anaesthetised and disconcerted because of our repeated encounter with the visual representation of the ever increasing instances of strife, the potential democratic role of photographic images in addressing how we understand notions of pluralism, control, manipulation, terror and erasure gains precedence as we realize our numbness due to over-exposure. Propaganda, resistance and activism are re-narrated through a post- and yet neo-colonial frame of political intervention, control and detention by world powers, while the presence of photographic images of conflict has become firmly relocated, placed within contemporary art practice and the museum space. At the same time, due to the proliferating technologies of production, the multiplicity of photographic practices, genres, uses and migrations of photographs, we are compelled to start thinking about photographic endeavours in terms of a multitude of photographies instead of the singularity of photography.

The 2018 International Conference of Photography and Theory (ICPT 2018) interweaves the ideas of the conflictual and the archival in relation to the photographic image. The open call is shaped on the basis of three thematic strands: Archiving Photographies; Conflicts and Photographic Mediations; Photographies and Conflict as Cultural Product. Proposals for presentations should be submitted for one of the three strands and should address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Archiving Photographies

  • Contesting the archive & contested archives

  • Dissonant archives

  • Affect and the embodied archive

  • Archival activism

  • Radical photographic archives, unarchiving, de-archiving

  • The photographic archive as healing or as trauma

  • The desire to archive contested narratives

  • Propaganda and other specialized archives

  • Contested biographies of an archive

  • Archive, conflict and education

  • Archives and photographic ecosystems

  • Archiving and photographic materialities

  • Invisible photographic archives

  • Queer and queering photographic archives

  • Conflict and interdisciplinary research into photographic archives

Conflicts and Photographic Mediations

  • Technologies of surveillance photography (e.g. drone images)

  • War reporting

  • Distributing contested & contesting the distribution of photographic images

  • Forensic photographies

  • Democracy under threat, and the centrality of the photographic medium

  • Multitudes and multiplicities: smartphone photographies as shared production, consumption, knowledge

  • Whistle-blowing and photographies

  • Control and manipulation of consuming photographies of conflict

  • Erasure, appropriation and remixing

  • Terrorism / anti-terrorism through contemporary photographic imagery

  • Photographic everydayness in areas of on-going strife, socially armed conflict, violent divisions

  • Photographies of domestic, urban, gender and other social and cultural conflicts

  • Photographic mediations of conflict and education

  • Voyeurism, ethics of producing and consuming photographies of conflict

  • Regional debates on photographies and conflict


  • Photographic exhibitions of conflict
  • Curatorial practices addressing and exploring conflict through photography
  • Museums and photographies of conflict
  • Artistic processes involving or related to photographies capturing conflict and contestation
  • Exhibitions on propaganda and other politically-charged photographic practices
  • Photographies, conflict, exhibitions and education
  • Activism through contemporary photographic imagery
  • Post-colonial lives of photographies
  • Resistance through contemporary photographic imageries
  • Violence and war through contemporary photographic imageries
  • Photography and the conflict turn of contemporary art


We invite proposals for 30-minute presentations (20 minutes presentation and 10 minutes for discussion) from various disciplines, such as: photography, art history and theory, visual sociology, anthropology, museology, philosophy, ethnography, education, cultural studies, visual and media studies, communications, and fine and graphic arts. 

To propose a paper, please send:

a) A 400-word abstract with title (excluding references)

b) The full name of each author with current affiliation and full contact details (address, email, phone number and title of presentation) are, for the purposes of blind refereeing, to be sent separately with a short biographical note (200 words).

The two documents (abstract and contact details + bio) should be sent to icpt@photographyandtheory.com as Word files in English no later than April 30th, 2018. (Extended to May 7, 2018.) 

Please do not send pdf files. Also, please note that the above deadline is final.

Submitted proposals will go through a blind peer-reviewing process and authors will be notified by June 22, 2018 if their papers have been accepted. For more information and conference updates, please visit IAPT news or sign up for newsletter.

For any submission or general questions feel free to contact us

Important Dates

* Deadline for submission: April 30, 2018 (Extended to May 7, 2018)
* Notification of authors: June 22, 2018
* Deadline for early registration: October 1, 2018
* Deadline for late registration: November 10, 2018
* Conference: November 22–24, 2018

Members of the Organizing Committee (ICPT 2018)

Dr Evanthia Tselika, Chair 
University of Nicosia, Cyprus / Birkbeck University of London, UK

Despo Pasia, Chair
UCL – Institute of Education, University of London, UK

Nicolas Lambouris
Frederick University, Cyprus 

Dr Elena Stylianou
European University, Cyprus

Dr Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert
Cyprus University of Technology

Dr Yiannis Toumazis
Frederick University/ Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre and Pierides Foundation, Cyprus

Nicos Philippou
University of Nicosia, Cyprus

Artemis Eleftheriadou
Frederick University, Cyprus

Members of the Scientific Committee (ICPT2018)

Prof. Liz Wells
University of Plymouth, UK

Prof. Martha Langford
Concordia University, Canada

Prof. Pam Meecham
University of London, UK

Dr Gabriel Koureas
Birkbeck University of London, UK

Dr Sarah Tuck
Valand Academy / University of Gothenburg& Hasselblad Foundation, Sweden

Dr Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert
Cyprus University of Technology

Dr Evanthia Tselika
University of Nicosia, Cyprus / Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Despo Pasia
UCL – Institute of Education, UK

Dr Elena Stylianou
European University, Cyprus

Nicolas Lambouris
Frederick University, Cyprus