The Hasselblad Foundation hosts and co-hosts both smaller research presentations and larger symposia each year, often in collaboration with the Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg. Since 2014 the foundation and the university have co-published the book series Negative, with collected presentations from several of the symposia. Researchers, theorists and artists that have participated in the symposia include Subhankar Banerjee, Geoffrey Batchen, Broomberg & Chanarin, Mathias Danbolt, Leslie Hewitt, Sarah Kember, Liz Wells and Zanele Muholi. Participants in the recent symposium on surveillance, organized in relation to the WATCHED!-project, included Susan Schuppli, Marco Poloni and Peter Weibel.



Upcoming symposium


International Research Symposium: Interwar Lens Cultures – Photography and Film in Transition 1919-1939


Interwar Lens Cultures – Photography and Film in Transition 1919-1939 will map, explore and contextualize significant media practices between 1919 and 1939. A new look at the period’s vernacular, scientific and popular lens-based practices and their cross-fertilization offer critical, interdisciplinary perspectives on Interwar visual culture, which was defined by a rising ubiquity of photography and film.


The symposium will offer unique transdisciplinary exchanges between the contributing researchers in photography, art, film and visual culture. The historiographical ambition is to discuss various ways of researching, writing and doing photo and film history. Finally, Interwar Lens Cultures – Photography and Film in Transition 1919-1939 encourages cultural, social and political comparisons between the interwar period and the present.

Keynote Speaker: David Campany
Symposium participants: Jenny Chamarette, Pia Rönicke, Ciara Chambers, Björn Axel Johansson, Annika Wickman, Jan-Erik Lundström, Tyrone Martinsson

The symposium is part of a collaborative research project between the Hasselblad Foundation and Valand Academy, Gothenburg University.

The symposium is free and open to the general public.

[Image caption: Pia Rönicke
Notes on M.B. Stills from the films. 43 min / 9 min. 16mm / HD.
Installation views. 2 films, a sculpture, 3 screens, 1 rotating mirror. Henie-Onstad Kunstcenter, Oslo. 2014.]


Wednesday 28th of September

13.30 Introduction to the symposium and the research project by Mats Jönsson, Niclas Östlind, Louise Wolthers

14:00-14.45 Jenny Chamarette: To be announced.

14.30-14.55 Pia Rönicke: Mirroring spaces


15.30-15.55 Ciara Chambers: The Wars Between the Wars: Political, Civil and Economic Conflict in Ireland

16:00-16:25 Björn Axel Johansson: Photography – a tool for science and military use

16:45-17:45 Film screening. A selection of 1920s and 1930s film from the Swedish film archive and contemporary works by Lina Selander and Katarina Elvén

Thursday 29th of September

9:30-10:45: Keynote: David Campany: A Medium Everywhere. Photographic Modernism Between the Wars


11-11.25: Annika Wickman: Training Films in the Swedish Armed Forces 1929

11.30-11.55: Jan-Erik Lundström: With New Eyes: Evolving Visual Cultures in Sweden in the Interwar Years

12:00-12.25: Tyrone Martinsson: The Passing of Ghosts – Exploration and Imagining the Arctic


David Campany:
A Medium Everywhere. Photographic Modernism Between the Wars

Description: Photography became a significant modern art by embracing its relation to non-art forms: the snapshot, the archival image, the news picture, the scientific image and so forth. At the same time, it involved a recognition that art could never be the exclusive framework and discourse through which photographic imagery would be understood. A book of photographic portraits, for example, might be approached as art, design, fashion, anthropology, sociology or politics. While modernism is often thought of as a search for purity of medium, photography’s essentially hybrid position was distinctive.

David Campany is a curator and writer, currently based in London.

Jan Erik Lundström:
With New Eyes: Evolving Visual Cultures in Sweden in the Interwar Years

In the evolving, expansive and transforming public visual cultures of the interwar years, photography is increasingly articulated as a defining communication technology and leading medium in a culture where public discourse is conceptualized as progressively photographic and ocularcentric. Emerging public forums, distribution forms, and new genres – the illustrated magazine, the daily newspaper, the postcard, the exhibition are instances – are the platforms where these discursive developments are mediated and take place. The figure of the photographer is, furthermore, symptomatic as literal and symbolic agent of such developments; typified in the Swedish visual archive by Karl Sandel’s 1936 metaphotograph of the resigning Swedish prime minister.

This paper will continue to explore these nascent visual discourses in the framework of Swedish lens cultures in the 1930s. Selected key events – including the burgeoning news photograph as signified in the 1930 founding of PFK (the Press Photographer’s Association), the exultant 1938 launch of the illustrated weekly Se, and the large centennial celebration of photography with the exhibition Det Nya Ögat (The New Eye) are to be examined for their contributions to budding transformations.

Jan-Erik Lundström is a curator, critic and historian of contemporary art, visual culture and photography. He is the former director of the Sami Center for Contemporary Art and former chief curator of Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm. From 1999 to 2011 he was the director of Bildmuseet. His latest curatorial projects include: Sami Contemporary; Top of the World; Fall Back Spring Forward; Surviving the Future and The Map: Critical Cartographies, Politics of Place and Society Must Be Defended (1st Thessaloniki Biennial of Contemporary Art). He was the chief curator of Berlin Photography Festival, 2005, and the artistic director of the 3rd Bucharest Biennale. He is the author and editor of many books, including: Thinking Photography – Using Photography: Nordic Landscapes; Contemporary Sami Art and Design; Ursula Biemann: Mission Reports; Looking North: Representations of Sami in Visual Arts and Literature and Irving Penn: Photographs. Lundström has contributed to major publications such as Horizons: Towards a Global Africa; The Oxford Companion to the Photograph and The History of European Photography of the 20th Century. He has been a guest professor at, among others, Aalto University, Helsinki, Konstfackskolan and the Royal Ar.t Academy, Stockholm, Malmö Art Academy, HISK, Antwerpen/Gent, University of los Andes, Bogotá, and Oslo Art Academy. Lundström is a prolific lecturer, writer and contributor to international symposia and periodicals.

Pia Rönicke:
Mirroring spaces

Presentation of the photo and film-based work Notes on MB (2014): A visual account of Bauhaus Artist Marianne Brandt

(more information on the art works is available in Danish here: and here: )

Artist Pia Rönicke lives and works in Copenhagen. Pia Rönicke often works with collections of different kinds; archives of letters, notes, images, newspapers, microfilm and online databases, to mention a few. She is interested in the connection between workspace and filmic space, and how we conceive historical matters in relationship to our daily activities. The practice of collecting is a recurring subject in Pia Rönicke’s work. -The personal, ethical and political dimensions of it. -The everyday practice of collecting, the picking and pressing of plants. -The collection of stories that come into our hands every morning reading the newspaper. She works with the blind spot – that which always contains a spatial dimension, and a set of coordinates of unnoticed, undisclosed material. She works with fragments; film, prints, sculptures and objects, which together builds a narrative.

Björn Axel Johanson:
Photography – a tool for science and military use

I SVERIGE SAKNADES länge institutioner för forskning och utbildning inom det foto¬grafiska området. För att få en formell skolning, utöver det traditionella lärlingssystemet, var intresserade svenskar bland annat hänvisade till utbildningsanstalter i Tyskland och Österrike. Inte heller förekom forskning inom området. En orsak var att den foto¬grafiska industrin inte hade någon större omfattning i Sverige. Fotonäringen förlitade sig därför på import och de tekniska framsteg som gjordes i utlandet. Åren runt första världskriget togs initiativ som gradvis förbättrade både forskning och utbildning inom svensk fotografi.

Docent Arvid Odencrants (1881-1959), sedermera professor, erhöll 1919 en nyinrättad tjänst som docent i vetenskaplig fotografi vid Stockholms högskola. Den institution som han byggde upp kom att syssla med en rad områden där fotografin nyttjades, bland annat reproduktionsteknik, röntgen och flygfotografi liksom den rörliga bilden, kinematografin, och dess användning i vetenskapliga sammanhang. Han var dessutom väl insatt i den allmänna fotografin och frågor av betydelse för praktiserande fotografer.

Ett par år senare, 1921, inrättade även Kungl. Tekniska Högskolan för första gången en tjänst som docent i fotografi. John Hertzberg (1871-1935), f.d. hovfotograf med framgångsrik ateljéverksamhet, hade allt sedan 1915 arbetat som högskolans speciallärare i fotografi. Det blev Hertzberg som byggde upp lärosätets fotografiska institution och utvecklade den fotografiska pedagogiken parallellt med forskningsuppgifter.

Helmer Bäckström (1891-1964) blev Hertzbergs efterträdare. De hade samarbetat sedan 1917 då Bäckström anställdes som assistent på institutionen. Under mellankrigstiden blev Bäckström en av svensk fotografis främsta företrädare, utvecklade högskolans pedagogiska verksamhet och drev med kraft forskningsprojekt av många slag. Han krönte sin karriär 1949 då han utsågs till högskolans förste professor i fotografi. Samtidigt invigdes Kungl. Tekniska Högskolans nya fotografiska institution, den största och mest framgångsrika i landet.

Liksom Arvid Odencrants intresserade sig även Helmer Bäckström för filmmediet. Båda fick också kopplingar till det militärindustriella komplexet med uppdrag av skilda slag, exempelvis flygfoto, bildtolkning och utredningar om lämpligt fotografiskt material och materiel för försvarsmakten. Odencrants var under ett par decennier också knuten till General¬stabens fotografiska centrallaboratorium och tjänstgjorde som föreståndare under andra världskriget.

Fotohistoriker Björn Axel Johansson har bland annat publicerat De första fotograferna (Historiska Media, 2005), Stora boken om familjebilder (Historiska Media, 2010), Resan till Egypten/Drottning Victorias fotografiska liv (Atlantis, 2012) och Att se världen/Svensk fotografi under 175 år (Tekniska museets årsbok Daedalus 2017). Verksam som fotohistorisk rådgivare vid Bernadottebiblioteket på Stockholms slott, hos fotograf Lennart Nilsson och är numera knuten till Tekniska museet.

Dr Ciara Chambers:
The Wars Between the Wars: Political, Civil and Economic Conflict in Ireland

The interwar period in Ireland was a time of extended political uncertainty, conflict and re-evaluation of national identities resulting in the partition of the country and the emergence of “two Irelands” north and south. The Anglo- Irish War of Independence raged between 1919-1921 and a truce led to the signing of a divisive peace treaty which led the country into civil war between 1922-23. After this, there was a struggle to establish separate nation states with Éire as an independent British Dominion and Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. The interconnection between these spaces was challenging and a bitter economic war affected all parties between 1932- 38. This paper will explore the representation of these events in cinema newsreels and argue that the newsreels’ ‘partitionist’ mentality led to confusion and stereotyping that still exist in news coverage of Ireland today.

Dr Ciara Chambers is Head of Film and Screen Media at University Collge Cork. Her research interests include newsreels, amateur film and the recycling of archival images. She has worked on a range of archival projects
and digitization initiatives with the Irish Film Archive, Northern Ireland Screen, Belfast Exposed Photography, UTV, BBC, and the British Universities Film and Video Council. She is associate editor for the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television and a member of the editorial boards of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen
Media and Estudios Irlandeses. She is also a member of the IAMHIST Council and the Irish Screen Studies Board. She was scriptwriter and associate producer on Éire na Nuachtscannán (Ireland in the Newsreels), a six-part television series broadcast on TG4.

Dr Annika Wickman:

Training Films in the Swedish Armed Forces 1929
The Swedish military has used training films for almost a hundred years. This presentation focuses on five films that were produced by servicemen in 1929. Based on conclusions drawn from a serial analysis Wickman undertook for her PhD dissertation she will discuss how these films differ from films produced before and after this year. She positions the contemporary Stuttgart exhibition’s optimism as a counterpoint to highlight the armed forces’ view of both advantages and shortcomings of the photographic image in visual instruction. The limits of what the military thought could be experienced and explained by photographic means is explored by looking into the relations between photography and drawing in these five films.

Annika Wickman completed her doctoral studies at The Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University in September 2018. Her PhD dissertation, “Film in the Service of the Armed Forces. Military Training Films in Swedish Military Education 1920-1939,” examines the establishment of educational cinema in the military. It brings forth service men¿s involvement in the shaping of film production and film exhibition practices and highlights the history of how factual instruction was presented through moving images. Wickman¿s research interests range from broad theoretical and philosophical questions to the delimited issue of media’s role in professionalization processes.

Dr Jenny Chamarette:

In my paper I will discuss the role of the Italian film theorist Ricciotto Canudo, who is widely considered as a foundational figure in the development of film theory as a disciplinary field. During the interwar period, he developed an ‘intermedial’ conception of cinema avant la lettre, considering cinema as ¿a plastic art in motion¿. I would like to bring his theories into contact with examples of interwar French experimental documentary and avant- garde cinema.
Jenny Chamarette is Senior Lecturer (equivalent to Associate Professor) in Film Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Her first book, Phenomenology and the Future of Film (2012), discussed embodiment, affect, and temporality in relation to the films and installations of Agne¿s Varda, Chantal Akerman, Chris Marker and Philippe Grandrieux. She has published widely on intermediality, embodied and existential phenomenologies, and cultural politics in contemporary visual and moving image cultures in Europe, North America and the Middle East. She is currently at work on her second book, Cinemuseology: Museum Vitrines, Digital Screens and Cultural Politics. She is also Co-Investigator of a nationally funded pluridisciplinary project on the digital and material archives of the artist- filmmaker Stephen Dwoskin.


Organizer:Mats Jönsson, Professor in Film studies, Dept of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Louise Wolthers, Research Manager and Curator, The Hasselblad Foundation, Niclas Östlind, Senior Lecturer, Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg

Location:Valand Academy, Vasagatan 50


Sign up for this event



Previous symposium

Experiments and Social Change:

Writing the History of Interwar Photography



Photography at the Threshold: Experiments and Social Change unites researchers, artists and writers from an interdisciplinary field of photography and cultural studies with a particular focus on the 1920s and 30s. The symposium probes ways of researching, writing and doing photo history and a further aim is to reflect on parallels between the Interwar period and the present. Among the topics discussed will be montage, (anti-)fascism, eugenics and photography, gender rights and representation, aerial photography, militarism, commercialism and modernism.




Time: 9.00–18:00, November 21, 2017


Venue: Valand Academy, Aula


A collaboration between The Hasselblad Foundation and Valand Academy, Gothenburg University. The symposium is free and open to all.







9:00 Moderators Louise Wolthers, Hasselblad Foundation and Niclas Östlind, Valand Academy
Welcome and short introduction


9:15 Mats Jansson, Professor, Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, Gothenburg University

The concept of modernism – uses, meanings and a brief look at literature and photography


9:45 Sabine T. Kriebel, Lecturer, History of Art, University Collage, Cork

Passing Through: Three Women Abduct the Face of Weimar Photography


10:45 Coffee break


11:00 Anna Dahlgren, Professor, Art History, Stockholm University

Commercial realism. Photography and the Visual Mechanics of Selling 


11:30 Susanne Kriemann, Artist, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, Germany, Berlin/Karlsruhe

One Time One Million – a contemporary perspective on researching, rewriting and reusing history and its analogue photographic techniques


12:00 Mhairi Sutherland, Artist and Researcher, Derry/Londonderry

Going Underground: Negotiation and Transgression in the photographic archives of SAAB Defence and Security.


12:30 Lunch break


13:30 Maja Hagerman,Writer and Historian & Claes Gabrielson, Photographer

The gaze of the racial biologist 


14.30 Niclas Östlind, Curator, Researcher and Senior Lecturer, Valand Academy, Gothenburg University

A portrait of Swedes in their daily life and work by the photographer C. G. Rosenberg – seen in the light of a darkening horizon in a troubled Europe in the Mid-1930s. 



15:00 Coffee break


15:15 Katarina Leppänen, Senior Lecturer, Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, Gothenburg University

Visibility and representation in the women’s movement during the interwar years


15:45 Eva Dahlman, Photo Historian and Researcher

”Where are the women?” Searching for women at the photographic scene in the interwar period. 


16:15 Coffee break


16:30 Louise Wolthers, Researcher and Curator, Hasselblad Foundation

The View from Above: Scientific images at the International Photography Exhibition in Gothenburg 1929


17:00 Andréas Hagström, Gothenburg Konsthall

Young Hamburger Art (1931) – How the photographic art was perceived in the first known exhibition in Gothenburg with paintings, sculpture and photography.


17:30 Moderators closing remarks






Previous symposium 

Photography in Print & Circulation

Part II: The Writing of History





Thursday, 28 September, 1 pm

Valand Academy


The book is an integrated and important part of photography, and the interest in the history of the photo book is an expanding field. It started in early 2000 with Andrew Roth’s Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books in the Twenties Century (2001), and the exhibition and publication Open Book at the Hasselblad Centre (2004). Martin Parr and Garry Badger have made groundbreaking contributions with their series History of the Photo Book, Volume I, II and III (published 2004–2014). They have been followed by a number of books and exhibitions focusing on national histories of the photo book.


Now it is time to look critically on the histories that have been produced during the last decade. What perspectives have guided the histories? How have they been mediated and – most importantly – what is still to be done? The symposium will address these important questions.


The symposium is part of Photography in Print & Circulation, a joint research project between the Hasselblad Foundation and Valand Academy.




13.00–13.30 Niclas Östlind The History of the Photo Book


13.30–14.15 Frits Giertberg The Dutch Photobook


14.45–15.30 Angel Luis Gonzalez  The Irish Photobook


15.30–16.00 Irene de Mendoza The Spanish Photobook


16.15–16.30 Evita Goze – The Latvian Photobook


16.45–17.15 Panel debate


18.30 – 19.00 Bernadette Wolbring  Square pegs and round holes and a book signing.


19.15 – 19.30 Åke E:son Lindman EXPERIMENT Åke E:son Lindman


19.30 – til late Opening of the festival including a release of Fotografisk Tidskrift!



Photography in Print and Circulation is a symposium addressing the critical and creative use of photography’s reproducibility. Easier than most other visual media, photography can be multiplied, appropriated, printed and distributed. The symposium will focus on the current and expanded field of photo books. The book is one of photography’s most important formats for going public, and the contemporary photo book culture has developed different modes of – and strategies for – editing, publishing, financing and distributing. The emphasis will be on networks for production and sharing, curatorial perspectives, and the experimental use of books as alternative space for mediating photographic images.


Printed matter is one of many possible forms of distribution. Still and moving images are constantly produced, shared, and sampled through mobile phone cameras and the Internet. The digital technology has changed the parameters for the use and understanding of photography. The symposium will also discuss the changing practises in art and news media, as well as the curatorial take on mediating and exhibiting on-line material and other digitally circulated photographic images.


The speakers are artists, publishers, curators, and scholars and they are invited to talk about their practises, and to reflect on how the artistic and critical possibilities of printed, re-used and circulated photography can be defined and developed.






You can watch parts of the symposium live on Facebook Live via Akademin Valand´s
and Hasselblad Foundation´s Facebook pages.




Thursday 17 November

Venue: Valand Academy, The Glass House, Chalmersgatan 4, Gothenburg


9:30–10:00 Coffee


10.00–10.40 Niclas Östlind: Photography in Print & Circulation: A Historical Survey


10.50–11.30 Lars Willumeit: Reassembly, Reaggregation and CirculationNotes on Dealing with the (Un)becomings of Photography


11.30–12.00 Art & Theory: Release: The Negative Book Series


Lunch break


13.30–14.20 Eva Weinmayr: Library Underground — a reading list for a coming community


14.30–15.10 Cecilia Grönberg: Photography as publishing and distribution




15.40-16.30 Charlotte Cotton: Platform Sensitive


16.45–17.45 Lotta Antonsson in Conversation with Charlotte Cotton and Niclas Östlind/Louise Wolthers




Friday 18 November


10.00–10.30 Louise Wolthers: Multiveillance and the Networked Image


10.40–11.10 Mike Bode: Verification processes and the ecology of user generated imagery.




11.30–12.10 Linn Prøitz: “– It was instant … this is ultimately what is at stake, a child has died: What is simpler than that really?”: The impact of the rapid global circulation of the image of Alan Kurdi.


Lunch break


13.20–14.00 Mette Sandbye: Kent Klich and the Gaza conflict: A multifaceted photographic encirclement of a place and a political conflict


14.10–14.40 Sarah Tuck: Evidence and Spectacle – Watching Murder Online





15.00–16.00 Closing discussion: The Possibilities and Challenges of Printed and Circulated Photography.*

You can email questions to the panel in advance via: es.ug1542262380.dnal1542262380avnim1542262380edaka1542262380@nesn1542262380ej.na1542262380fets1542262380

*Alfredo Jaar is unfortunately no longer able to participate in the symposium due to illness.



Previous symposium

WATCHED! Symposium  – October 7-8

The symposium is co-organized by Valand Academy of Arts and the Hasselblad Foundation. It is a part of the project WATCHED! Surveillance, Art and Photography in Europe Post 9/11, which will result in an exhibition at the Hasselblad Center and a forthcoming book in spring 2016.




An international 2-day research symposium in Gothenburg, organised by The Hasselblad Foundation and Valand Academy.

Venue: ‘The Glass House’, Valand Art Academy, Vasagatan 50

Please note change in program


October 7 / Day 1

Venue: ‘The Glass House’, Valand Academy, Vasagatan 50


9:00 – registration and coffee


9.30 – 10.00 Welcome and introduction by Louise Wolthers and Niclas Östlind


10.00 – 11.00 Peter Weibel, Professor (ZKM, DE), “Epistemic Photography. From Observation to Surveillance” Read more about Peter Weibel


11.15 – 12.00 Artist talk: Alberto Frigo (Södertörn University, SE/IT), “Becoming Data: Artists Beyond the Sousveillance Paradigm” Read more about Alberto Frigo


12.00 – 13.30 Lunch break


13.30 – 14.30 Susanne Wigorts Yngvesson, Ass. Professor (Stockholm School of Theology, SE)“Mirror, mirror on the Wall” – Selfimages and Objectification Read more about Susanne Wigorts Yngvesson




15.00-15:45 Artist talk: Ann-Sofi Sidén (SE) in conversation with Niclas Östlind

Read more about Ann-Sofi Sidén


Closing of Day 1 – short discussion led by Louise Wolthers and Niclas Östlind.


October 8/ Day 2

Venue: ‘The Glass House’, Valand Academy, Vasagatan 50


9.15 – 10.00 Artist talk: Meriç Algün Ringborg (SE/TR) in conversation with Louise Wolthers

Read more about Meriç Algün Ringborg




10.30 – 11.15 Artist talk: Susan Schuppli, senior lecturer (Goldsmiths University, UK), “Material Witness / How Evidence comes to Matter” Read more about Susan Schuppli


11.15-12.00 Artist talk: Jason E. Bowman, senior lecturer (Gothenburg University, SE/UK), “Scavenging Surveillance” Read more about Jason E. Bowman


12.00-13.30 Lunch break


13.30 – 14.15 Artist talk: Marco Poloni (DE), “A Porous Narrative” Read more about Marco Poloni




14.30 – 15.30 Hille Koskela, Professor (University of Turku, FIN), “Surveillance Plays and Games”

Read more about Hille Koskela


Closing remarks and final discussion led by Louise Wolthers and Niclas Östlind.



Research in progress

Research in progress

Previous Projects

Previous Projects