View our exhibitions that were hosted outdoors in 2020

View our exhibitions that were hosted online in 2020

Evgenia Arbugaeva, Untitled 87, from the series ‘Chukotka’, 2019–2020. © Evgenia Arbugaeva

Stories from the Russian Arctic by Evgenia Arbugaeva

In collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery, this online exhibition presents new work by Russian photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva, whose major ongoing project explores life in northern outposts of the Russian Arctic. Alongside selections from three recently completed series and her earlier project ‘Weather Man’, currently the subject of her first major solo exhibition in London, Arbugaeva describes her working methods and discusses the emotional resonance of returning to the place where she grew up.

Helen Muspratt Photographer

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library
See the Bodleian site for a link to a film about the exhibition

The pioneering photographer, Helen Muspratt (1907–2001) produced some of the most astonishing images of the twentieth century.

This exhibition explores an extraordinary body of work in many different styles and genres from experimental photography using techniques such as solarisation, to social documentary and studio portraiture.

In the late 1930s Muspratt opened a studio in Oxford where she became established as a remarkable portrait photographer. Critical to all her work was her preoccupation with the face – its ‘shape and angle’ – and she became an eminent portrait photographer recording some of the leading figures of the twentieth century.

Read more about the exhibition and visiting the Weston Library on the Bodleian website.

Read about our collaboration with the Bodleian and City of Oxford College engaging photography and media students in the exhibition and their own photography. 

Tess Mayor, solarised portrait, 1933 © Helen Muspratt
Alegra Ally, Nenets mother and child dressed for the cold, 2016. © Alegra Ally

Alegra Ally: Into Motherhood

This online exhibition presents a selection of photographs by anthropologist Alegra Ally, whose work explores the themes of childbirth and motherhood in indigenous cultures across three continents. Ally describes the background and context for several of her recent projects, alongside portfolios of photographic work from Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Russia.

Mariko Sakaguchi: One Hundred Views of Bathing

This online exhibition presents a series of photographs by Japanese photographer Mariko Sakaguchi, whose current project ‘One Hundred Views of Bathing’ offers a distinctive perspective on self-expression and identity.

Mariko Sakaguchi, Nakata’s house, from the series ‘One Hundred Views of Bathing’, 2010. © Mariko Sakaguchi
Sethembile Msezane: Speaking Through Walls

Festival in a Box

Photo Oxford collaborated with Photoworks on presentation of Silvia Rosi's Encounters series for our 2020 festival.  Photoworks presented their own photography festival during October 2020 Propositions for Alternative Narratives. Their response to the pandemic was to create a Festival in a Box  – a portable festival where you become the curator and decide where and how to install it.

We asked Sarah Mossop, Visual Arts Programme Manager at Photo Oxford Partner Arts at The Old Fire Station, to curate the Festival in a Box for our festival theme. 

Silvia Rosi: Encounters

OUTDOORS: Jesus College Northgate Development hoardings, Cornmarket Street, next to WH Smith (former photography studio of Helen Muspratt) - no longer availbale to view outdoors but see below for online images

Self Portrait as my Father

In this image, the artist Silvia Rosi acts out the role of her father in her London studio. “It was created in response to conversations with my mother about her and my father’s experience of migrating to Italy,” Rosi, who has never met her father, explains. “All the information gathered to create the image comes from my mother’s perspective—he came from a good family. He was an educated man and moved to Italy with the ambition to find a good occupation and finish his studies. After a year my mother followed him to Italy and found that he was picking tomatoes in a field for a few cents a box. Regardless of his condition he would always wear a suit.” All of the details in the image represent this personal history: the books on the head allude to his education, and the suit a reference to her mother’s memory. The tomatoes, Rosi says, are symbolic of his status as a migrant. A text under the image details his biography further.

The work is part of a series of works commissioned by Jerwood Arts and Photoworks, as part of the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020.

Exhibited for Photo Oxford 2020 in collaboration with Photoworks and supported by Jesus College, Oxford and Oxford City Council Culture Fund.

An interview with the artist is here.

See more images from the Enounters series & read more about Silvia Rosi here!

2016, Studio Portrait
self portrait of me as my father
Self Portrait as My Father (2019) © Silvia Rosi, Originally commissioned through Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020

OVADA - Open Call Exhibition

40 images from our Open Call competition, selected by our panel of experts and by public vote on Photocrowd, exploring the theme 'Women & Photography: Ways of Seeing & Being Seen.'

Our panel of experts were:
Cornelia Parker, internationally acclaimed artist; Dr Lena Fritsch, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford; Katy Barron, Photography Curator and Senior Director, Michael Hoppen Gallery; Taous Dahmani, PhD Fellow, The Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris; Alan Capel, Head of Content, Alamy stock photography agency; and Sian Davey, Fine Art Photographer and Humanist Psychotherapist.

This image is entitled 'Christelle ' from the 'National Narrative' series by Elisa Moris Vai, the winner in the Expert Judge's category.
View a short film about her series here 

Iris Sibirica; Anna Atkins (British, 1799 - 1871), and Anne Dixon (British, 1799 - 1877); 1854; Cyanotype; 25.4 × 19.8 cm (10 × 7 13/16 in.); 84.XP.467.5; No Copyright - United States (http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/)
© Atkins Dixon Iris

Anna Atkins: Botanical Illustration & Photographic Innovation

Trinity College gate, Parks Road, Oxford

Anna Atkins, an English botanist, is renowned for her remarkable compendium, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, which she privately published in approximately twelve instalments between 1843 and 1853.

The photography of Anna Atkins is celebrated for its beauty and innovation, and is found in many of the world’s major museums, including the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.

Read more about Anna Atkins here.

Online 'in conversation' between Geoff Batchen, Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford, and Dr Lena Fritsc, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ashmolean Museum, on 10 November at 5pm - listen again here.

This event is supported by TORCH as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones of the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.

St Swithun's Cyanotypes

Following in the footsteps of Anna Atkins, St Swithun's Primary School in Kennington, took part in outreach sessions delivered, in collaboration with Fusion Arts and photographer John Blythe, by Vicky McGuinness through TORCH (University of Oxford) as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme.

Clarence Sinclair Bull, Ruth Harriet Louise photographing Joan Crawford, 1928. © John Kobal Foundation

Ruth Harriet Louise:
Hollywood Photographer for MGM

In collaboration with the John Kobal Foundation, this online exhibition presents a selection of stunning photographs by Ruth Harriet Louise, photographer for the MGM film studio in Hollywood during the late 1920s. During an intense but ultimately short-lived career, Louise photographed many of the studio’s greatest stars of the era, including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies and Norma Shearer. Organiser Philip Grover introduces the material, while leading scholar of Hollywood photography Robert Dance offers a newly commissioned essay on the life and career of Louise, alongside photographs demonstrating the diverse range of her work.

The New Woman:
Elena Gallina

The Jam Factory, Hollybush Row, OX1 1HU
Exhibition now closed

What role does beauty play- Is it a strength or a weakness, a source of power or means of exploitation? How do women perceive their own beauty? This exhibition, a collection of portraits and quotes from Afghan women and girls invites the viewer to explore these questions through their stories.

The project was undertaken in 2019 in an effort to demystify "the Afghan woman" and give space for a conversation on the universal  complications of beauty. 

© Elena Gallina

Read more about The New Woman

Amidst one of the worst summers for civilian casualties in Afghanistan’s history (2019), Elena Gallina flew to Kabul to photograph and interview dozens of women about the role beauty plays in their lives: is it a strength or weakness, a source of power or a means of exploitation?

‘’I chose to photograph and speak to Afghan women because they, far too often in the last two decades, have been tokenized, victimized, and painted in only one light by the international community. Yes, they are on the frontlines. But they are neither victims nor heroes, they are simply women like all the rest, crying out to create a new kingdom.’’ – Gallina

The exhibition, unstaged portraits and ponderings, invites viewers to suspend prior conceptions of “women in war zones” and enter into a complicated, universally applicable, conversation about the dualities of beauty.

Elena has been researching violence against women for many years. Having grown up in Kosovo in the aftermath of the genocide and worked in refugee camps across the Middle East since she was 17, her understanding of the complications of beauty and exploitation are deeply personal. Motivated by her own experience and those who have inspired her, her photography captures the double standards put upon women and elevates the nuances of their experience. She is currently a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford studying the historic links between women’s empowerment and physical fitness.

This exhibition is supported by The King's Hall Trust for the Arts and MING Studios
View of the artist's studio, 2020.
Image courtesy Mariana Castillo Deball

Mariana Castillo Deball: Between making and knowing something

Modern Art Oxford

ONLINE: View the exhibition here

Curated by Amy Budd

This major new commission by Mexican contemporary artist Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975 in Mexico City, lives and works in Berlin) fundamentally questions methods of knowledge formation in Western museum collections. Featuring an expansive aerial installation, archival photographs and repurposed museum display cases, the exhibition uncovers hidden stories and individuals, with a particular focus on artefacts and historic photographic collections by or women anthropologists, fieldworkers and academics held in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Smithsonian Museum National Collections in Washington D.C. Images from the Elsie McDougall and Makereti collections held by The Pitt Rivers Museum, which provided inspiration for the new work, will also be on display.

More information about the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Elsie McDougall collection is available here.

This connects also with the Pitt Rivers Museum’s 2018 exhibition Intrepid Women: Fieldwork in Action, 1910-1957:
Visit the Pitt Rivers website

‘A Dangerous Field’: Women, Artists and the Photographic Image


MAS (Magdalen Art Space)
Magdalen Road Studios, 74 Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RE

View the online film exhibition here

Artists weave photography into their practice in surprising and innovative ways. ‘A Dangerous Field’: Women, Artists and the Photographic Image demonstrates the use of photography whether to explore or subvert the ‘field’, or to record and research their subject as artists engage in the examination of their practices. Diverse work includes prints, film, drawing, artist’s books, collage and performance.

The collection of works for Photo Oxford focuses on the diverse use of photography in artistic practice. It showcases the work of 12 artists based in and around Oxford:

Claudia Figueiredo, Helen Ganly, Kate Hammersley, Asmaa M Hashmi, Joanna Kidner, Lucas McLaughlin, Annabel Ralphs, Ann, Rapstoff, Catalina Renjifo, Cally Shadbolt, Wig Sayell, Vicky Vergou

If you are interested in the art of lithography using photography, MRS artist Asmaa M Hashmi is running a Paper Lithography workshop on 24 October at the Oxford City College Campus. For more details please visit out events page.

A Dangerous Field © Cally Shadbolt
Portrait of Philippa James, by Rachel Movitz

Philippa James:
100 Women of Oxford

Exhibition now closed but see above for HER story: A Response to 100 Women of Oxford

Oxford-based photographer Philippa James visited one hundred women, in their homes, and listened to experiences of love and loss, politics, motherhood, climate change, dreams, disability, murder, sexuality, mental health, fear, imposter syndrome, social justice, family conflict, abuse, feminism, war, joy, death, social inclusion and many more stories of humanity.

In this exhibition you will have the opportunity to meet all one hundred brave, courageous, inspirational women, who are a part of Oxford’s community.

To hear more about Philippa James' portrait project, listen to this podcast.

For up-to-date venue information visit The North Wall website.

 Philippa James, 100 Women of Oxford

 HER Story:
A response to 100 Women of Oxford

 24 October – 14 November
View the ONLINE exhibition here

More than thirty young people in Oxford have taken part in Philippa James' portrait photography masterclasses, where they have explored Philippa's 100 Women of Oxford exhibition and learnt how to capture female portraits and interview their chosen subject. They were then asked to find their own subject to photograph and submit them to this digital exhibition, available to view from 24 October – 14 November here: https://www.thenorthwall.com/whats-on/her-story/ 


Studio, North Oxford


The exhibition shows a selection of photography from the 20th and 21st Century - featuring early modernist works by Edward Steichen and Margaret Bourke-White, more conceptually driven works by John Baldessari and Lewis Baltz along with more politically driven works by Broomberg and Chanarin.  It is a wide-ranging collection with each of the photographs included being connected by the presence of a circle; some clearly and intentionally some more incidentally. 

Curated by Joanna Vestey and Tristan Lund

The Only Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It,
from the series Margins of Excess © 2018 Max Pinckers
© Fran Monks, The Gatehouse Women - 8

Strength and Resilience:

Celebrating the achievements of the community of women at The Gatehouse, with photographer Fran Monks

OUTDOORS: St Giles’ churchyard, St Giles, between Banbury Road and Woodstock Road

No longer available to view

‘Strength and Resilience’ is a series of portraits by Fran Monks of the women at the Gatehouse Project; a drop in cafe and community centre for the homeless and vulnerably housed in Oxford. This registered charity is led by women and has many long-term female volunteers and guests.

Fran Monks was the photographer on the Nice Cup of Tea project, on display at The Ashmolean Museum, exploring the untold stories and hidden narratives of empire, trade and transatlantic slavery through this contemporary art installation inspired by the Ashmolean’s European Ceramics collection.
View event on the Ashmolean website

Online: Fran Monks also made photographic portraits for Portrait of Keble, an installation for Keble College's 150th anniversary, featuring portraits of 28 individuals. These include alumni, current students, staff, and fellows, who were chosen for their inspirational achievements, be they personal, professional, or both. A short film of Fran introducing her highlights from the portrait series on YouTube.

Read More about Strength and Resilience with Fran Monks

During the COVID19 pandemic the Gatehouse continued to work for their community by providing food by delivery and take away. They also gave one-to-one support to those in need. During lockdown many street homeless were housed and tenant protection was provided to the vulnerably housed. However, there remains much uncertainty about the future.

Now, more than ever, we want to recognise the strength, resilience and achievements, no matter how big or small, of the women of the Gatehouse community. We want to make dignified, painterly portraits, and exhibit them outside in the St Giles churchyard, as a way to demonstrate how valued and varied their contributions are, especially during these difficult times. By putting staff, volunteers and guests, side by side, we hope to challenge stereotypes, reduce the stigma attached to homelessness and emphasise the value of all to the community.

Unretouched Women

Eve Arnold, Abigail Heyman, Susan Meiselas,
curated by Clara Bouveresse

Maison Française d'Oxford


Exhibition panels curated by Clara Bouveresse (winner of the Recontres D'Arles Curatorial Research Fellowship 2019), reveal the process of making books to test the photographic image of women.  The images by Eve Arnold, Abigail Heyman and Susan Meiselas offer a unique look at women’s bodies, revealing the invisible role of makeup and dramatization that condition most public appearances in the 1970s, and an unsuspected world of intimacy and everyday life. They also expose the social conventions and norms that define the status of women in society.

For more details please visit the website.

© Abigail Heyman Supermarché 1971
© JA Mortram, Small Town Inertia

JA Mortram: Helena, Every Day is a Morning After

An film exhibition by JA Mortram and Giles Scott, in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University
ONLINE: view here 

Jim Mortram is a British social documentary photographer and writer, based in Dereham, Norfolk in the East of England. This exhibition portrays the life of a young girl in small town inertia, co-curated by Grant Scott (head of Photography at Oxford Brookes).
Jim Mortram's ongoing project, Small Town Inertia, records the lives of a number of disadvantaged and marginalised people living near to his home, in order to tell stories, he believes are under-reported.

Home & Heart

Paddy Summerfield & Patricia Baker-Cassidy

Old Bank Barn, Magpie Lane, off High Street


Home & Heart has two sections. The major portion of the show is Paddy Summerfield's Voyage Around My Mother, extracted from his much longer photo-essay World Without End, (awaiting publication). This is a sequence of black and white photographs centred on his mother as her life closes down. His lens contrasts the small spaces of daily life with the wide circle of loving attention. This essay forms a coda to Mother And Father (published 2014), bringing a different and perhaps more heart-breaking tone.

The second and smaller part of the exhibition is from a project curated by Patricia Baker-Cassidy, who has been experimenting with lending cameras, both film and digital, to children under five. Children learn the language of posing as soon as they can walk, but when they use the camera, they do not follow photographic conventions. These colour pictures (digital) were taken by a three year old girl, affirming her family life and home, after the sudden death of her father.

© Paddy Summerfield, Voyage Around My Mother
Mother on stairs composite © Patricia Baker Cassidy

Read more about Home & Heart

Within the camera: darkness; outside the light,
The light of the world that comes form above,
the theatre of hope, the beginnings of eternity

As John Lennon once said:
Woman is the other half of the sky.
May there be, in everyone's heart and home, love.

Paddy Summerfield

A collaboration....

The sudden tragic death of her father left three year old Sophie struggling to make sense of her devastated world. The incomprehensible absence of her father and the shocked grief of her mother and the wider family, led to the painful efforts to cope. 

One of her strategies was the taking of photographs. For about two weeks in that sad time, she photographed obsessively: the doorway where her father came home, the stairs she climbed with him her, new paint drying on her parents' bedroom wall. Moving round the house, she was quiet, intent. Through photographs, she was cataloguing her home, holding onto something lost.

And, of course, she photographed people, especially her mother and twin sister, the new family shape that had to find a way forward, together.

Often I am astonished by how, from a tiny age, children pose for adults' cameras. They jut their hips and pout alarmingly; somehow they have absorbed the cliches. So I had planned a project, offering cameras to small children, wondering what conventions they would use when behind the camera. Sophie 's need to photograph gave me the chance to start this collaborative project. She had her own urgency, her own agenda. Her choice of subjects and framing came entirely from her. 

With these fragments she collected, she built an understanding of her new world:

Us. Here. Now. This this this.... 

With the camera she said, “I miss my father.” 

Patricia Baker Cassidy

Femke 001
© Femke Dekkers

Femke Dekkers: Open Space

Zuleika Gallery, Woodstock
17 October - 4 November (then closed for lockdown)


Open Space, the inaugural exhibition of contemporary photography at Zuleika Gallery Woodstock presents the work of Femke Dekkers ( b.1980 NL) curated by Anstice Oakeshott. Drawing upon nearly a decade of work, the exhibition reveals the unique practice of a multidisciplinary artist, who brings together photography, painting and sculpture to explore the limits of human vision and comprehension. Femke Dekkers uses the camera as a tool to play games with our powers of perception. Treating her studio as a stage set, she explores the tension between static architecture and illusions of painterly perspective.

Read more

Join Curator Anstice Oakeshott and artist Femke Dekkers for a conversation to examine the photographs presented in the exhibition 'Open Space'. 

Watch again here

A short video featuring Femke Dekkers speaking from her studio where she explains her process is here.

Responsive Space

Modern Art Oxford

View the exhibition online here

Visit Modern Art Oxford this autumn to discover and respond to an imaginative and hopeful presentation of art projects created during the coronavirus pandemic.

Breathworks is a digital project sharing photography, video and sound that explores everyone’s unique experience of breathing. The project was led by Modern Art Oxford’s Creative Associate Lucy Sabin and curated by their in- house Digital Content Curator Andree Latham.

Activating our Archives is a project exploring personal and shared identities through photography, storytelling and digital archiving, with contributions from women including Etian, whose image is above.

Access Information

Etain OCarroll, Activating our Archives
© Etain O Carroll, Activating our Archives

Oxford Photography Group exhibition

ONLINE - view the exhibition here

The OPG approached the festival theme from a variety of visual and conceptual perspectives - from candid observations on the streets of the city to the intensely personal examination of the mother-child relationship. The select reflects a range of the possible representations of women and challenges societal and visual stereotypes, often through personal encounters and experiences.

The exhibited work has been selected by Katy Barron, photography curator and Senior Director at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London. She is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Photofusion in Brixton and a Trustee of Photo Oxford.

Exhibiting photographers:

Wendy Aldiss, Thomas Capon, Kirk Ellingham, Paul Freestone, Kazem Hakimi, Rob Judges, Thomas Nicolaou, Martin Stott, Paddy Summerfield, Patricia Baker-Cassidy

Three Heads © Paul Freestone 
self-portrait by the Tibetan artist Nyema Droma, 2018.
Courtesy Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford [2019.18.20.1]

Pitt Rivers Museum: Photography and Women

As part of the PhotoOxford Festival 2020 the Pitt Rivers Museum's staff have taken a fresh look at their huge collection of around 300,000 historic and contemporary photographs, and picked out one that for them resonates strongly with the Festival's theme, 'Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen'.

Oxford International Links

Covered Market, High Street & Market Street, and ONLINE

ONLINE: View a selection of the images in a virtual gallery here

ONLINE: View the full online exhibition of images from all 8 twin cities, with the Curators' statement here.

Oxford’s 8 twin cities - Leiden in the Netherlands, Bonn in Germany, León in Nicaragua, Grenoble in France, Perm in Russia, Wrocław in Poland, Ramallah in Palestine and Padua in Italy - are all brought together for the first time in a joint exhibition of photography reflecting the festival theme. The exhibition has been curated by by Oxford photographers Irmgard Hueppe and Simon Murison-Bowie. The full exhibition is avaialble to view online, and highlights representative of the 8 twin cities are displayed in the Oxford Covered Market, on the wall behind the Wroclaw gnome.

Our thanks to everybody who has contributed to this exhibition, providing us with fascinating glimpses into the lives, preoccupations and cultures that define the internationality of our twinning links.

To read descriptions of the contributions of the twin cities, click here:
Oxford International Links page

Fotografie Eelkje Colmjon.
The Future Is Now 14, Leiden © Eelkje Colmjon
Photograph (albumen print) of Annie Rogers & Mary Jackson as Queen Eleanor & Fair Rosamund by CL Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), July 3, 1863

History of Science Museum

Broad Street, Oxford

ONLINE display here

Online display of prints and lantern slides by Sarah Angelina Acland (1849-1930), Anna Atkin's volumes of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843 and 1853), and Charles Dodson's photograph of Annie Rogers, a campaigner for women's full membership of the University of Oxford who went on to be one of the first women graduates 100 years ago.  Read about the Blue Plaque recently put up in recognition of Annie Rogers here

In the Museum: Display of photographic equipment including that used by Charles Dodgson.


Women and the Camera
ONLINE: View the exhibition here

This photo presentation uses images from the HEIR Project digital image archive of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. It explores the relationship over the past 150 years of women from around the globe with cameras, both as subjects in front of the lens and as photographers.

The pictures come from selected university teaching collections and images donated to the HEIR Project. Most are from obsolete photographic media such as glass plate negatives, film negatives, lantern slides or 35 mm images, so had been unseen for decades before their revival as digital scans by the HEIR Project.

'Bridge of Constantinople and view of Yeni Djami' c 1900. Galata Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey. Photographer unknown.
Too Many Blackamoors (9) 2015 © Heather Agyepong, courtesy Hyman Collection, London

A Different Mirror

Postponed to 2021 due to Covid impact on gallery space

Works by Heather Agyepong, Alexis Hunter, Jo Spence & Maud Sulter

A collaboration between The Hyman Collection and The Maud Sulter Estate.

In his 1972 book Ways of Seeing the Marxist critic John Berger concluded ‘Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’. Namely Western art presents a microcosm of the unequal relationships between men and women that exist in wider society.