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Photoworks Festival – in a box and online

Photoworks Festival in a box makes the audience the curator.

An image of the Photoworks Festival in a box
Festival in a Box © Photoworks

The first Photoworks Festival is on from now until October 25, 2020.

Propositions for Alternative Narratives is a unique, limited-edition portable ‘festival in a box’.

It allows the audience to become the curator, deciding where and how to install it.

A series of online events will unpack the themes and topics the box addresses.

This festival can be experienced anywhere in the world.

It rethinks what a photography festival is and who it is for.

A woman eats a melon. Part of the Photoworks Festival
© Farah Al Qasimi, S Eating Melon, 2016, from the series Arrival, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line, Dubai

‘Infinite’ ways to install

Anyone can register for a box by becoming a Photoworks Friend.

“Each of the artworks can be installed on your own walls: at home, in your office, in a gallery, in your classroom or with your community,” said Photoworks director Shoair Mavlian.

“There are an infinite amount of ways in which you can install the festival.

“Use nails, tape or clips to hang in your preferred space.

“The box also includes a wall label for each, giving more information about the artist and their work.

“Hang it as a group with friends, with fellow artists or solo.

“Hang it now for the Photoworks Festival and hang it again somewhere else in the future.

“Or keep it folded, as a special object on your bookcase.”

A scan of a crowd shot. Part of Photoworks Festival
© Lotte Andersen, Maxilla Crowd Scan, 2015

Meet the artists

Designed by Swiss artists Gilliane Cachin and Joshua Schenkel, the festival in a box includes artworks by:

  • Farah Al Qasimi
  • Lotte Andersen
  • Poulomi Basu
  • Roger Eberhard
  • Ivars Gravlejs
  • Pixy Liao
  • Alix Marie
  • Ronan Mckenzie
  • Sethembile Msezane
  • Alberta Whittle
  • Guanyu Xu

Boxes have already been sent to schools, universities, institutions and artists including:

  • GOMA
  • Stills
  • Maison Européenne de la Photographie
  • Aperture
  • The Museum of Photography
  • Loading Diyarbakır
  • Jerwood Arts
  • Calvert 22.

Keep an eye on Photoworks’ website and the partners’ own digital channels for news of how the boxes will be showcased.

A man holds a T-shirt partly over another man's head. Part of the Photoworks Festival.
© Guanyu Xu, Removal from the series One Land To Another, 2014–8. Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery

Festival events

Photoworks’ digital platforms will be transformed into a festival hub throughout October.

Events, artist films, podcasts and special content will connect the ‘festival in a box’ within the virtual realm.

A collaboration with Aperture brings Diana Markosian together with Mavlian.

Their ‘unboxing’ workshops will demonstrate interactive ways to curate the box.

Virtual festival tours will allow audiences to explore the Photoworks Festival with the curatorial team.

Festival artists will be in conversation via a series of Instagram Lives throughout October.

A practical workshop on environmental photographic practices will take place, along with a series of portfolio reviews for practising artists.

A new issue of Photoworks’ online magazine Photography+ will be published at the end of the festival.

A blue figure kneels among smashed coconuts and money.
© Alberta Whittle, C.R.E.A.M., from Business as Usual series, 2017

Photoworks Festival

Photoworks Festival is the reshaping of one of the UK’s longest running photography festivals – Brighton Photo Biennial.

The Photoworks Festival forms part of Photoworks’ 25th anniversary year.

It is a major component of Alternative Narratives, the Photoworks programming theme for 2020.

Led by Mavlian and grounded in ten years of curatorial research, Alternative Narratives attempts to rework traditional histories and rethink cultural hierarchies.

It supports artists whose work has been lesser seen and under-acknowledged.

The festival challenges the idea of a linear narrative of photography.

Instead it suggests a more complex and interconnected revisionist history which helps build a fuller and more nuanced story.

Photoworks Festival Propositions for Alternative Narratives is curated by Shoair Mavlian, Julia Bunnemann and Raquel Villar-Pérez.

Click here to reserve a box.