Foundation Aims and Activities
The present aim of the Dr. Carlo Fleischmann-Stiftung is to support the UZH Center for Studies in the Theory and History of Photography at the Institute of Art History in promoting various initiatives to advance the study and research of photography among students, scholars, and the general public. The Center was established as a platform for building up an international network that promotes the study and research of photography. It organizes courses of study in the Theory and History of Photography at the B.A. and graduate levels (following the Bologna System), and as part of a doctoral program. In addition to courses and lectures on the theory and history of photography held by tenured scholars of the Institute of Art History, numerous internationally recognized experts have taught and conducted research at the institute, as have visiting professors and visiting scholars, including Abigail Solomon-Godeau (Professor Emeritus, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara), Shelley Rice (Arts Professor, Department of Photography & Imaging and Department of Art History, New York University), Michel Frizot (Emeritus Director of Research at the National Center for Scientific Research [CNRS], School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences [EHESS], Paris), and Kelley Wilder (Reader in Photographic History, De Montfort University, Leicester). Lectureships are offered to doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and curators in order to provide them with teaching experience and/or to help them achieve some level of institutional integration at the beginning of their career. In addition, "Geography of Photography," an annual lecture series held since 2008 that focuses on photographic cultures in Europe, the Americas, Islamic countries, and East Asia, provides a platform for international experts and artists to present their recent research.
The Center collaborates intensively with the Fotomuseum and the Fotostiftung Winterthur, where curators and researchers such as Martin Gasser, Peter Pfrunder, and Urs Stahel offer introductory and advanced courses on the history of photography in the context of exhibitions and permanent collections. In addition, opportunities for internships are offered to further support the understanding of curatorial practices related to historical and contemporary photography. A joint teaching collaboration with the Photographic History Research Centre of De Montfort University, Leicester (UK), has led to several workshops and meetings for students and doctoral candidates in England and Switzerland. Moreover, the Center works to develop and maintain relationships with local and international collections of photography. Close working relationships with archives and museums in Zurich, such as the outstanding collections of the Swiss National Museum, the Museum Rietberg, and the Zentralbibliothek Zürich, advance teaching and research on photographic objects and strengthen insight into photographic practices. Internationally, the Center collaborates with one of the world’s most distinguished collections of early photography, the National Photography Collection at the National Media Museum, Bradford (UK), and its outstanding experts, such as curator Colin Harding and collections manager Brian Liddy. In addition, the Center hosts open lectures, and offers on-site studies, docent exchanges, and a visiting artist program. Artists who have taught at the Institute of Art History include Hans Danuser, Armin Linke, Michael von Graffenried, Daniel Schwartz, and Claire Tenu. The Theory and History of Photography program at the Institute of Art History has gained in popularity through such collaborations, and grew from 45 students in 2007 to 162 in 2014. Numerous students have successfully completed their M.A. and/or doctoral thesis in the meantime. New dissertation projects have begun and been awarded fellowships and travel grants from national and international foundations.
The recently initiated publication series “Studies in the Theory and History of Photography”, initiated in 2011, contributes significantly to the international visibility of the Center. Distinguished Members of the Advisory Board are Michel Frizot, Robin Kelsey, Wolfgang Kemp, Charlotte Klonk, Shelley Rice, Kelley Wilder, and Herta Wolf.
Abigail Solomon-Godeau writes the following about her experience at the Institute of Art History at the University of Zurich:
"As a Visiting Professor for Theory and History of Photography at the Institute of History of Art at the UZH, I was deeply impressed by the keen interest and intellectual commitment of my students. Now more than ever, such programs that integrate the history of the medium with theory, with visual culture studies, with historiography, and with the various methodologies of 20th century critical theory are especially important. Such programs (which are rare) are innovative both pedagogically and intellectually, and provide precisely those forms of analytic, methodological, and philosophical training that are crucial for scholarly and artistic practice in a range of disciplines. Such programs foster scholarship and training that are indispensable for a range of professional activities — curatorial, academic, and for art and photography criticism. The program at UZH should be taken as a model for the formation for young scholars whose work and professional training will equip them for the ever-expanding domain of visual culture whether in the world of academia or the broader precincts of the globalised art world."
Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Professor Emeritus, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara