As part of the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences International Faculty Exchange, Paul Seawright comes to the University’s Lamar Dodd School of Art in August. Seawright is a photographer who teaches at the University of Ulster’s Belfast School of Art in Ireland. While at the Dodd, Paul will be working through editing a new series of work and critiquing the work of Dodd graduate students. He will participate in the graduate seminar course and have studio visits with graduate students.
Above image: Paul Seawright, Fom the Belfast Series, 1997
Seawright’s work focuses on new forms of media in times of conflict, specifically the use of Twitter as a force in political change. He photographs the after-effects of the media coverage of conflict, from the scenes behind the news desks of major television stations, to the clusters of sex offenders stranded by physical limitations on their residences, to recruiting centers for the US military post 9-11. He explores sites well after the media hype has ceased. Many of these places are often vacant. Seawright has produced eight photographic monographs over the past 20 years.
Initially, Dodd Assistant Professor of Photography Marni Shindelman participated in the exchange by traveling to Ireland. Shindelman visited the Belfast School of Art for a week during March 2017, where she gave critiques, seminars, and a lecture. She worked with students on her Geolocations series, an ongoing project with collaborator Nate Larson. Following a workshop model, the students helped mine the data for the project and scout locations. The Belfast School of Art has a long-standing tradition in the photographic community of a school for social documentary. The school is in the city center of a country in conflict, and the work produced by the students has been eloquent elegies to these conflicts.
Both Seawright and Shindelman were interested in creating a teaching exchange centered on their shared interest in the role of media in political support. They looked for ways to increase the exposure of the research of the faculty and graduate students at both institutions. Ultimately, they aim to initiate a collaboration between graduate students in these two programs, enriching their education by exposing them to international artists. Shindelman says of Seawright's visit: “I cannot overly stress the influence an international critique will have on our students,” emphazing the value of an international perspective.