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Event summary: 'Emotions and Ethics: the use and abuse of historical images'

Posted on 9 September 2020

This successful event centered on the ethics and emotions associated with using historical images. It brought together an international audience and has generated significant engagement with subsequent blog posts and event videos on the AboutFace website.

On 17 June, the AboutFace project team hosted a webinar titled ‘Emotions and Ethics: the use and abuse of historical images.’ Led by CGHH co-Director Fay Bound Alberti, the event took the form of a workshop, featuring 8 papers from researchers who use historical images in their work. Following the papers, the audience heard a summary and brief response from Ludmilla Jordanova, before moving into a roundtable discussion of the webinar themes. The online format of the event facilitated collegiate and academic discussion of a pressing topic in the midst of a global pandemic, which has put a hold on in-person conferences and workshops. Using an online platform also enabled an international audience, with participants joining from across the UK and as far away as South Africa.

Following the event, many of the speakers wrote guest blogs to be featured on the AboutFace website. These have generated attention from other researchers, students, and cultural industries, all joining the conversation on the ethics an emotional impacts of using historical images. Each blog allowed the author to elaborate on the themes of their presentation, posing questions to historians about how an ethical framework may develop, or exploring their own emotional responses to their research. One participant reviewed the event for The Polyphony, which is available to read on their website.

Each blog remains available on the AboutFace website, tagged as the ‘emotions and ethics’ series. The first, ‘Emotions and Ethics,’ gives an overview of the event and subsequent blogs explore its themes in more detail.

AboutFace is led by CGHH co-Director Fay Bound Alberti and is funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. AboutFace explores the cultural and emotional history of face transplants and facial difference.