7 February 2023 

This course is run by Imperial College, London, in partnership with the Centre for British Photography. The course tutor is Dr. James Hyman, Founding Director, Centre for British Photography.


In January 2023 London will see the opening of the new Centre for British Photography in central London. This will be the first space of its kind dedicated to British photography.


The Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication at Imperial College London is pleased to be partnering with the Centre for British Photography on a special five week course, looking at the history of British photography.


On the course we will make extensive use of the Centre's unique archive of photographs, at of the heart of which lies the Hyman Collection, one of the world's major collections of British photography.


With a core focus on the development of British photography in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this course will take us on a journey from the pioneering photo-journalism of Picture Post magazine before the Second World War, to the work of recent practitioners such as Heather Agyepong and Natasha Caruana.


We are particularly delighted that the course will be taught by the Founding Director of the Centre for British Photography, Dr James Hyman, who is not only a distinguished art historian, but the key driving force behind the development of the Centre and its exhibition programme. With his knowledge of photography and photographic history, this will effectively be a masterclass in looking at the different manifestations of this art form.


The five classes will all be taught at the premises of the Centre for British Photography in Piccadilly, in central London. No previous experience of photography, the history of photography or any other academic discipline is needed, with everyone welcome to join the course.


Course Programme (subject to possible change)



An introduction to the Centre and a tour of the opening exhibition, The English at Home. Domestic photographs from The Hyman Collection



Picture Post magazine and its Legacy (1930s-1950s)



A Day Off. Documentary Photography (1960s-1980s)



Women in Photography, including a tour of Headstrong. self-portraiture and empowerment. A Fast Forward: Women in Photography exhibition



Contemporary British Photography, including tours of recent works by Heather Agyepong and Natasha Caruana.


Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading for this course.


Your Tutor: Dr James Hyman
Dr James Hyman is an art historian, art dealer and the Founder-Director of the Centre for British Photography. He received his PhD from the Courtauld Institute (University of London) and is a leading authority on Twentieth Century British art, especially the painters of the ”School of London”. His doctorate on the subject was published as The Battle for Realism. Figurative Art in Britain during the Cold War (Yale University Press, 2001). He is a Trustee of the Centre for British Photography (registered charity number 1190955) and is the Founding Director of the Centre for British Photography.