The gaze and gender: maternal love stories and preposterous histories. Clare Johnson in conversation with artist Jessa Fairbrother

Above: Beyond the Frame, ‘In Conversation, and In Character’  by Jessica Fairbrother at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery © Louis Little

On Wednesday 6th October 2021, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery hosted a symposium to accompany the Bristol Photo Festival, entitled Whose gaze? Representation in photography, class, gender, race. The symposium brought together a selection of artists featured in the exhibitions Island LifeLips Touched with Blood and Beyond the Frame at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Panel discussions and in-conversation sessions examined themes raised in these exhibitions, including class and representation, gender and voyeurism and decolonising histories. Central to these discussions was the contribution of photography and the ways in which artists who use photography address questions around the gaze and representation.

Host: Tracy Marshall Grant, Director of Bristol Photo Festival.

Speakers: Dr Clare Johnson, Jessa Fairbrother, Katy Barron, Clementine Schneidermann, Sian Davey, Dr Shawn Sobers, Lebohang Kganye, Sarah Waisw.

In their conversation Jessa and Clare discussed Jessa’s interventions in the French and Victorian galleries at Bristol Museum. Themes discussed included matrilineal narratives of loss, the physicality of embroidering, small interventions into grand art historical narratives, and performances of femininity and romantic love.