Picturing a New World: Postwar Photographic Internationalism at the United Nations and its Specialised Agencies, 1945-1975

Project Details


As the postwar world order took shape, with the formation of the United Nations (UN) in 1945 and UNESCO a year later, the medium of photography was called to serve an internationalist agenda. Believed by many at the time to offer a universal language, and uniquely suited to promoting mutual understanding between nations, photography was put to work not simply as propaganda but as a medium of postwar visual literacy and political imagination.

Looking beyond existing critiques of postwar photographic humanism, this study examines the formation of this internationalist photographic project, how was it conceptualised, organised and coordinated, the resources and networks on which it depended, the visual products it circulated, and how it evolved over time, not least in relation to decolonisation.

The project involves primary research in the document and visual archives of the UN and selected specialised agencies.
Effective start/end date1/05/2431/10/25


  • BA/Leverhulme


  • Photography
  • Internationalism
  • United Nations


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.