Personal profile

Research interests

Darren Newbury’s principal research interests lie in the relationship between photography, history, politics and cultural memory, with a particular concentration on Africa, and South Africa specifically. Significant publications include: Defiant Images: Photography and Apartheid South Africa (2009), a major monograph on photography during the apartheid period and its place in post-apartheid memorialisation; People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited (2013), a photobook based on the rediscovered collection of photographer Bryan Heseltine; and The African Photographic Archive: Research and Curatorial Strategies (2015), co-edited with Christopher Morton, a volume exploring new methodological approaches to researching and curating the photographic archive, in addition to its specifically African concerns. He has also co-edited a Special Issue of Visual Studies on ‘Photography and African Futures’ (2018) with Richard Vokes, which through a series of case studies examines how and why, from early colonial times onwards, states, institutions, political parties, civil society organizations and individual citizens used photography as a means for representing various kinds of imagined futures. In addition to academic publications, he has curated exhibitions at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (2011-12) and District Six Museum, Cape Town (2013-14), based on his photographic research.

He has also researched and published on the history of British documentary photography, photographic education and community photography practices. He has a long-standing interest in visual research methods and was editor of the international journal Visual Studies from 2003 to 2015.

He has recently edited a volume on Women and Photography in Africa, with Lorena Rizzo and Kylie Thomas; and his monograph Cold War Photographic Diplomacy: The U.S. Information Agency and Africa was published by Penn State University Press in 2024.

In 2020, he received the Royal Anthropological Institute Photography Committee Award for his distinguished contribution to the study of photography and anthropology.

Supervisory Interests

Professor Newbury is interested in supervising PhD projects related to his main areas of interest in photography, history, politics and memory, especially but not exclusively those with a focus on Africa. He also welcomes enquiries from applicants interested in researching any aspect of the history or practice of documentary and community photography and photographic education in Britain and elsewhere, and is open to proposals that encompass a range of historical, archival, theoretical and practice-led approaches to photography and visual culture.

He has supervised 25 PhD students to completion across photography history, theory and practice, as well as projects related to art education, public art and visual culture, and several Collaborative Doctoral Awards, including with Birmingham City Council, Belfast Exposed gallery and the Imperial War Museum. He has examined more than 30 PhDs, including at University of the Arts London, University of Cape Town, Edith Cowan University, Goldsmiths College, University of Greenwich, Tshwane University of Technology and University of the Western Cape.

Scholarly biography

Darren Newbury joined the University of Brighton in 2013 as Professor of Photographic History and Director of Postgraduate Studies. He initially studied photography and cultural studies at undergraduate and postgraduate level, before completing his PhD on photography and education in 1995, supported in part by the Arts Council of Great Britain. He was previously Reader and then Professor of Photography at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.

In addition to his photographic research, he has a long-standing engagement in the development of postgraduate research education and training, particularly in the arts and humanities. He has led projects on research training for art and design, including research ethics; and in the 2000s was a member of several Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) panels and committees for postgraduate research. In his Director of Doctoral Studies role at Brighton he led the University’s engagement in the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (techne) from 2013 to 2018.

In 2018 he was appointed to the REF 2021 Unit of Assessment for Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory (D32).

External positions

REF 2021 Panel Member, Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory (D32)

1 Jan 201931 Dec 2021


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