Northern Light was exhibited at the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA) gallery, 153 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU, England, from July 4 – July 31 2016.

The exhibition was curated by Michèle Lazenby to accompany a two day academic conference at the Sheffield Hallam University hosted by Dr Chris Goldie and Darcy White.

The conference and exhibition were organised by the Northern Light Photography Research Group based at Sheffield Hallam University and supported by the Department of Media Arts and Communication and the Art & Design Research Centre.

Website designed and created by Andrew Robinson

Research Context

The aim of both conference and exhibition was to initiate an exploration of the ways in which photographic images have addressed notions of a Northern landscape.  Scholars and artists engaged in a wide range of approaches were brought together, some working within established traditions of art and photography, others concerned with contemporary photographic practices.

The conference discussed a great diversity of territories and regions, including, Scotland, Northern England, Siberia, Canada, the Arctic and the Nordic lands. Themes included: the vernacular landscape; wilderness; landscape photography as a record of actuality or as conceived and imagined; and the relationship to painting, to the Northern Renaissance, and the Sublime. Established notions of landscape as visual observation from a distant and static perspective were challenged by the idea of a dynamic encounter with environment. The significance of walking for contemporary landscape photography was explored.

Many practitioners represented in the exhibition participated in the conference, several delivering papers in which their work was placed within a wider critical and theoretical context.  The conference was notable in achieving a dialogue between theory and practice, one of its primary objectives.

Both conference and exhibition mark a recognition of shared themes and interests related to landscape, the north and it's representation across the varied research practices of academics working on the MArt and BA(Hons) Photography courses at Sheffield Hallam University. These events mark the creation of the ‘Northern Light Photography Research Group’ whose aim is to provide opportunities for SHU academics to further their research practice through collaborative projects with other academics, practitioners and organisations in an ongoing exploration of the Northern Landscape.

A forthcoming book (winter 2017) - Northern Light: landscape, Photography and Evocations of the North, Chris Goldie and Darcy White (Eds) will draw upon a selection of papers from the conference, to explore further some of the key themes addressed.

A catalogue of a selection of work from the exhibition is also being prepared for publication in 2017 and will be available to buy via this site


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