Memorial lecture and symposium to showcase female photography

Thursday 1 June 2023

Lissa Mitchell from Te Papa Tongarewa will be presenting the annual Peter Turner Memorial Lecture, with a symposium to follow that focuses on female contemporary photographic practice.

Amy Couper in the Cosmos, Pelorus Bridge, Marlborough, 1915, by Winifred Couper. Marlborough Museum and Archives.

Each year, Whiti o Rehua School of Art, in partnership with Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, brings an internationally significant photographic historian, theorist or artist to Wellington to deliver the Peter Turner Memorial Lecture.

This year the speaker will be Te Papa Curator of Historical Photography Lissa Mitchell, who will give the lecture on Thursday 8 June at the Soundings Theatre inside the museum.

Whiti o Rehua will also be running a related symposium on Saturday 10 June.

Ms Mitchell is an art historian whose main research is photography of the colonial period and how it relates to the present day. Her lecture coincides with the publishing of her new book Through Shaded Glass, which details photography by women in Aotearoa New Zealand from 1860-1960 and serves as an important re-writing of the history of photography in this country.

Lissa Mitchell.

Ms Mitchell’s primary research has uncovered previously unknown photographers and centres photography by Māori and non-binary practitioners. She has published several other books, including An Alternative History of Photography (Prestel, 2022), New Zealand Art at Te Papa (Te Papa Press, 2018). She is a recipient of a Historical Photographic Research Award from the Peter E Palmquist Memorial Fund (USA) and a History Award from the New Zealand History Research Trust Fund.

Following on from the lecture, a symposium will be held on 10 June which will shift the focus to contemporary photographic practice by women, irawhiti takatāpui, people who are non-binary and on the trans or genderqueer spectrum in Aotearoa.

Event organiser Senior Lecturer Caroline McQuarrie says, “We are bringing together a diverse collection of people from throughout the country to discuss what is happening in current photographic practice, and what future we would like to share. We encourage everyone to come and join the conversation.”

Lecture: Thursday 8 June – 7pm, doors open 6.45pm. Soundings Theatre, Te Papa Tongarewa

Symposium: Saturday 10 June 10.30am – 4.30pm. Te Papa Tongarewa.

To register for the lecture and symposium, click here.

The Hill family bach at Cape Kidnappers, 1900s, by Nina Hill. Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi.

About the Peter Turner Lecture

The Peter Turner Lecture was established in memory of the late Peter Turner who was a photographic historian, curator, author, editor, publisher and teacher.

He championed photography as an art form and contributed to public knowledge and understanding of the medium through public lectures and exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand photography.

Associated with the memorial lecture is a master’s scholarship in his name in documentary photography. One scholarship is awarded each year to an exceptional candidate wishing to advance their photographic work through a period of postgraduate study.

The scholarship and memorial lecture series were launched in 2008 and are supported by a Massey University Foundation funds appeal.

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