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RAI Photographic Salon – The Archive and Potential History

Thursday 12 October 2023 at 6.00pm BST


 The RAI Photographic Committee invites you to attend our fourth photography salon, a convivial and informal evening of conversation and drinks exploring the relationship between anthropology and photography. Every participant will have the opportunity to talk about their work for no more than five minutes.

This salon is focused on photographic archives and the concept of ‘potential history’. What do photographs in the archive afford? What actions do they make possible? What were the possibilities that motivated the use of photography in anthropological fieldwork historically? What are the contemporary possibilities afforded by photographic archives?

“Potential history is a form of being with others, both living and dead, across time, against the separation of the past from the present, colonized peoples from their worlds and possessions, and history from politics.” Ariella Asha Azoulay

Linked with Andrei Nacu’s “GRID – anthropometric photographs and potential history” exhibition, currently on display at the RAI, we invite you to discuss this theme through your own photographic practice or research, and then to explore it in relation to archival collections at the RAI. All are welcome, but we particularly encourage participation from early career researchers and graduate students.

Please email Andrei Nacu (ANacu@therai.org.uk) to register interest and be prepared to contribute with an image from your practice/research and discuss its potential history.


Location: Royal Anthropological Institute

50 Fitzroy Street









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