FT Weekend Presents: Shining Lights – Joy Gregory on Black Women Photographers in 1980s–90s Britain

Wednesday 15 May 2024
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Screening Room

Claudette Holmes, Shirley, montage, 1990, from Shining Lights by Joy Gregory (ed.) (MACK, 2024). Courtesy of the artist and MACK

From Ingrid Pollard’s collages exploring the idealised male body to Carole Wright’s studies of community life in South London, the ground-breaking work made by black women photographers in the 1980s and 1990s has long been overlooked.

Joy Gregory, one of the period’s most influential photographic artists and the editor of Shining Lights, a new critical anthology on the era published by Mack, chairs a panel discussion on the communities, experiments, collaborations, and complexities that defined the decades with Ingrid Pollard, Carole Wright, and Roshini Kempadoo. The talk will be introduced by Baya Simons.

Ticket Price: Free with Photo London Ticket


Please note, tickets are free of charge to Photo London ticket holders, and pre-registration is strongly advised to avoid disappointment. 




Joy Gregory

Joy Gregory, a graduate of Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, has developed a practice focused on social and political issues, particularly exploring history and cultural differences in contemporary society. One of her notable contributions is challenging the conventional notions of beauty and its language in relation to race and gender. Autoportrait 1990, for example, comprises of a series of self-portraits of the artist made in response to the lack of presentations of Black women’s beauty. It was published time in Ten8’s ‘Critical Decade’ accompanied by Stuart Hall’s essay on representation. Gregory is associated with Black British photography movement, alongside artists such as Sunil Gupta and Roshini Kempadoo who were also considering notions of cultural difference through their photography. Gregory has worked closely with Autograph, the Association of Black Photographers, with whom she continues to associate to date.

Born in the UK to Jamaican parents, she has always been intrigued by the impact of European history and colonization on global perceptions of identity, memory, folklore, and traditional knowledge. As a photographer, she employs various media, including video, digital and analogue photography, and Victorian print processes. In 2002, Gregory was awarded the NESTA Fellowship, which provided her with the time and freedom to research a significant project on language endangerment. The first installment of this series was the video piece titled “Gomera,” which premiered at the Sydney Biennale in May 2010.

For nearly three decades, Joy has been involved in art education and served as an Honorary Research Associate at the Slade School of Art [UCL], where she developed new work for the Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. In 2019, she received commissions from the Black Cultural Archives to create a new work celebrating the accomplishments of prominent black British Women including Linda Dobbs and Baroness Doreen Lawrence and thein from Autograph (ABP) in 2021 to respond to health, well-being, and the coronavirus pandemic. More recently, Gregory has exhibited in A Tall Order, at Rochdale Art Gallery, and undertook a commission at William Morris gallery in 2022. In the fall of 2023 she was a Visiting Scholar at Yale Centre of British Art in the USA.

Additionally, she is currently working on commissions for The Imperial Health Trust and Art on the Underground, both of which focus on community health and well-being.

Gregory has received numerous awards and has exhibited her work worldwide, participating in various festivals and biennales. In 2019, she was honoured with an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society.  She and Whitechapel Gallery are the winners of Freelands Award 2023 with a major solo show opening in Autumn 2025.

Her work can be found in esteemed collections such as the UK Arts Council Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia, and Yale British Art Collection. Currently residing and working in London, she teaches Fine Art Photography at Camberwell School of Art, University of the Arts London.  Gregory is editor of the book Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s–90s Britain (published 2024), the first anthology in the field in which her work also features.


Ingrid Pollard

Ingrid Pollard (born 1953) is a British artist and photographer. Her work uses portraiture photography and traditional landscape imagery to explore social constructs such as Britishness or racial difference. Pollard is associated with Autograph, the Association of Black Photographers. She lives and works in London.

In the 1980s, Pollard produced a series of photographs of black people in rural landscapes, entitled Pastoral Interludes. The works challenge the way that English culture places black people in cities.

From 2005 to 2007, she curated Tradewinds2007, an international residency exhibition project with an exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands. She has participated in group exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Pollard has worked as an artist in residence at a number of organisations, including Lee Valley Park Authority, London (1994), Cumbria National Park (1998), Wysing Arts, Cambridge (2000), Chenderit School, Oxfordshire (2008), and Croydon College (2011). She has also held numerous teaching positions and is currently a lecturer in Photography at Kingston University. Pollard is a member of the Mapping Spectral Traces research group. In 2016 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018, she was the inaugural Stuart Hall Associate Fellow at the University of Sussex.


Roshini Kempadoo

Roshini describes herself as a photographer, media artist and scholar and is active in all fields, making and exhibiting art and working as a Professor at the University of Westminster, School of Arts, London. She characterises her artworks as ‘factual and fictional re-imaginings of everyday experiences, histories and memories by Caribbean persons and its diaspora’. She evokes women’s perspectives, through photographs, fictional writings, recordings, music, interactivity and networked environments. Roshini’s current research and artistic practice explores Caribbean extraction, sustainability and ecological activism developing feminist audio-visual methodologies that focus on persons of colour, black and indigenous life experiences.

Roshini was born in Sussex England now living and working in London, spending her formative years living in Guyana and other Caribbean nations including Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad. She completed an MA in Photographic Studies at the University of Derby and her PhD at Goldsmiths College, University of London, England.

Between 1983 and 2003, Roshini was part of Format Photographers Agency where she specialised in documenting black communities, women’s groups and trade union activism. In the late 1980s she was instrumental in founding the Association of Black Photographers (now Autograph ABP) and was actively involved in developing the photography magazine Ten.8 International Magazine, Birmingham.

Current/recent exhibition and scholarly work include: The World that Belongs to Us, New Art Gallery, Walsall, 24 November — 9 June 2024; Women in Revolt! Art and Activism in the UK 1970 – 1990, Tate Britain, London, 8 November – 7 April 2024; Life Between Islands – Caribbean-British Art 1950s – Now, Tate Britain, London (2022); Fragments of Epic Memory, Art Gallery Ontario (AGO), Toronto (2021); Thirteen Ways of Looking, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, UK, (2020); Like Gold Dust, Artpace International Artist-in-Residence (IAIR), San Antonio, (2019); Itinerant Imaginaries (2021) a seminar series convened by Creating Interference an international research network investigating contemporary artworks as creative responses to memories and historical narratives; ‘Imagining Activism, Black, Gold, Dust’ Kunstlicht journal The Worldliness of Oil, vol. 42, no. 3/4, 2021; Passion, Maud Sulter for Aperture Photobook Review 018/Fall 2020; and the monograph Creole in the Archive: Imagery, Presence and Location of the Caribbean Figure, (2016).


Carole Wright

Carole Wright manages Peabody Blackfriars and Brookwood Triangle community gardens in Southwark, South London.In 2020 Carole initiated the Blak Outside project, a grassroots led, intergenerational, supportive of social housing residents, QTIBIPOC (queer, trans, intersex, Black, indigenous people of colour). The project will build on existing work, particularly the thirty four years of community work by Carole to provide a long term legacy within the communities where she lives and works.