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From 6 October – 4 November 2012 Brighton was populated by free exhibitions, new commissions, events and interventions, at a host of established and more unusual venues across the city’s urban landscape. The fifth edition of the acclaimed Brighton Photo Biennial, brought international and emerging photographers and artists to the city. Following the 2010 Biennial curated by Martin Parr, which saw over 60,000 visitors, the 2012 edition was curated and produced by Photoworks, the UK’s leading visual arts agency for photography. Including work by Edmund ClarkOmer Fast, Julian GermainJason Larkin Trevor PaglenCorinne Silva, Thomson & Craighead and more, Brighton Photo Biennial 2012 (BPB12) examines a wide range of photographic practices, collectively reflecting on ‘The Politics of Space’.

BPB12 explores how space is constructed, controlled and contested, how photography is implicated in these processes, and the tensions and possibilities this dialogue involves.  This year’s Biennial provides a critical space to think about relationships between the political occupation of physical sites and the production and dissemination of images. Responding to recent efforts to politically re-imagine urban space through social and civic uses, BPB12 presents photography and imagery generated by professional photographers and the public at large; grassroots activism and media spectacle; established names and recent finds; contemporary work and older photographic practices. At the core of BPB12 is an examination of photography as both a tool and a process: a means of understanding the world, and an active force in shaping it.

BPB12 also saw the publication of a special expanded issue of the influential journal Photoworks, including extensive visual material relating to the Biennial programme and essays, articles and interviews providing a critical discourse on its key themes and ideas. All exhibitions and installations were free to access. Some workshops, Q&As and screenings have ticket prices attached. Explore our site for full details of our programme.

About BPB

Brighton Photo Biennial is an ambitious, bold and innovative festival of international photography. It aims to offer a challenging and stimulating event to wide and varied audiences. Previous editions have been curated by Jeremy Millar (2003), Gilane Tawadros (2006) and Julian Stallabrass (Memory of Fire, 2008).  The most recent edition, curated by Martin Parr (New Documents, 2010), attracted audiences of over of 60,000, making it one of the best attended photography festivals in the world. Following a successful merger in late 2011, the 2012 edition of the Brighton Photo Biennial is curated and produced by Photoworks, the UK’s leading visual arts agency for photography.

BPB12 Curators

The 2012 Brighton Photo Biennial is curated by Photoworks Head of Programme, Celia Davies and Programme Curator, Ben Burbridge. Dr. Ben Burbridge lectures in the History and Theory of Photography and Post-war American and European Art at the University of Sussex. He has written widely on photography and its histories for a range of journals, magazines, books and catalogues. Curated exhibitions include We Are Witnessing the Dawn of an Unknown Science (Permanent Gallery, Brighton, 2007); No Passaran! Robert Capa and the Spanish Civil War (Charleston Farmhouse Gallery, Firle, 2007) and The Daily Nice Take Away (Kunsthaus, Essen, 2010). Burbridge is currently working on a major exhibition of scientific imagery to be shown at The Science Museum, London, in 2013. Burbridge is the co-founder of Ph, an AHRC-funded network of more than thirty early career academics working with photography. He has worked with Photoworks in various capacities since 2003, most recently as Programme Curator and Co-Editor of Photoworks magazine. Celia Davies is Head of Programme at Photoworks where she oversees the planning and delivery of the artistic programme. She was previously Head of Exhibitions at the De La Warr Pavilion from 2002-2009. She has devised numerous contemporary solo and group exhibitions and major commissions of new work, profiling both international and UK based artists. More recent projects include Brighton Palermo Remix by David Batchelor for Brighton Festival (2012), This Storm is What We Call Progress by Ori Gersht (2012), Imperial War Museum, London and recently curated projects include Myth, Manners and Memory: Photographs of the American South including Walker Evans, William Eggleston, William Christenberry, Carrie Mae Weems, Susan Lipper and Alec Soth (2010), Beuys Is Here co-curated with Anthony d’ Offay (2009), Kenneth and Mary Martin, Constructed Works(2008), Jeremy Deller (2006). Selected recent commissions include Mumuration Rinko Kawauchi and Brighton Picture Hunt Alec Soth (2010) Seascape Susan Collins (2009), Palace Nathan Coley (2008), It Starts From Here (2007), Motion Path Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone (2006),Variety including Brian Catling, Daria Martin, Mark Wallinger and Boyd Webb (2005) and Bridget Smith(2005). She has been editor and contributing writer for numerous visual art publications, including the influential Photoworks Monographs series, co-published with Steidl. She is co-editor of Photoworksmagazine and a trustee of Blast Theory.

About Photoworks

Photoworks commissions new work, produces exhibitions and publications and initiates research, education and participation programmes. The organization is financially supported by Arts Council England. Our core partner is The University of Brighton who host the Photoworks office.

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