Since the late nineteenth century, the printed photograph in the media stood as a powerful tool for denouncing social injustice and claiming better life conditions – i.e. as seen in the work of Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, or Joshua Benoliel, among many others. In the early decades of the twentieth century the use of images had a significant boost with film, when directors such as Flaherty, Eisenstein, John Grierson, Vertov, Dvorjenko or Ivens, combining documental intentions with avant-garde experimental claims, made possible to discuss political and historical conditions.

The aim of the conference is to discuss and debate photographs and film as a social tool from a leftist stance. In particular, to examine and explore the relation of documentary practices and political commitment in different historical circumstances throughout the twentieth and the twenty first centuries.

The seminar/conference together with a film projection program will take place at Contemporary Art Museum of Chiado in Lisbon on November 16-18 2017.

We invite paper submission of no more than 500 words abstract that focuses on photography and film related to:

  • the creation of documentary as a social and political weapon;
  • the soviet revolution as an experimental wave in photography, design and film;
  • anticolonial and postcolonial imagery;
  • women rights and feminist imagery;
  • avant gardes and ideology claims;
  • the role of images in the leftist movements;
  • Contemporary art practices and social and political criticism;
  • Alan Sekula legacy and the political commitment with images.

Keynote speakers
Gail Day (University of Leeds)
Steve Edwards (Birbeck College)
Antonio Somaini (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III)

Conference Venue & Dates
Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea – Museu do Chiado / National Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado
Faculdade das Belas Artes da Universidade de Lisboa / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon
November 16-17-18, 2017


Please send your abstracts until July 21st, 2017 to: