ORGANISED BY BIRKBECK, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
VENUE: CENTRE FOR BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHY
A roundtable discussion with Charlene Heath, James Hyman and Patrizia Di Bello, discussing multiplicity, dispersal and repetitions of the ‘dispersed’ Jo Spence Memorial Archive. How do archives construct the past for the present and the future?
Charlene Heath is Archivist & Research Coordinator at The Image Centre, Toronto Metropolitan University, where she has been archiving the main body of the Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive. She is about to finish her PhD thesis ‘Jo Spence: Work | Politics | Survival’, considering the enduring legacy of political photographic practice in Britain in the 1970s and ‘80s, and has published several articles on her work with the Jo Spence Memorial Archive, including, with Patrizia Di Bello, ‘The Work Which is Not One’, in Photography and Collaboration, eds Mathilde Bertrand and Karine Chambefort, due out in 2024.
Patrizia Di Bello is professor of History and Theory of Photography at Birkbeck, where she looks after the Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive. Her book on Women’s Albums and Photography in Victorian England (2007) was inspired by Jo Spence’s writings on the family album. She has spoken on Jo Spence at several conferences and event, and her articles include ‘Photographer, Writer and Self-styled “Cultural Sniper”: Jo Spence at Tate Britain’, Tate Etc. 35 (2015).
James Hyman received his doctorate from the Courtauld Institute and is the Founding Director of the Centre for British Photography. He is one of the most committed collectors of the work of Jo Spence. In 2020-21 the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol staged a retrospective of over 100 works by Jo Spence taken entirely from the Hyman Collection. Coinciding with this, Hyman Collection and RRB Photobooks published a facsimile edition of Spence’s previously unpublished thesis which is held in the Collection.