Visualizing the Environmental Emergency – Contemporary Photography and Public Engagement

Virtual event


March 23, 2022
10:00–11:15AM EDT

Join VII Insider
Photo credit: PhEST

The power of photographs to engage the general public is complex and it has a global scope, when we talk about climate change and environmental crisis. Using sensational images to hook the audience in the story have often left the public distant and unengaged. Furthermore, most of the current photographic exhibition depicting urgent matters are displayed in museums and galleries, limiting access to the large public.

Now the question is: what are – not only the images – but also the places, formats, channels and supports we could possibly put in place in order to emotionally engage the public at large so we can increase concern and moved towards action? Can contemporary photography re-imagine its social role and go to public spaces beyond temporary open-air exhibitions?

The benefits of putting a work of art in a public space can be many: it can add visual quality to an environment, promote higher level of integration between art, architecture, landscape and institutions, increase cultural awareness, make works more easily reachable for the public, provide new jobs for free-lance artists, attract tourists, and generate a sense of pride and belonging for the citizens.

Above all this, is it possible to think of public spaces as canvases on which we could experiment and redefine the role of photography? Can we make public photography the language that translates important scientific and cultural messages to inspire a sustainable and cultural shift, by making people feel connected and engaged with the issue.

This event is curated by Maria Teresa Salvati, with guest speakers Arianna Rinaldo and Rosella Ferorelli, and is moderated by Dr Paul Lowe.
This event is supported by the Photography and the Archive Research Centre, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, and Everything is Connected

Arianna Rinaldo

Arianna Rinaldo is a freelance professional working with photography at a wide range. From 2012 to 2021 she was the artistic director of Cortona On The Move, international festival of visual narrative. Since 2016 she is the photography curator at PhEST, a festival of contemporary photography and arts in Puglia.

Rossella Ferorelli

Rossella Ferorelli (1984), Ph.D. in Architectural and Urban Design at Politecnico di Milano, researches the evolution of publicness in the post-digital city. Since 2019, Rosella works as a consulting Urban Designer at Comune di Milano, managing European projects about public space and active mobility.

Maria Teresa Salvati

Maria Teresa Salvati is founder and director of Everything is Connected, a trans-disciplinary platform that aims at connecting different areas of research, and experiments with new ways to involve and engage the public at large, learning through the results of experimentation and providing the community with new paradigms for communicating the environmental crisis.

Paul Lowe

, London
Dr. Paul Lowe is a Reader in Documentary Photography and the Course Leader of the Masters program in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK. Paul is an award-winning photographer who has been published in TIME, Newsweek, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer, and The Independent, amongst others. He has covered breaking news the world over, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela’s release, famine in Africa, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and the destruction of Grozny.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin