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Instagram: Home of the Selfie

5 February 2020

Is the social media platform changing the face of contemporary art and portraiture?

Instagram is a place we share our lives and peek into the lives of others—from friends and family to celebrities and influencers.

But how is this billion-dollar company changing the face of contemporary portraiture?

What does it mean to encounter photographs as part of Instagram’s endless feed?

Art historians, media scholars and visual artists will be in conversation at Instagram: A Symposium at the National Museum Cardiff on 29 February. The symposium is the latest initiative from Image Works: Research and Practice in Visual Culture, a new research group and public engagement platform run by the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University.

Convenor of Image Works, Dr Alix Beeston, said:

‘I’m excited to bring together a host of experts on digital culture to discuss Instagram as an important forum for self-representation and expression in contemporary life. We’re going to focus especially on selfies and how they sit within a longer tradition of photographic portraiture. We’ll also get to hear from artists in South Wales and beyond—people who’ve used the platform in innovative ways to support or extend their practice.’

Speakers include Huw Alden Davies (artist), Dr Alix Beeston (Cardiff University), Federica Chiochetti (Photocaptionist), Dr Bronwen Colquhoun (National Museum Wales),  Professor Alexandra Georgakopoulou (King’s College London), Michal Iwanowski (artist), Celia Jackson (University of South Wales), Dr Alexandra Kingston-Reese (University of York) and Dr Cadence Kinsey (University College London).

Instagram: A Symposium coincides with the National Museum Cardiff’s Photography Season and the final weekend of Artist Rooms: August Sander, an exhibition of some of the most important portraiture in the medium’s history.

Symposium tickets (£5) include a guided tour of the exhibition, allowing participants to reflect on how digital culture connects to the history of photography—inside and outside of the gallery. Welsh-language facilitation is available by contacting the Museum in advance.

#InstagramSymposium is presented by Image Works in partnership with the National Museum Cardiff and sponsored by Cardiff University.

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