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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Julia Winckler's research sits across multiple strands:

• Photographic Archives, Memory & Migration

• Reactivating Archives through Artistic Interventions

• Photography and Critical Pedagogy

Julia's research investigates archival traces within the context of collective memory and migration narratives. Her key research question probes how neglected archival sources can reveal forgotten histories of great significance to our understanding of the present. Applying a creative and interpretive photographic approach, using photographs as tools to think about historical experience, multiple articulations of memory and meaning are expressed, with the aim of generating new academic knowledge. The author Ben Okri has described 'the artist [as] a conduit through which lost things are recovered' (2005). Julia's research methodology considers archival research as a material, embodied practice. Through extensive investigation in archives, she gathers materials and maps out a strategy and approach. She then travels to the sites that have historical significance for each project.

Through reactivation and visualisation using photography as the key medium, past memories are reframed and resituated in the present. Combining an archaeological with a genealogical approach, traces are documented; their significance to the present assessed, as some of the historical functions are lost or no longer important. The genealogical approach necessitates an investigation that starts in the present, a retracing of the journey, that is physical and experimental, setting up encounters and dialogues. Lost and recovered narratives have been a key theme of Julia's work to date. Memory and migration narratives of emigration (Two Sisters), exile and loss (Traces), exploration (Retracing Heinrich Barth), displacement (Leaving Atlantis), expedition/peregrination (My Canadian Pilgrimage) and interwar home-making (Fabricating Lureland)  have been visualized and probed using the language of photography. These projects have been disseminated through public exhibitions, at conferences, exhibition catalogue publications and public engagement workshops, as well as informing Julia's teaching practice.

Julia has undertaken extensive work with and within communities to enable broader access to personal cultural heritage amongst disadvantaged areas and demographics. She has sought to improve inclusivity of knowledge production and to reanimate disconnected or underdeveloped narratives and histories. Oscillating between photographic and archival research, she uses photography as a medium through which collective memories can be reconstructed and given a renewed cultural presence.



Supervisory Interests

Julia's interdisciplinary research focuses on archival traces, memory and migration narratives, co-production of knowledge and photography and activism. 

For PhD applicants:

Julia currently co-supervises five Phd students at the University of Brighton and one Phd student at the University of Salzburg. She is interested in receiving applications to supervise traditional and practice-based Phds.

Phd proposals welcome that interact with any of the following: 

Working with Archives and Collections: Photographic archives, Community archives, Museums, Private Collections

Memory Studies: Postmemory, transnational memory, cultural memory, communicative memory, personal memory

Art practice as research: visual, creative and ethnographic research methods/photo voice/photo elicitation/digital media technologies, site-specific interventions

Co-production of knowledge: popular education methodology, participatory methods, oral history, histoire croisée/regards croisés methodologies

Photography and activism: community art practice (global, historical & contemporary) and critical pedagogy

Photographers in Exile in Britain: contributions made by emigrés to the field of Applied Arts




Scholarly biography

Julia is a photographer, academic, experienced participatory arts facilitator, curriculum developer and principal lecturer at the University of Brighton, School of Media where she has worked since 2004. Between 2009-2011 she was also Teaching Fellow at SOAS, Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Julia has exhibited widely, including at the Motorenhalle, Dresden (2018),  Brunei Gallery, SOAS (Retracing Heinrich Barth, 2008) and Austrian Cultural Forum, London (Traces, 2012). Julia also works as an art education consultant with regular engagements at Kaitak Research Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University. Julia’s interdisciplinary research focuses on archival traces, memory and migration narratives, bringing together knowledge gained from degrees in African Studies & Anthropology, Social Work and Photography. 

In her new monograph Fabricating Lureland, published in De Gruyter's cultural memory series, Julia interrogates a previously underexplored archival collection through visual and creative research methods combined with oral history. Focusing on the interwar period and tracing mutating agendas, the book investigates the construction of a speculative development and tracks the visual programme of the in-house magazine, Peacehaven Post, alongside blueprints and promotional guidebooks. The resarch explores the garden city narrative as a form of social Utopia and reconstitutes a historical context, revisiting propositions of the time, which aspired to secure improved public health and home ownership in direct response to the negative impact of industrialization and WWI.


Contested topographies and cross-cultural narratives of exile and hybridity have also been explored through writing and publishing in other contexts, including in her book Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Internee: Fred Uhlman in Captivity (2009), which explores the role of the artist/witness during WWII and was co-authored with Prof Charmian Brinson and Dr. Anna Müller-Härlin.

With generous research support by Prof. Paul Newman and the late Prof. Tony Kirke-Greene, Julia was able to revive the extraordinary life story of James Henry Dorugu and turn it into the extensive journal article 'Regards Croisées: James Henry Dorugu’s 19th century European Journey'. This work built on her photographic project Retracing Heinrich Barth. The essay was later translated by German charity Mate Ni Kane into French and German in order to disseminate it to communities across Niger. Julia was invited to write an introduction, ‘Dorougou, un fils de la region de Zinder’ for Tarihin Dorugu – Histoire de Dorougou published in French and Hausa by Albasa in Niamey, Niger (2015). This now reintroduces the story of Dorugu to young people across Niger and ensures that future generations know the story of this remarkable and brave early African explorer, who also came to Europe. 

Other recent publications include the chapter 'Making Friends: Wolf Suschitzky's Tierfotografien im Prisma des Exils'  in Mensch und Tier in Reflexionen des Exils (2021); 'Quite Content to be called a good craftsman': an exploration of some of Wolf Suschitzky's extensive contributions to the field of applied photography' for Applied Arts in British Exile from 1933: Changing Visual and Material Culture (2019); 'Two Sisters, Contrary Lives' (with Prof. Charmian Brinson) for Working Memory, Women and Work in World War II (2015); 'The first rule of photography is patience: the photographs of Wolf Suschitzky' in Seven Decades of Photography (2014); 'A time we were not born: Experimental Archaeology' in Phototherapy and Therapeutic Photography in a Digital Age, (2013); 'War, Memory and Photographic Traces' in Twentieth Century Wars in European Memory (2013).

Between 2013-2017 she was co-researcher, with Prof Adrienne Chambon, Prof Vid Ingelevics, Prof Ernie Lightman, and Beth Good and Mary Anderson on the SSHRC funded Children of the City: from street to playground, which mobilized a collection of archival photographs of urban street scenes taken in Toronto at the turn of the last century.


The journal article ‘Compelling Evidence: mobilizing the Carlton Hill photographic archive’, in Visual Methodologies (2017), co-written with Adrienne Chambon and supported by Selma Montford, describes their associated exhibition 'Carlton Hill: the children of Brighton’s displaced community', which was shown at the Brighton's Jubilee Library and at the University Catholica, Lisbon during 2016. 

As part of this grant Julia co-curated the exhibition' From Streets to Playgrounds' (2016-17) at the City of Toronto Archives Gallery, as well as 'Photographic Memories - Lost Corners of Paris: The Children of Cité Lesage-Bullourde and Boulogne-Billancourt' at the Alliance Francaise Pierre Leon Gallery in Toronto with photographs by Marilyn Stafford which were exhibited for the first time. This exhibition was also exhibited in Paris at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Maison de la Recherche (2020) where it informed a research symposium in November 2020, organized jointly by Julia and Prof. Henri Scepi (Sorbonne). The full webinar can be viewed here: 


The exhibition is accompanied by a new research catalogue, Les Enfants de la Cité Lesage-Bullourde et Boulogne Billancourt, Paris, 1950’s (2020). 

A new essay on the cultural significance of Marilyn Stafford's Cité Lesage-Bullourde photographs, commissioned by Dr. Kylie Thomas for a special issue on Photography and Resistance in MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture has just been published:




Approach to teaching

Julia is a PhD supervisor and has been course leader of the MA Digital Media, Culture & Society since February 2019. 


She is module leader for Practicing Media Research, MA research dissertations and a module on participatory media production for social change that takes a global and historical perspective to collaborative practice. 

She also teaches on MA Photography and  BA Photography.  Across the years, she has developed new modules and was module leader for several practice-based modules, including a module on reactivating photographic archives. She also taught into a journalism module, highlighting the importance of socially engaged photography and active citizenship and convened the professional practice module on BA Photography for more than a decade. 

Despite having worked at UoB since 2004, Julia continues to discover new and rewarding ways of teaching and facilitation. Julia has often been nominated for teaching awards (in the inspirational teaching award category and for the Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning award).

Just prior to working at the University of Brighton, Julia taught photography at Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University and she also worked as  Teaching Fellow at the University of London, SOAS, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, where she co-convened a Media Production module with Jens Franz (2009-2011).

In 2018, she was invited to teach a photography Masterclass at Dresden Summer Academy of Visual Arts.

Julia has acted as external examiner for MA dissertations at Canterbury Christ Church University (2020) and as external PhD examiner at Birkbeck (2021). 




Knowledge exchange

Most of Julia's solo and collaborative projects have had educational and participatory elements. As an art education consultant with artists undergoing training to become educators, Julia has coached them to develop curricula that inspire and encourage students’ creativity and independence through the arts. Much of her work is interdisciplinary and engages with communities outside of Academia and in many parts of the world who she works with and learns from. Through her affiliation with the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice and the Centre of Memory, Narrative and Histories Julia exchanges resources and knowledge on a regular basis.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 20 Mar 2019

Master, University of Toronto

External positions

Art education consultant

Trustee at SEAS


  • TR Photography
  • visual methods
  • photographic archives
  • photography
  • visual culture


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