Drone Vision – Research and Development Award Recipients 2017 

Valand Academy, Gothenburg University and Hasselblad Foundation


Ignacio Acosta is a Chilean born, London based artist and researcher working with photography and exploring geopolitical power dynamics in minerals, geographies and historical narratives. His interconnected research projects involve extensive fieldwork, investigative analysis and visual documentation into sites and materials of symbolic significance.

He was awarded a practice-based PhD titled Copper Geographies, developed as part of Traces of Nitrate: Mining history and photography between Britain and Chile, an interdisciplinary research group based at the University of Brighton and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). His work is presented through exhibitions, public events, publications and online platforms.


Björn Larsson is an artist based in Stockholm Sweden. His art practice circulates around themes of how nation and nationality is represented, especially through nature and landscape. He often uses various documentary strategies, and photography is a major tool as well as a subject of his practice.

His publications include In the midst of Nature (2006), Brandplats 3(2013) and 49/51 (2016). He is currently engaged as a researcher at The Royal Institute of Art with the artistic research project Refuse to Kill together with artist Carl Johan Erikson.


Tomas van Houtryve is a photographer, author and conceptual artist. His work often combines long-term journalistic investigation, innovative image-making processes and philosophical concepts. His photographic prints and video installations are held in the permanent collections of the ICP Museum in New York, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

He is the winner of the ICP Infinity Award, World Press Photo Award, Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents, and he is a multiple grantee of the Pulitzer Center. Van Houtryve is based in Paris and is a member of the VII Photo Agency.


Mhairi Sutherland is a visual artist and curator based in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, working in photography, video, drawing and site-specific installation. Originally from Scotland, Sutherland was awarded a PhD in 2012 from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) for her thesis on visibility, photography and conflict in landscapes shaped by political forces. An MFA with Distinction was awarded from the University of Ulster Belfast in 1996.

Her interest in the intersection of civic life with militarism has led to projects directly engaging with the military agency, including the CCF (Combined Cadet Forces) PRONTO 2016, Royal Air Force, Blackout 1999, Ministry of Defence Housing, Muster 1998 and the Royal Navy, Sub 1996.


Behjat Omer Abdulla is a mixed media artist. Born in Kurdistan/Iraq, he moved to the UK in 1999 and now lives and works in Sweden. In 2016 he was awarded an MFA in Fine Art from Valand Academy, Gothenburg University. He has exhibited internationally in group and solo exhibitions including a recent collaborative show at the Tate Modern, London.

Abdulla’s practice explores the experiences of war, displacement, uncertainty, and falsification.





The project Drone Vision


Valand Academy and the Hasselblad Foundation have a long-term partnership, now resulting in a research and development award for photo-based artists.

This award is part of a broader research project, led by Dr Sarah Tuck, exploring the affects and implications of drone technologies on warfare, surveillance and protest.


The Research and Development Award provides the time and resources for photo-based artists to develop a project proposal, as part of a commissioning process for the exhibition at the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg. It is expected that applicants to the Research and Development Award consider the affective meanings of drone technologies in response to the geographic context of Sweden and its region.