Virtual study event: Politics of portraiture - The Open College of the Arts
Explore #WeAreOCA
Skip Navigation

Virtual study event: Politics of portraiture

Join OCA tutor Arpita Shah for an insight into the ethics and politics of portraiture and community collaboration. Arpita is an established photographer whose work explores the intersections of culture and identity. As part of her practice she often collaborates with diverse communities making work about race, identity and representation. She will discuss her own practice to date and also highlight key contemporary photographers, which include Dawoud Bey, Margret Mitchell, Antony Luvera, Maud Sulter, Liz Hingley and Mahtab Hussain and discuss their varied methods and approaches to photographing people and communities. Students will also have opportunity to share one ongoing portraiture project with the tutor and group for mini critique at the end of the workshop. 

Arpita Shah_ Purdah Series (Hijab) 2013
The Azad Portrait of Home 2014 © Arpita Shah

This focused session will explore issues including:

 Ethical responsibility of photographers

 Intention and authenticity

 Socially engaged practice

 Developing, conducting and maintaining relationships 

 Rights and access

 Authorship and co-production

 Meaningful representation of people and different communities

The session will be held using Zoom on Friday 17 April 16:00 – 18:00. Places are limited, register your interest in attending by completing the booking form here.

Arpita Shah Bio

Arpita Shah is a photographic artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She works between photography and film, exploring the fields where culture and identity meet. As an India-born artist, Shah spent an earlier part of her life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This migratory experience is reflected in her practice, which often focuses on the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities.

She graduated from Napier University in Edinburgh in 2006. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Detroit Center of Contemporary Photography (2013); Tramway in Glasgow (2014); Focus Festival in Mumbai, India (2015); Chobi Mela IX in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2017); Autograph APB in London (2018) and Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow (2019). She is the recipient of the 2019 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence programme in Syracuse NY and her work is held at the National Galleries of Scotland. 

Her previous commissions include Creative Scotland (2014) to develop new work for the Commonwealth Games collaborating with diverse families across Scotland, and An Lanntair (2017) on her project ‘Copan Chai’ which explored the oral histories of Asian Hebrideans in the Isle of Lewis and Harris. Shah is currently developing new work across the Midlands exploring British Asian female identity commissioned by GRAIN Projects for a major exhibition in 2021. 


Featured image: The Mapira Family Portrait of Home 2014 © Arpita-Shah

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Posted by author: Arpita Shah
Share this post:

One thought on “Virtual study event: Politics of portraiture

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to blog listings