International Women’s Day Event | Women and the Aftermath of War Photography Talk

In celebration of International Women’s Day on Saturday 8th March, Photofusion has organised some exciting events including…

Women and the Aftermath of War photography Talk
Thursday 13 March, 19:00

Talk with photographer Jenny Matthews and writer/ academic Dr Zoe Norridge

This event is free and open to all.
Booking required:
[email protected]
020 7738 5774

Venue: Photofusion Gallery, 17a Electric Lane

Photographer Jenny Matthews has documented women affected by war for over 20 years. As International Women’s Day coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, she will show work from her trip to Rwanda in 1994, when an estimated 800,000 people were murdered, alongside sharing the experience and outcome of her recent return.

Jenny Matthews

© Jenny Matthews, Eritrea. Lelem, fighter. From the series Women and War

Jenny Matthews

© Jenny Matthews, Sierra Leone. Fina, chopped by rebels. From the series Women and War

In February 2014, Jenny set off on a three week trip to find and re-photograph the women she met 20 years ago and this evening talk will focus on the topic of women and the aftermath of war, the role of the photographer in telling such a story and how women re-build community out of conflict.

Jenny will be in conversation with Dr Zoe Norridge, Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at King’s College London, who has been travelling to Rwanda since 2009. In 2012, she worked on two specific projects examining intersections between place and memory and the role of public culture and transitional justice in translating the idea of “freedom from fear”.

Both events are part of our partnership with Brixton Live, a collective of cultural organisations in Brixton. All partner IWD events are supported by a Lambeth Health & Wellbeing Grant.

For more information on other IWD events by Brixton Live here…


Jenny Matthews

Jenny Matthews has been commissioned and published by a wide range of international magazines since 1982 including Marie Claire, Guardian Weekend magazine, The Sunday Times, The Independent Magazine, Night and Day magazine and the Independent on Sunday Review.

She has also done substantial work for development organisations, including Save the Children, Action Aid, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Sight Savers, particularly in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.

In 2003, Women and War was published by Mets and Shilt in the Netherlands, Pluto Press in the UK and University of Michigan in the USA. It was Highly Commended in the John Kobal book awards. The touring exhibition, “Women and War”, was shown throughout the UK from 2003-2005.

She is a Patron of Photofusion, a Trustee of Picture People and an Ambassador for Photovoice – both participatory photo projects – and in this capacity she has facilitated workshops for sex workers in India and young people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Albania, Lebanon, and Romania.

Jenny’s work is represented by Panos Pictures.

Dr Zoe Norridge

Dr Zoe Norridge joined King’s College London in September 2012. She was previously a Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Director of the Aftermaths Research Strand at the University of York, Department of English and Related Literature.

Before becoming an academic, Dr Norridge worked in health promotion for NGOs in the UK (Cancer Research UK, Terrence Higgins Trust) and Papua New Guinea (VSO).

In 2011, Zoe was selected as one of ten inaugral “New Generation Thinkers” by the BBC and the AHRC and has since made several short pieces for Radio 3. In 2012, her book Perceiving Pain in African Literature was published by Palgrave Macmillan (London) and amongst her published essays, “Writing Against Genocide: Genres of Opposition in Narratives from and about Rwanda” was featured in Postcolonial Poetics, Liverpool University Press, 2011.

More information about Dr Zoe Norridge on the King’s College London website

The exhibition “Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now” will open on 21 March at the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House, co-curated by Dr Zoe Norridge and Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph ABP.

Women of Inspiration

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Photofusion has invited a selection of people to write about a woman who has inspired or influenced them in their life.

A Woman of Inspiration: Carrie Mae Weems
by Mark Sealy MBE

In 1990 Autograph ABP organised a national lecture tour for American artist Carrie Mae Weems in England, with events happening across various cities. The idea was to introduce her practice to the UK with the aim of brokering a major one-person exhibition. However, a show at that time never materialised. I guess were still waiting for that big exhibition to happen here.

By 1990, Weems was being widely exhibited in the USA and beginning to receive the attention of the international art world. Her unique storytelling through images and the use of text, then and even more so now, is bold, poignant, aesthetically beautiful and has always contained a stinging political jab. Since 1990 I have had the privilege of meeting Carrie Mae Weems on a number of occasions. Her warmth and support of Autograph has been immense and we have, in many ways, been working together through a continued process of dialogue and mutual respect.

However, an inspirational moment happened in Chicago. I remember her lecture for the Society for Photographic Education’s annual conference being held at the Hilton Hotel in 1994 as being one of the most outstanding and emotive lectures I have ever attended; she didn’t just speak, she virtually sang her paper. Her voice, a combination of seductive authority and sadness, was used with all the skill of a contemporary jazz poet. She accompanied by a pianist and a saxophonist. It was a very special moment; an occasion where both the performance and content moved the entire audience. She received a long and standing ovation from the audience such was the poetics of her performance and the power of her images. It revealed for me the importance of being able to tell our stories and tell them well. Carrie has gone on to great acclaim and in 2013 was given the honour of a being made a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. She remains in inspiration.

The Woman Who Has Most Inspired Me
By Janet Awe

In my 42 years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet many amazing women, not only here in my beloved hometown of London, but also in my travels across the country and around the world. With all of that insight, I am delighted and proud to be able to say – despite how contrived it may sound – that the woman who has inspired me the most is my mother.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I would not be where I am and the person that I am today if it wasn’t for my mum. Not just in the obvious, physical sense but in terms of my education, my work ethic, my morals and my general lust for life.

My mum has always pushed me – and my two older brothers – to work hard and to be the best that we can. Never to hide behind the colour of our skin, or use that – or let anyone else use that – as a reason for us not to achieve. To be proud of who we are. To respect our elders and authority. To know when to stand up for ourselves, and when to have humility. To appreciate what we have, and to care for those less fortunate that ourselves. To be open-minded and generous of spirit.

Crucially, my mum has always led by example.

I won’t give my mum’s age away, or she’d never forgive me (seriously!) but suffice to say that she retired many, many years ago. Despite this, her own lust for life shows no sign of diminishing. In recent years she has set up a ‘caring service’ at her church, to give a voice to the diverse community and help them access local support services; obtained a Certificate of Higher Education in Theology from Birkbeck University; become a lay minister, so that she can serve Holy Communion to the housebound; studied computers and photography; and overcome illnesses to travel the world extensively. My most memorable New Years Eve, ever, was spent with my mum in Bangkok two years ago. My assumption that we’d be in bed by 1am was proved wrong, when she was still dancing in the hotel’s rooftop bar at 2am.

Don’t get me wrong – my mum is far from perfect and we disagree on many things. But her flaws make her human and her strong convictions make me admire her even more. Even now, it seems I strive to follow in her footsteps. When I began a Masters in Screenwriting at Birkbeck University last year, I was very proud to be able to say that my mum had studied there first.


Janet Awe is a PR, marketing and social media consultant. / @AwesomeComms