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Photography and the Languages of Reconstruction after the Second World War, 1944-49

Calendar Friday, 12 April 2019
Calendar 09:00-19:15

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Second World War photo

Research on post-war reconstruction has focused on either the rebuilding of urban centres in Europe or the construction of a new world order (as represented both by the European project and internationalist agencies such as the WHO). A global perspective, seeking to integrate the histories of Europe and the United States with those of say India, Japan, Algeria or Australia, has yet to be undertaken. This symposium offers the first concerted consideration of the transnational spaces of encounter for the establishment of post-war Europe and the disestablishment of Empire and, crucially, their refraction via photographic images.

Looking at post-conflict situations across a range of nations, we consider the contact zones where soldiers and civilians encountered one another as simultaneously physical spaces, language spaces and media spaces. The event addresses the following questions: How were photographs used to translate certain stories across languages or promote certain images about the war and the post-war moment? What questions of interference, mediation and cultural translation do the spaces of exhibition halls or the printed page throw up for the study of post-war reconstruction and its many languages? What are the tools of analysis that we can mobilize for interpreting visual materials and their multilingual contexts?

This timely project is a collaboration between scholars across the UK Europe, and Australia. Thorough understanding of the historic interaction of languages, cultures and images during this decisive turning point for the twentieth century promises greater awareness of both the opportunities afforded and the threats posed by globalizing visual cultures into the twenty-first.

The event is hosted in partnership by the Tom Hopkinson Centre for Media History (JOMEC) and the Picturing Others Research Unit (MLANG) at Cardiff University.

It is supported by grants from the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) and The Learned Society of Wales (LSW). The IMLR enables researchers to collaborate in a wide range of national and international networks and activities, to engage in innovative research and to demonstrate research value to the wider public. The LSW is Wales’ national academy, championing excellence across all academic fields, promoting research, inspiring learning, and providing independent policy advice.


Photography and the Languages of Reconstruction after the Second World War, 1944-49
Date: Friday 12 April 2019
Venue: Council Chamber, Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place, CF10 3AT

9.00-9.20: Registration in VJ Gallery (ground floor)

9.20-9.30: Introduction by Tom Allbeson (Cardiff University)

9.30-11.00: PANEL 1: Cultural Encounters: Photography and Transnational Reconstruction

Chair: David Clarke (Cardiff University)

Laure Humbert (Manchester University): Helping Displaced Persons (DPs), Exhibiting French Prestige: Photographs of French humanitarian aid for European DPs in Allied-Occupied Germany

Alex Medcalf (University of York): Reconstructing Communities & Destroying Diseases: the WHO’s Nascent Photographic Narratives

11.00-11.30: Coffee in VJ Gallery (ground floor)

11.30-1.00: PANEL 2: Bodies and Borders: Photography and Reconstructing Communities

Chair: Maria Kyriakidou (Cardiff University)

Robert Dale (Newcastle University): Picturing the Red Army’s Demobilisation: Photography,
Reconstructing Communities and Visualising the Transition from War to Peace

Rebecca Clifford (Swansea University): Between Ruin and Resilience: Photography, Psychology, and the Rehabilitation of War Orphans in Britain

1.00-2.00: Lunch in VJ Gallery (ground floor)

2:00-3.30: PANEL 3: Deconstructing Empire: Photography and Transcultural Reconstruction

Chair: Stuart Allan (Cardiff University)

Tom Allbeson and Claire Gorrara (Cardiff University): Allied Forces in the Colonies: Picturing the Anglosphere at War, 1944-6

Kevin Foster (Monash University): Purposeful Nation-Building: Visual Culture and the Pursuit of Post-war Reconstruction in Australia

3.30-4.00: Tea in VJ Gallery (ground floor)

4.00-5.30: PANEL 4: Picturing Reconstruction: Form and Art

Chair: Rachael Langford (Cardiff University)

Jan Baetens (KU Leuven): Photo-Novel Bodies

Fred Truyen (KU Leuven): Kaleidoscope: Engaging Photography from the 1950s in Europe’s Archives East and West

5.30-6.30: Round table discussion with Amanda Hopkinson (City University London), David Clarke (Cardiff University), Stuart Allan (Cardiff University).

Chair: Claire Gorrara (Cardiff University)

7.00-7.45: Vin d’honneur in the Social Staircase in the School of Journalism, Media & Culture, 2 Central Square, Cardiff CF10 1FS

View Photography and the Languages of Reconstruction after the Second World War, 1944-49 on Google Maps
Council Chamber, Cardiff University, Room 1.77
Main Building
Park Place
CF10 3AT

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