FOCUS 2020

Online on Zoom

The Black Lives Matter protests in the spring of 2020 have had a far-reaching impact. The impact is felt not just in news reporting or creative fields but in the business world where corporations are reviewing past practices and addressing issues around race, gender, disability and discrimination. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the picture industry where we have to look not just at who and what we picture in front of the camera, but who is behind it and what they are doing.

In response to this, BAPLA chose to concentrate our annual FOCUS conference on the topic of diversity and inclusion.

In light of COVID19, this was the first time we held FOCUS online, with panels, lectures and seminars delivered digitally throughout the week commencing 9 November.


Staying Power at the V&A

This talk on Monday 9 November introduced 'Staying Power', a project to collect photographs and oral histories relating to black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund from 2008-2015, the project was a partnership between Black Cultural Archives and the Victoria and Albert Museum. It resulted in the V&A's acquisition of 118 photographs by 17 artists and culminated in two exhibitions at the V&A and BCA in 2015.

Speaker: Dr Marta Weiss Senior Curator, Department of Photography, V&A

Mistakes with Identities

The session on Tuesday 10 November touched on the issue of race, diversity and attribution in relation to the supply, selection and availability of pictures under a time-pressured editorial environment and how picture agencies can provide support.

Speaker: Elisabeth Ribbans, Guardian and Observer's Global Readers' Editor

Diversity and the Media

On Wednesday 11 November we explored the BAME experience of working in the media with a photographer and a former television news journalist. We discussed with them how organisations can build a more diverse media which better represents society and how do we support new entrants.

Speakers: John Ferguson, Commercial and Editorial Photographer

Bridgid Nzekwu Presenter, Corporate Host and award-winning Media Trainer



In the session, on Thursday 12 November, we explored three different perspectives, from a young photographer, an archive consultant, and a creative director from a leading publisher and discussed diversity within our industry. We discussed what we can do to identify and promote talent from varied cultural backgrounds, showcase their works to publishers and support different voices with unique stories to tell.

Speakers: Hamish Crooks, Archive Consultant

Letitia Kamayi, Photographer

Donna Payne, Creative Director, Faber & Faber