Urban Photography Summer School 2013.

Urban Photography Summer School 19-31 August, 2013.

Designed for photographers, artists and urbanists whose work address notions of urban space and culture, the international Summer School provides a highly intensive two-week practical and theoretical training in key aspects of urban visual practice. The course aims to offer participants a wide range of relevant skills resulting in the production of a photography portfolio drawn from London’s urban environments, combined with a collective final exhibition.

The programme has been developed in collaboration with Urban Encounters (Tate Britain), the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR), Photofusion and the International Association of Visual Urbanists (iAVU). The course is taught by experienced tutors from Goldsmith’s top-ranked Sociology Department and the international MA in Photography and Urban Cultures. The programme draws on the advanced theoretical, research and practical image-making specialisms of key practitioners in the field.

Summer School tutors include: Paul Halliday (MA in Photography and Urban Cultures Course Leader),Beatriz Véliz Argueta (Coordinator/Goldsmiths), Les Back (Goldsmiths), Caroline Knowles (CUCR Director), Mandy Lee Jandrell (Southampton Solent University/Goldsmiths), Peter Coles (Oxford/ Goldsmiths), Alex Rhys-Taylor (Goldsmiths), Manuel Vazquez (Goldsmiths),  Laura Cuch (Goldsmiths) and Jasmine Cheng (Goldsmiths).

The programme will explore how the practice of urban image making informs the development of a reflexive and critical research perspective and will include assignments and guided fieldtrips focusing on(1) urban landscapes, (2)  street-based photography and (3) material objects. 

The Summer School will take place from 19 – 31 August 2013. Deadline for applying is June 10. 

The Summer School will provide participants with a structured framework of theoretical talks, discussions and debates, visual presentations, critiques and assignments culminating in a self directed visual project focusing on the urban domain. This will lead to the development of a photographic portfolio reflecting their individual interest and visual practice in relation to urban research. Participants may wish to use this portfolio for the accumulation of degree credits, as a portfolio when applying for a further degree programme, or as a form of visual and theoretical self-development. At the end of the Summer School a curated salon exhibition will be organized from a selection of participants’ photographs. Previous participants have gone on to successfully apply for MA programmes in photography or related visual programmes (including the MA PUC at Goldsmiths, University of London) or to use the intensive programme as part of their doctoral visual training component. Other summer school members have included undergraduate students from social science and visual arts backgrounds who wish to expand their knowledge of the field and to work on an intensive, highly focused visual outcome. 



This course will be particularly relevant to those with an interest in the visual representations and evocations of city and urban spaces. The Summer School aims to foster an international learning and creative environment in order to facilitate synthesis between urban theory and photographic practice. Designed for photographers, artists and ethnographers who address notions of urban space and culture, the program will explore how the practice of making urban images might inform the development of a reflexive and critical research perspective.

The course is open to participants from a wide range of educational and practice backgrounds and encourages a degree of experimentation around what constitutes contemporary urban photographic practices. Applicants will need to have sound photographic skills prior to commencing the programme and are required to submit a sample portfolio of their own work (max. 10 images) along with an outline statement of their interest in urban visual practice (max. 300 words).

We aim to recruit a wide range of practitioners with an active involvement in debates around the nature of city spaces and how photographic images might not only convey meaning but can also be used to construct a narrative of urban space. 

Course structure.

  • WEEK 1
    • Introduction to key themes in urban photography
    • Urban landscapes and the built environment
    • Assignment 1 (London’s urban landscapes)
    • Material objects and their social meanings
    • Assignment 2 (Found objects)
    • Street-based photography
    • Assignment 3 (Imaging the Street)
    • Review of visual work
  • WEEK 2
    • Individual project description and critique
    • Project fieldwork
    • Project review 

In addition to further theoretical discussions the second week will focus on participants’ self-directed visual projects. They are encouraged to select an area of urban photography addressing a key issue. This might be street photography, signs and advertising in urban space, urban architecture, urban landscapes and material objects. The main objective is to facilitate a conceptual and creative link between urban theory and visual practice framing it within a critical analysis of urban theory. At the end of the second week, course members work on a collective salon exhibition with the design curator

iUPSS Pre-sessional (Refresher) Workshop.

An additional workshop to refresh or consolidate practice and theory will be offered prior to commencing the Summer School. This is an intensive two-day optional course that includes practical assignments and focuses on composition, exposure, lighting and working with digital and analog cameras. This  Pre-sessional workshop has an additional cost of £250 with a reduction of £50 for those enrolled on the iUPSS programme by the general deadline of June 10.



Paul is a photographer, filmmaker and sociologist based at Goldsmiths, University of London. He initially trained in photojournalism and fine art film at the London College of Communication (LCC), and Central Saint Martins Art School. He also studied social anthropology, art history and Archaeology at Goldsmiths, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. His main research and visual practice interests are focused on urban photography, visual research methods, urban materialities, the sociology and cultures of art practice, film ethnography. His professional experience includes having directed a Channel Four TV documentary, freelance photographic projects for The Guardian and Independent Magazine along with various media and arts consultancies. He is also a former media advisor for the British Refugee Council, a founding director of the International Association of Visual Urbanists (iAVU) and a director of Photofusion. Paul is the course leader of the MA in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths and co-curates the Urban Encounters conference at Tate Britain.


Beatriz is a social scientist and photographer fascinated with storytelling. Her research focuses on remote globalization and post conflict societies. Her work integrates photography and ethnographic research in an effort to create new ways of reading the world. Her work has been exhibited in Germany, Guatemala, South Africa, India, France and Spain.She is Associate Research Fellow at the Center for Urban and Community Research and Cofounder and Coordinator of the Urban Photography Summer School. Beatriz is also Photoeditor of Bifurcaciones, Revista de Estudios Culturales Urbanos.


Les Back is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His main fields of interest are the sociology of racism, popular culture, photography and urban culture. His work attempts to create a sensuous and live sociology committed to searching for new modes of sociological writing and representation. This approach is outlined in his most recent book The Art of Listening (Berg 2007). He is also the author of Out of Whiteness: Color, Politics and Culture, among many other publications.


Caroline Knowles is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR). Her research focuses on visual sociology including spatial and biographical methods, ethnicity, globalization and urban space. She recently completed ‘Landscapes of Belonging’ a British Academy funded project with Douglas Harper, investigating British and South East Asian migrants in Hong Kong. She is currently working with Roger Hewitt and colleagues in Hamburg and Bergen on ‘The Architecture of Religious Transmission’. Also working with artist Michael Tan of Nanying Technological University in Singapore, on ‘Footwear and Social Fabrics’, an ‘object biography’ of the life-worlds and journeys of a pair of flip flop sandals from their production in China and consumption in Ethiopia, funded by the British Academy.


Born in South Africa, Mandy Lee Jandrell is an artist now based in the UK. In projects such as ‘Eidyllion’, Jandrell photographs wildlife parks, theme parks, botanical gardens, historical recreation sites, etc. Her work examines the notion of nature as leisure activity within a consumer culture. Jandrell’s photographs expose a highly constructed manifestation of nature courtesy of the global leisure industries.  Jandrell’s photographs have been shown both in the UK and abroad, including The Serpentine Gallery, The Whitechapel Gallery, the Royal Academy of Art, London and the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. Her work is in several collections in the UK and South Africa, including the Government Art Collection (UK) and The South African National Gallery Collection. Jandrell’s photographs were most recently published in Edge of a Dream: Utopia, Landscape and Contemporary Photography. She completed her MA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in 2003 and is currently lecturer and Course Leader of Photography at Southampton Solent University. 


Peter Coles is a freelance photographer, editor, and journalist. While finishing a D.Phil on the psychology of visual perception at Wolfson College, Oxford, Peter was also visiting tutor in Design Research at the Royal College of Art and was involved in pioneering efforts to bring the arts into public buildings, especially hospitals. He moved to Paris in 1986, where he lived for 20 years, mostly writing for science magazines, including Nature, Science and New Scientist, before joining the editorial team of the UNESCO Courier and Sources magazines. During this time, Peter completed a major body of photographs called ‘Paris Traces’, looking at unconscious communication between people through the objects they abandon and marks they make in Paris streets and public places.  After travelling widely on reporting assignments for many years, Peter moved back to London in 2006. Over the past ten years he has become increasingly interested in urban nature – the ‘urban biosphere’. Since joining CUCR as a research fellow in 2007, he has run a series of photography workshops on this theme, often based on walks along Deptford Creek and the lower Lea Valley near Stratford. He is currently developing a long-term study of urban trees and is writing a global history of the Mulberry tree for Reaktion press. His photographs have been exhibited widely and are in a number of public and private collections.


Manuel is an award-winning fine art photographer focusing on the complexities of contemporary urban spaces and city life. He has been the recipient of several high-profile photographic commissions in recent years including a project focusing on the final months of the BBC’s Bush House. He previously completed the MA in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Manuel has participated in group exhibitions in New York, United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, Italy and Colombia. He was selected among the FLASH FORWARD- Emerging Photographers 2009 and also in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2008, where he exhibited pieces of the “Traces” series at the Liverpool Biennal. He has been a freelance photographer since 2005.


Laura Cuch is a documentary and fine art photographer as well as a researcher at the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, University of London. She currently teaches in the MA in Photography and Urban Cultures (which she graduated from in 2006) and the Urban Photography Summer School at Goldsmiths. In 2011 Laura was a Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, which led to a solo exhibition, as part of the East London Photo Festival, and the conference ‘Negotiating Subjectivities: A One-Day Symposium on Photography, Health and the Body’. Laura has also exhibited internationally, including exhibitions at Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Descubrimientos – PhotoEspaña 09, Centro Cultural Blanquerna, Arts Santa Mònica, H2O Gallery, Sala d’Art Jove, Talent Latent/Scan09, Espai Cavallers 31-33 and Emergent09, and has also exhibited in London at Goldsmiths, the Rich Mix Centre, Photofusion/AMPS08, The Viewfinder Gallery, Zoom In and City University. Her work has been published in Le Monde, Barcelona Metròpolis, EFE24, El Súmmum, Street Signs and London Independent Photography.


The deadline for application is June 10th. Applications after this date will be considered if spaces are available. To secure a place candidates are advised to apply early. There is a maximum of 30 places. Application forms are available to download online. Successful applicants will be informed shortly after. Full payment should be received by the end of July to confirm participation.The organizers of the Urban Photography Summer School reserve the right to cancel the course. In the event of such a cancellation enrolled Summer School participants will have their course fees fully reimbursed.

  • The fee for the Summer School for professionals/non-students is £1100.
  • The reduced fee for students is £900.
  • For students enrolled on the MA Photography and Urban Cultures Course at Goldsmiths the Summer School pre-sessional fee is £800. 

For further information & booking contact Beatriz Véliz Argueta, Summer School Coordinator at:

 Participants should bring their own laptops and cameras. Due to the duration of the course participants are advised to produce and edit their work digitally.

For those working with film a list of accessible professional laboratories will be provided on commencement. Please ensure that all equipment is covered by insurance as the Summer School is unable to take responsibility for items lost or stolen whilst attending or traveling to the course. 



Designed for photographers, artists and urbanists whose work address notions of urban space and culture, the international Summer School provides a highly intensive two-week practical and theoretical training in key aspects of urban visual practice. The course aims to offer participants a wide range of relevant skills resulting in the production of a photography portfolio […]

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