Organizers of the inaugural Women Photographers International Archive (WOPHA) Congress are inviting womens photography organizations and artists from around the world to explore the contributions of women and non-binary photographers during a two-day festival later this year.
The event, titled Women, Photography, and Feminisms, is scheduled to take place at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and online November 18-9 – with the aim of “rewriting the established artistic canon and provoking social change.” The congress is co-presented by WOPHA and PAMM, and is free and open to all.
More than 25 internationally-recognized scholars and artists – including Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature at Brown University; Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, co-founder of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora;Elizabeth Ferrer, writer and curator; and Anna Fox, founder of Fast Forward: Women in Photography – are expected to participate in the two-day interactive congress.
The festival is also expected to feature other esteemed speakers, including Roxana Marcoci, senior curator of Photography at MoMA; Abigail Solomon-Godeau, professor emerita at University of California; Maggie Steber, award-winning documentary photographer, and Deborah Willis, professor of Photography and Imaging at NYU.
Organizers said the congress will bring to center stage the idea of photography as a collaborative practice, and address topics of feminist aesthetics, the decolonization of archives and curatorial strategies. Seminal and emerging research about women photographers’ work and institutional structures will be presented.
WOPHA Founder and Director, Latinx art historian, and curator Aldeide Delgado conceptualized the congress, which will serve as a dialogue, celebration and critical debate about women’s contributions to modern and contemporary art.
"I believe in the power of photography as a political force to rearrange the structure of power and domination of society," Delgado said, in a statement.
Delgado explained that she was inspired by the legacy of the Female Division of the Cuban Photography Club, which she said broadened the possibilities for creation and recognition of the artistic praxis of women in the public space.
“In this same vein, I have conceived the WOPHA Congress as a space that will render women photographers visible while advancing critical debate about modern and contemporary photography by women and non-binary practitioners," Delgado said.
The event is also being organized with the guidance of an Advisory Committee, comprising international photography curators and industry leaders: Idurre Alonso, an associate curator of Latin American Collections at the Getty Research Institute; Mane Adaro, the director and editor of Atlas: Visual Imaginary as well as an art historian and curator; the late Maurice Berger, a writer, cultural historian and curator; Alpesh Kantilal Patel, associate professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at Florida International University (FIU); and Marie Vickles, director of Education at PAMM.
In addition to programming at PAMM, photography exhibitions and related events are slated to be held around Miami.
PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans called the museum an “ideal place” to hold the events.
“As a relatively young institution, PAMM’s commitment to photography has been integrally ingrained in the life of the institution, since we became a collecting museum in 1994,” Sirmans said in a statement.
Organizers said August 28 that they were monitoring the situation carefully with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, and will follow CDC, state, and local guidance. A notice would be posted on the website if any plans for in-person are changed.