Founded by local photojournalist, Robin Laurance, Photo Oxford was established to bring internationally acclaimed photography and photographic debate to the city of Oxford. Photo Oxford hosts exhibitions, events and professional development opportunities in collaboration with local, national and international partners to bring photographic excellence to the region, develop new audiences, nurture talent, and promote investment within the sector.

Photo Oxford delivered month-long festivals in October/November 2020 and 2021 on the theme of Women and Photography – Ways of Seeing and Being Seen. The 2021 festival continued the programme that could not be fully presented in 2020 due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Future festivals will be biennial.

Photo Oxford is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (registration no. 1154142).

Previous Festival Themes:

2014: What good is Photography?
2017: Conceal/Reveal
2020 & 2021: Women & Photography: Ways of Seeing & Being Seen

Hands and Feet  by Helen Muspratt
Hands and Feet © Helen Muspratt ca. 1932


2020 coincided with the centenary of the first woman matriculating and graduating from the University of Oxford. What better time and place could there be for celebrating women and their diverse roles in international photography?

The 2020 and 2021 Photo Oxford Festivals are a celebration of women as photographers, critics, editors and photographic subjects.

While photography, like many of the creative arts, is perceived to be a male-dominated field, history shows that even in the late 19th century, women of the upper and middle classes experimented with the medium as a tool of documentation as well as artistic self-expression. At the same time photographic studios employed working-class women to assist in a variety of work. When photography became widely accessible in the 20th century, women increasingly participated in the creation of photographs: in front of the lens as well as behind it.

What themes are women photographers addressing from behind the camera? To what extent have muses become collaborators in the creation of their photographic image? Do selfies show more than self-generated objects of display? Our festival seeks to draw attention to diverse viewpoints, relationships, and concerns that inform today's photographic culture.