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Signals, Festival of Women Photographers

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Signals, the Festival of Women Photographers ran from September to October 1994.[1] The festival held over 400 events across the United Kingdom, with related events elsewhere in Europe. Among the events were exhibitions held at the Barbican Gallery, London, mac, Birmingham, the Manchester City Art Gallery, Stills, Edinburgh and the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The festival aimed to make a space for women photographers in gallery and museum collections, and encourage a culture of collecting, exhibiting and writing about women's photography.[2]

The theme of the festival was 'Europe', related to the opening of the Channel tunnel that year. Among the events was a conference at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, now the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford titled 'Messages from Europe: Image, Art, Media', held 28–30 October 1994.[3]

The festival sought to move away from London centrism, and engaged with regional organisations and institutions through an open call for submissions.[4]


The festival was guided by a Steering Committee, consisting of Grace Robertson (chair), Ruth Charity, Anna Fox, Genevieve Fox, Sue Grayson-Ford, Joy Gregory, Amanda Hopkinson, Brigitte Lardinois, Grace Lau, Michael Ann Mullen, Maggie Murray, Shirely[dubious ] Read and Val Williams.[3]

In addition, the patrons were Dorothy Bohm, Professor Margaret Harker, Mark Haworth-Booth, Wolfgang Suschitzky and Sue Davies.

Monika Baker was later brought on as Festival Co-ordinator. Among the regional co-ordinators was Liz Nicol for the South West, Anne McNeill for the South East and Bernardine Evaristo for London.[3]

Exhibitions and events[edit]

The exhibitions and events held as part of the festival included, but were not limited to:

  • Inge Morath: Photographs 1952–1992, Royal Photographic Society, Bath (8 October – 27 November), curated by Carole Sartain[5]
  • 20 Women; 50 Photographs, Royal Photographic Society, Bath (8 October – 27 November), curated by Pam Roberts
  • Madame Yevonde, mac, Birmingham (1 October – 6 November)
  • Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen: My Finnish Roots, Abbey Sports Centre, Durham (1 September – 13 October)
  • Mme Yevonde: Be Original or Die, Huddersfield Art Gallery (13 August – 24 September)[6]
  • Moving Stations, Central Station, Wirral Line, Liverpool Underground (15–20 September)
  • Who's Looking at the Family?, Barbican Art Gallery, London (26 May – 4 September), curated by Val Williams, Brigitte Lardinois and Carol Baker
  • Lynne Silver: 1:1, Camerawork, London (29 September – 29 October)
  • Mise-en-scène, ICA, London (13 October – 27 November)
  • Ingird[dubious ] Pollard, Lee Valley Leisure Centre (19 September – 23 October)
  • Edwardian Women Photographers, National Portrait Gallery, London (8 July – 15 September), curated by Terence Pepper[7]
  • Jo Spence: Matters of Concern, Collaborative Images, 1982–1992, Royal Festival Hall, London (7 September – 16 October), curated by Shirley Read
  • Lee Miller: War Correspondent, Maidstone Library Gallery (12 September – 1 October)
  • Cindy Sherman, Manchester City Art Gallery (17 September – 6 November)
  • Grace Robertson: Mother's Day Off, Northern Arts, Newcastle upon Tyne (1 September – 13 October)
  • Occupying Territories, Zone Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne (2 September – 16 October)
  • Strange Territory, MoMA, Oxford (2 October – 31 December)
  • Viewfindings, Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance (2–16 October), curated by Liz Wells[8]
  • Chimera, Focal Point, Southend-on-Sea (26 August – 13 October)[9]
  • Touched by Light, Stoke-on-Trent City Museum (10 September – 6 November)
  • Annie Leibowitz: Photographs 1970–1990, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (26 August – 13 November)
  • Face Values, Dumfries and Galloway – Scottish Arts Council Travelling Gallery (13 September – 8 October)
  • Maud Sulter: Syrcase, Portfolio Gallery, Edinburgh (13 August – 17 September)


  1. "Delayed exposure: Feminist issues take a backseat to eye-catching". The Independent. 1994-08-08. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  2. Wells, Liz (2000). Photography: A Critical Introduction. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-19058-9. Search this book on
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Signals: Festival of Women Photographers. Interchange Studios. 1994. Search this book on
  4. Papers[full citation needed] at the Val Williams Archive, Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol.
  5. "Inge Morath: Photographs 1952–1992". The Photographic Journal. Vol. 134. Royal Photographic Society. October 1994. pp. 382–383. Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  6. Salway, Kate (1994-11-01). "Colour combinations: at a time When photos were black and white, Kate Salway introduces the full colour world of Madame Yevonde". Women's Art Magazine (61): 25–27.
  7. "Edwardian Women Photographers: Eveleen Myers, Alice Hughes, Christina Broom and Olive Edis - National Portrait Gallery". Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  8. Wells, Liz (1994). Viewfindings: Women Photographers: Landscape and Environment. Available Light. ISBN 978-1-899457-00-7. Search this book on
  9. Meskimmon, Marsha (1997). Engendering the City: Women Artists and Urban Space. Scarlet Press. ISBN 978-1-85727-098-3. Search this book on

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