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Kate Hennessy


September 26, 2014

Prof. Elizabeth Edwards, 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, SVA

September 26, 2014 | By | No Comments

The Society for Visual Anthropology Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 has been awarded to Elizabeth Edwards. Professor Edwards is currently Research Professor of Photographic History and Director of the Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, (UK).  From 1988 to 2005 she was Head of the Photography and Manuscript Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum of the University of Oxford, where she was also Lecturer in Visual Anthropology in the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology. She has also held the post of professorial research fellow at the University of the Arts in London, and has held visiting posts at the Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin and Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Durham.

Professor Edwards has worked over the last 30 years as a visual and historical anthropologist, critically analyzing nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century colonial and anthropological images. Her scholarship reflects a deep engagement with and commitment to understanding the relationships between photography, anthropology and history.  She has done seminal work on social practices of photography and on the materiality of photographs, elucidating the nature of such images as historical evidence and the frailties evident in the institutional practices of photo archives and museums.  Through her publications, teaching, and research, she continues to give us creative new perspectives on the nature of photography and the way in which photography can be harnessed as cultural and historical memory.

The 2014 award committee consisted of Jenny Chio and Joanna Scherer. This award was selected by votes cast by the SVA Board. The award will be presented at the SVA Award Ceremony on Saturday evening, December 6, 2014.

Selected Publications:

2012 The Camera as Historian: Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination 1885-1918 (Duke University Press)

2001 Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology, and Museums (Berg)

1992 Anthropology and Photography: 1860-1920 (Yale University Press in association with The Royal Anthropological Institute)

De Montfort University Webpage:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of De Montfort University

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