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May 6, 2024

To Be Determined: Only the future revisits the past

Online panel discussion
Event link


6 May – 7pm (AEST time) / 10 am (BST time)

In a collaboration between the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), this event considers photography’s capacity to inform us of the past, while also revealing and speculating something of the future.This talk marks the final week of CCP’s current exhibition, ‘Only the future revisits the past’ which brings together artists whose works look towards the past—via archives, institutional and museum collections, family histories, and historic depictions—to speculate future states and possibilities.

This live discussion will be chaired by MMU’s Duncan Wooldridge, Reader in Photography in the School of Digital Arts, and feature artist Tom Lovelace and CCP exhibiting artist Nikki Lam. This talk takes inspiration from CCP’s current exhibition and Wooldridge’s recent publication ‘To Be Determined: Photography and the Future’ (SPBH Editions, 2021) which features the work of artists, like Lovelace, to assert that ‘photographic technologies and processes are geared toward a world to come, not a world that has been’.

This event is free to attend and everyone is welcome.


Duncan Wooldridge is an artist, writer and occasional curator. He is the author of To Be Determined: Photography and the Future (SPBH Editions, 2021) and the co-editor with Lucy Soutter of Writer Conversations (1000 Words, 2023) and The Routledge Companion to Global Photographies (Routledge, August 2024). He is Reader in Photography in the School of Digital Arts, Manchester School of Art, MMU, in the UK.

Nikki Lam is an artist-curator and filmmaker based in Narrm/Melbourne. Working primarily with moving images and text, her work explores memory through contemplation on time, space and impermanence. Her work deals with the complexity of migratory expressions: its tensions, fragmentation, poetic threads of personal and collective histories. Nikki’s work has been shown widely across Australia and internationally, including most recently as part of Primavera: Australian Young Artists 2023 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. With an expanded practice in writing, community and relational practice, Nikki is co-director of Hyphenated Projects and Biennial, and curator at The Substation.

Tom Lovelace is a London based artist, working across photography and performance. Lovelace’s practice is shaped by the collaborative histories of photography, phenomenology, theatre and the languages and legacies of abstraction. Since 2017, Lovelace has been developing the Living Pictures; presenting interactive exhibition spaces, exploring the photographic image, moments in art history and sites of architecture. Lovelace is currently completing doctoral research, with a focus on contemporary photography and performance methodologies, at the University of Westminster, London.
As a Lecturer he works at the Royal College of Art, London and Glasgow School of Art.

This talk will be convened by CCP’s Catlin Langford and MMU’s Thom Bridge.

Thom Bridge is a Swedish British artist whose photographic practice explores systems of duality, reciprocity and exchange. This research manifests through solo, co-authored and collaborative practices spanning printing-making, video and installation as well as organisation, facilitation and curation. Two significant collaborations are ‘pool’ with Milwaukee based American artist Sonja Thomsen and ’T. Bridge’ with his identical twin, Theo, a design researcher based in Naarm | Melbourne. Thom Bridge is a Lecturer in Photography in the School of Digital Arts, Manchester School of Art, MMU, in the UK.

Catlin Langford is a curator, writer and researcher, specialising in photography. She is currently curator at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) in Melbourne/Naarm. She has previously held positions at the V&A, Royal College of Art and Royal Collection Trust, and has curated exhibitions in Australia, Europe, UK and the US, including collaborations with Curatorial, Photolux Festival and Photo Oxford. She has spoken about art, photography and visual culture at numerous international organisations, including the University of Oxford, National Portrait Gallery (London), National Galleries of Scotland, The Photographers’ Gallery and Birkbeck College.