Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Julia Winckler's research sits across multiple strands:

Visual Culture, Photographic Archives

Memory, Migration, Contested Topographies, Exile Studies

Reactivating Archives through Artistic Interventions

Photography and Critical Pedagogy


Julia Winckler's research investigates archival traces within the context of collective memory and migration narratives and explores how neglected archival sources have the potential to reveal forgotten histories that can alter our understanding  of the past and present. Through the use of creative and interpretive visual approaches, using photography as a tool to think about historical experience, multiple articulations of memory and meaning are expressed, with the aim of generating new academic knowledge.

The author Ben Okri has described 'the artist [as] a conduit through which lost things are recovered' (2005); and Winckler's research methodology considers archival research as a material, embodied practice. Through extensive investigation in archival collections, material is gathered and a strategy is mapped out.  For her research projects, Winckler usually travels to the sites that hold cultural and historical significance.

Through reactivation and visualisation, using photography as the key medium, past memories are reframed and resituated in the present. Combining an archaeological with a genealogical approach, traces are documented; their significance to the present assessed, as some of the historical functions are lost or no longer important. The genealogical approach necessitates an investigation that starts in the present, a retracing of the journey, that is physical and experimental, setting up encounters and dialogues.

Lost and recovered narratives have been a key theme of Winckler's work to date. Memory and migration narratives of emigration (Two Sisters), exile and loss (Traces), exploration (Retracing Heinrich Barth), displacement (Leaving Atlantis), expedition/peregrination (My Canadian Pilgrimage) and interwar home-making (Fabricating Lureland)  have been visualized and probed using the language of photography. These projects have been disseminated through public exhibitions, at conferences, exhibition catalogue publications and public engagement workshops, as well as informing Winckler's teaching practice.

Over the past twenty years, Winckler has undertaken extensive work with and within communities in Hong Kong, West Africa, Canada and the UK to enable broader access to personal cultural heritage amongst disadvantaged areas and demographics. She has sought to improve inclusivity of knowledge production and to reanimate disconnected or underdeveloped narratives and histories. Oscillating between photographic and archival research, photography is mobilized to reconstruct collective memories and give them a renewed cultural presence.

Until August 2023, she was co-research lead, with Dr. Uschi Klein, for the Visual Culture, History and Memory strand at the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories, UofB's  research centre.

The Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories was discontinued in 2023, following, from its founding in 2008, a significant history of investigations into the complex relationships between past, present and future, foregrounding subordinate and marginalised history and memory in relation to official narrative, and focusing on questions of power, identity and experience. The archive of the centre's many years of seminars, conferences and initiatives is available at the online blogsite.



Supervisory Interests

Julia Winckler's interdisciplinary research focuses on working with visual archives and collections. Memory and migration narratives, contested topographies, exile studies, co-production of knowledge and photography & activism are particular areas of interest. 

For PhD applicants:

Winckler currently co-supervises six Phd students at the University of Brighton and one Phd student at the University of Salzburg. Two of these Phd projects are practice-based; one is Techne funded, a second is an AHRC CPD studentship. 

Winckler welcomes Phd inquiries that interact with any of the following: 

Working with Archives and Collections: Photographic archives, Community archives, Museums, Private Collections

Memory Studies: Postmemory, transnational memory, cultural memory, communicative memory, personal memory

Art practice as research: visual, creative and ethnographic research methods/photo voice/photo elicitation/digital media technologies, site-specific interventions

Co-production of knowledge: popular education methodology, participatory methods, oral history, histoire croisée/regards croisés methodologies

Photography and activism: community art practice (global, historical & contemporary) and critical pedagogy

Photographers in Exile in Britain: contributions made by emigrés to the field of Applied Arts




Scholarly biography

Julia Winckler is a photographer, academic, experienced participatory arts facilitator, curriculum developer and principal lecturer at the University of Brighton, School of Media, where she has worked since 2004.

Between 2009-2011 she also worked as a Teaching Fellow at SOAS, Department of Anthropology and Sociology.

Winckler has exhibited widely, including at the Motorenhalle, Dresden (2018),  Brunei Gallery, SOAS (Retracing Heinrich Barth, 2008) and the Austrian Cultural Forum, London (Traces, 2012). She has been an Art Education Consultant since 2006, with regular engagements on the TOE (Through Our Eyes) program, run between 2014-2018 by the Kaitak Research Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University and before that, by the Robert H.N.Ho Foundation. 

Winckler's interdisciplinary research brings together knowledge gained from degrees in African Studies & Anthropology and Social Work at the University of Toronto  and Photography at the University of Brighton. 

In her monograph Fabricating Lureland, published in De Gruyter's cultural memory series (2022), Winckler interrogates a previously underexplored archival collection through visual and creative research methods combined with oral history. Focusing on the interwar period and tracing mutating agendas, the book investigates the construction of a speculative development and tracks the visual programme of the in-house magazine, Peacehaven Post, alongside blueprints and promotional guidebooks. The resarch explores the garden city narrative as a form of social Utopia and reconstitutes a historical context, revisiting propositions of the time, which aspired to secure improved public health and home ownership in direct response to the negative impact of industrialization and WWI.

Recent reviews:

Dennis Hardy, author of Utopian England in the journal Planning Perspectives

Prof Lizzie Thynne in the journal Visual Studies:

Louise Peskett in Oral History Journal:

Contested topographies and cross-cultural narratives of exile and hybridity have also been explored through writing and publishing in other contexts, including Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Internee: Fred Uhlman in Captivity (2009), a co-authored book (with Charmian Brinson and Anna Müller-Härlin) that explores the role of the artist/witness during WWII.

With generous research support by Prof. Paul Newman and the late Prof. Tony Kirke-Greene, Winckler was able to revive the extraordinary life story of James Henry Dorugu and turn it into the extensive journal article 'Regards Croisées: James Henry Dorugu’s 19th century European Journey'. This work built on her photographic project Retracing Heinrich Barth. The essay was subsequently translated by German charity Mate Ni Kane into French and German in order to disseminate it to communities across Niger. Winckler was invited to write an introduction, ‘Dorougou, un fils de la region de Zinder’ for Tarihin Dorugu – Histoire de Dorougou published in French and Hausa by Albasa in Niamey, Niger (2015). This book reintroduces the story of Dorugu to young people across Niger and ensures that future generations know the story of this remarkable and brave early African explorer, who also came to Europe. 

Other recent publications, foregrounding the contribution of photographers in exile -  in particular the work of Wolf Suschitzky -  include ‘Man Aspires’: revisiting the early years of nine British post-war New Towns through the lens of photographer Wolf Suschitzky' (in Wolf Suschitzky Contact Books/New Towns 1959), published by FOTOHOF archives, Salzburg, 2023); the chapter 'That Baby: Wolf Suschitzky and Liselotte Frankl’s pioneering children’s photo story book' in Innocence and Experience: Childhood and the 1930s emigrés (Peter Lang, 2024); 'Making Friends: Wolf Suschitzky's Tierfotografien im Prisma des Exils'  in Mensch und Tier in Reflexionen des Exils (De Gruyter, 2021); 'Quite Content to be called a good craftsman': an exploration of some of Wolf Suschitzky's extensive contributions to the field of applied photography' for Applied Arts in British Exile from 1933: Changing Visual and Material Culture (Brill, 2019);  'The first rule of photography is patience: the photographs of Wolf Suschitzky' in Seven Decades of Photography (SYNEMA, 2014).

Between 2013-2017 Winckler was co-researcher, with Prof Adrienne Chambon, Prof Vid Ingelevics, Prof Ernie Lightman, and Beth Good and Mary Anderson on the SSHRC funded Children of the City: from Street to Playground, which mobilized a collection of archival photographs of urban street scenes taken in Toronto at the turn of the last century.

 ‘Compelling Evidence: mobilizing the Carlton Hill photographic archive’, published in Visual Methodologies (2017) and co-written with Adrienne Chambon and supported by Selma Montford, describes the team's associated exhibition 'Carlton Hill: the children of Brighton’s displaced community' (exhibited at Brighton's Jubilee Library, 2016; University Catholica, Lisbon, 2016).

As part of this grant Winckler co-curated the exhibition' From Streets to Playgrounds' (2016-17) at the City of Toronto Archives Gallery, which included an extensive education program. She initiated and curated the exhibition 'Photographic Memories - Lost Corners of Paris: The Children of Cité Lesage-Bullourde and Boulogne-Billancourt' at the Alliance Francaise Pierre Leon Gallery in Toronto. This featured photographs taken in Paris in the early 1950s, by the pionnering photographer Marilyn Stafford (1925-2023), many of which were exhibited for the first time and attracted substantial media attention. These photographs were also shown in Paris at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Maison de la Recherche (2020) where they formed the focus of a research symposium in November 2020 that Winckler initiated and organized with support from Prof. Henri Scepi and Patrice Roland at the Maison de la Recherche. 

The full webinar can be viewed here:

The exhibition is accompanied by a new research catalogue, Les Enfants de la Cité Lesage-Bullourde et Boulogne Billancourt, Paris, 1950’s (2020). 

In 2022, Winckler published a new essay on the cultural significance of Marilyn Stafford's Cité Lesage-Bullourde photographs, commissioned by Dr. Kylie Thomas for a special issue on Photography and Resistance in the peer-reviewed journal MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture.



Approach to teaching

Julia Winckler is an active PhD supervisor and APR reader. She is also an external examiner and has examined MA dissertations at Canterbury Christ Church University and a practice-based PhD at Birkbeck.  

Between 2019 - 2022, Winckler was course leader for MA Digital Media, Culture & Society, developed in 2008 as MA Creative Media.

On the MA DMCS, Winckler continues to module lead two mandatory research modules:  MJM01 Practicing Media Research and MJM90 Research Dissertations. She also leads  MJM07 Participatory Media Production for Social Change, a module that offers theoretical, historical and international perspectives to co-production and promotes social engagement and working in partnership with local and national charities. 

Winckler also teaches on MA Photography.  Across the years, she has developed many new modules; for example, she was module leader on BA Photography for several practice-based modules, including Experimental Archaeology,  a module on reactivating photographic archives. For many years, she also taught into a journalism module, highlighting the importance of socially engaged photography and active citizenship and developed and then convened the mandatory professional practice module on BA Photography for more than a decade. 

Despite having worked at UoB since 2004, Winckler continues to discover new and rewarding ways of teaching and facilitation and has frequently been nominated for teaching awards (in the inspirational teaching award category and for the Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning award).

Prior to working at the University of Brighton, Winckler taught photography at Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University. She has also run international photography masterclasses, including at Dresden Summer Academy of Visual Arts.




Knowledge exchange

Most of Julia Winckler's solo and collaborative projects have educational and participatory elements. As an art education consultant with artists undergoing training to become educators, Winckler has coached artists to develop curricula that inspire and encourage students’ creativity and independence through the arts. Much of Winckler's work is interdisciplinary, based on models of co-production of knowledge and she has engaged with communities outside of Academia and in many parts of the world. She exchanges resources and knowledge with colleagues in academic and community settings on a regular basis.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Fabricating Lureland: A history of the imagination and memory of Peacehaven during the interwar period , University of Brighton

Master, Unpacking the tucked away suitcase: reclaiming immigrant women's experiences, University of Toronto

Bachelor, Anthropology and African Studies Joint Honours , University of Toronto

External positions

Trustee at SEAS


Art education consultant

2006 → …


  • TR Photography
  • visual methods
  • photographic archives
  • photography
  • visual culture
  • contested topographies
  • exile studies
  • memory studies
  • cultural memory


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