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2024 Annual Conference

St. Louis

March 21-23, 2024

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"What does this have to do with photography?" The early years of the SPE Women's Caucus

Invited Panel, moderated by Ariel Evans

Saturday, March 18 - 9:00AM to 10:45AM
Grand Ballroom I

Photography Network and the Society for Photographic Education are pleased to announce their co-sponsorship of the panel "'What does this have to do with photography?' The early years of the SPE Women's Caucus" at "Homecoming," the 2023 SPE Annual Conference.

This program brings together early Caucus organizers Martha Rosler, Linda Brooks, and Catherine Lord in discussion about the formation of the SPE Women's Caucus in 1980, its early initiatives, and its contemporary significance. From 1980 to today, the SPE Women's Caucus has advanced women's equitable representation in the discipline of photography. Early Caucus members developed varied interventions—including guest-edited magazine issues, lectures, conference panels, job surveys, and more—to demand that SPE conferences and publications include women artists and feminist issues. Through wide-ranging efforts, Caucus members powerfully demonstrated that photographic education's seemingly apolitical aesthetic criteria, histories, and practices had long relied on and supported patriarchy and white supremacy. Demanding change, the Women's Caucus envisioned and propagated new forms of photographic practice.

Moderated by art historian Ariel Evans, this panel will survey the group's successes and challenges in transforming the SPE and the larger art world. On the occasion of the SPE's sixtieth anniversary and in light of ongoing efforts by feminists to achieve equity in the artworld, this panel unfolds the Women's Caucus' generative history within contemporary art and photography. The national conference's theme, "homecoming," necessitates questions around who is welcome inside photography's home—our professional spheres and discursive spaces—and suggests that such matters undergird the medium's history, meaning, and practice. To retroactively answer a heckler's question at an early Caucus event, "What does this have to do with photography?," this panel responds: everything.


 Catherine Lord
Catherine Lord
 Martha Rosler
Martha Rosler
Ariel Evans
Ariel Evans
Linda  Brooks
Linda Brooks

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