Leadership Fellows grant for UWL expert to uncover new history of British photography

Professor Michelle Henning

A prestigious Leadership Fellows grant has been awarded to a UWL academic by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), to perform one of the first in-depth investigations into a rare archive.

Professor Michelle Henning, who is a member of the talented academic team at the University’s London School of Film, Media and Design (LSFMD), has been awarded £100,000 by AHRC to carry out research which could reveal new insights about the history of photography in Britain. It will also include collaborative, public activities which promise to help transform the study and public understanding of photography. 

The Leadership Fellow award recognises her expertise in the fields of photography and cultural history and also marks Prof. Henning out as a potential future leader of research, inspiring and mentoring the next generation of talent.

For the research, Prof. Henning will delve into the archives of Ilford Ltd, perhaps the most well-known UK producer of non-digital photographic materials. She intends to focus upon the period between the two World Wars, when dramatic chemical innovations dramatically changed photography, making it much more accessible for holiday snaps and expanding its uses in medicine, science and the military.

It is hoped the research will  also illuminate understanding of the development of photography and shed light on the relationship between past film photography and contemporary digital practices.

Reacting to news of the award, Prof. Henning said: ‘I am very excited to be appointed an AHRC Research Leadership Fellow. This scheme will give me the opportunity to conduct in-depth research in the Ilford archive in east London and enable me to work collaboratively with my colleague Dr. Junko Theresa Mikuriya (also in LSFMD).

‘The project will take just over a year starting this September and will culminate with a fantastic international conference which UWL will host. This is a real validation of my work in photography, cultural theory and history and also the research environment at the London School of Film Media and Design, which supports and nurtures research at this level.’

The AHRC’s Leadership Fellows scheme empowers research leaders and potential future research leaders, to carry out highly focused individual research. Prof. Henning’s work at the Ilford Ltd archive meets its exacting standards for high quality, world leading research.

Find out more about the London School of Film, Media and Design. Check out the School on Twitter: @UWL_LSFMD