Gil Pasternak gives a masterclass to Further Education students at Dudley College of Technology (UK) on uses of family photographs at home, in public, and in digital heritage

On 8 November 2019 Gil Pasternak was invited to deliver a masterclass at Dudley College of Technology. Entitled “What are Family Photographs Made to do at Home, in Public, and in Digital Heritage?”, the masterclass explored the many uses of family photographs in domestic and public contexts, and was split into three parts, each of which paid attention to different types of practices and social environments. In the first part he explored the history and development of family photography from the nineteenth century to the present day, with specific focus on conventional representational practices, distribution technologies, and the common functions of family photographs. In the second part of the class he investigated a selection of instances in which family photographs have become absorbed into the public environment, discussing what might have made family photographs, as otherwise private types of objects, most fit for purpose. Lastly, in the masterclass’ final part, Pasternak discussed the growing attention family photographs receive in cultural heritage digitisation and digitalisation initiatives. Here he was particularly concerned with the various ways in which family photographs have been used to preserve as well as salvage “forgotten” cultural heritage. Part of the class included direct interaction with the students who brought some photographs from their own family albums as a means to explore what happens to family photographs once taken out of the domestic environment, whether through digitisation, digitalised circulation, or otherwise. The event concluded in a Q&A session and panel discussion with Geoff Broadway (Project Director of The Living Memory Project), Anand Chhabra (Director of Black Country Visual Arts and founder of the Apna Heritage Archive), and Pasternak. You can read more about this event on the Black Country Visual Arts blog page.

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