There is no singular definition of a photo festival – each is a species of its own, unique and spirited. What we can probably agree on is that photo festivals all over the world have served as a vital catalyst in the development of contemporary photography for the past two decades, constituting a global circuit where talents get discovered, acknowledged and nurtured. Many have also grown to become an integral aspect of their local arts scene, broadening horizons for their communities and engaging in critical discourses on social issues.
This inaugural symposium by the Singapore International Photography Festival brings together major players spanning three continents to explore the evolution of photo festivals and its role in the future.
Moderated by Kong Yen Lin, writer and researcher. Each panel is inclusive of a 10 min Q&A.
2pm to 3pm
Photo festivals – The origin story
This opening segment of the forum examines the early beginnings of the phenomenon of photography festivals. How did festivals get started? How do they compare with art biennials and triennials? What were some of the challenges laying the foundations?
Ng Swan Ti
3.30pm to 4.30pm
And the show goes on
The phenomenon of photo festivals reached its peak in the early to mid 2010s, with an estimated 60 photo festivals organised internationally in the annual arts calendar. What kept some of the longest running photo festivals going? Amongst numerous transformations, how has the language and expression of contemporary photography evolved?
5pm to 6pm
In this concluding segment, we look ahead to envision how photo festivals will continue to transform in the decades ahead. How does a festival stay nimble and responsive to the discourses of the present? How have challenges evolved? What is in store for audiences?
Julia Durkin MNZM
Founder and CEO, Auckland Festival of Photography
Executive Director, FotoFest
Founder, Chobi Mela International Photography Festival
Director, Singapore International Photography Festival and DECK
Ng Swan Ti
Programme Director, Jakarta International Photo Festival (JIPFest) and Managing Director, PannaFoto Institute