Birmingham City University brings together academics, artists and thinkers who engage with research and discussion around an expanded notion of the subjects of images, photography, film and technology. Based in the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts and orientated toward the future, we consider technology’s role in understanding the development of contemporary photography and image-making. The emphasis of the research will be on thinking and restating the cultural value of images and image-making. Our ambition is that our research will shape ideas contributing to a new understanding of photography, in the twenty-first century.

Underpinning our enquiry is the way we think, specifically, about practice and research. We do not aim to bring them together, to make sense of them by thinking of them in an interchangeable way nor do we try to unify them. Instead, what we aim to do is recognise and highlight the distinctions between them both. This means we make no attempt to connect practice with research and research with practice by highlighting the way they link together. Rather, our goal is always to try and abstract them from one another in order to understand each of them better. 

I am interested in philosophical approaches to contemporary culture and understanding how images and media technologies shape our experience. What unifies my interests is the exploration of how theory can enrich and offer new insights to creative practice and lived experience.

Dr John Hillman
Director of the Photography and Image Research Group

Practice is not research simply because it emanates from a process of discovery, it is research when it is situated within a matrix of new knowledge.