Ken. To be destroyed: talk and book signing
The Ken. To be destroyed book has just been published, edited by Val Williams.
“This project began with an archive and a discovery My brother, sister and I inherited letters and photographs belonging to our uncle and aunt, Ken and Hazel Houston, from our mother Audrey Davidmann. The letters tell Ken and Hazel’s very private story. It emerged soon after they were married that Ken was transgender. In the context of a British marriage in the 1950s, this inevitably profoundly affected both their own relationship and their relationships with the people around them. Publicly Ken was a man, but in the privacy of the home she was a woman.
In response to the letters, papers and family photographs, I have produced a new set of photographs using analogue, alternative and digital photography processes. From the raw material of the archive to these new photographic works, a new story emerges.”
The Ken. To be destroyed book is published by Schilt with the support of London College of Communication (LCC) and the Photography and the Archive Research Centre, University of the Arts London (PARC, UAL).
Ken. To be destroyed is currently on exhibition at the Schwules Museum, Lützowstraße 73, 10785 Berlin, March 17–June 30. The exhibition was co-curated by Val Williams and Robin Christian. The exhibition is supported by LCC and PARC, UAL.
I am an artist/photographer. For over fifteen years I have taken photographs and recorded oral histories in collaboration with people from UK trans* and queer communities. My work is internationally exhibited and published. Exhibitions include Schwules Museum, Berlin (2016), Liverpool Museum (2014), LimeWharf Gallery London (2014), Homotopia Liverpool (2013), Trans*_Homo Schwules Museum Berlin (2012), LGBT Centre Paris (2009), Somatechnics Sydney (2009) Transfabulous London (2007). Publications include Crossing the Line, Dewi Lewis (2003), and I was guest co-editor of a Journal of Photography & Culture Special Issue Queering Photography (2014). I contributed a book chapter to Transgender Experience, Routledge (2014) and co-authored a journal article Queering the Trans Family Album, Radical History Review (2015). I have been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Philip Leverhulme Prize awarded 2015, a Fulbright Hays Scholarship, four Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awards, an Association of Commonwealth Universities Fellowship and a Wellcome Trust Grant. I am a Reader in Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
Val Williams is a writer and curator, and Director of the University of the Arts London Photography and the Archive Research Centre (UAL/PARC) at London College of Communication. She is UAL Professor of the History and Culture of Photography and a founder and co-editor of the Journal of Photography & Culture. She is Director of the Moose on the Loose Biennale of Research. Val’s research has focussed on the history of women in photography, post-war British photography and contemporary photography. Book projects include Martin Parr: Photographic Works (2012/2014); Sune Jonsson, Life and Work (2014); Daniel Meadows Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s (2011); Anna Fox: Photographs 1983-2007 (2007). Exhibition curation includes Soho Archive/Soho at Night for the Photographers Gallery in 2008/9;How We Are: Photographing Britain, Tate Britain, London, UK (2007); Martin Parr: Photographic Work 1970-2000, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK (2002); The Dead, National Media Museum, Bradford, UK (1995); Who’s Looking at the Family, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK, (1994); Warworks: Women, Photography and the Iconography of War, V&A, London, UK (1994).
Val’s archive was recently acquired by the Library of Birmingham and she is currently working on a major collaborative research project on the photography of the British seaside. She is the editor of Ken.To be destroyed, working in collaboration with Sara Davidmann. She became involved in the Ken.To be destroyed project in 2013 and, with Robin Christian, has curated the touring exhibition, which opened at PARC Space, London College of Communication in 2014.
Sarah’s talk and book signing will be taking place on day 1 of the conference