Calls Deadline 04/2023

Call for papers & projects: Collaboration

Deadline: April 24, 2023

Membrana Vol. 8 No. 1 (2023)
Call for papers & projects: Collaboration

In recent decades, there has been a proliferation of collaborative and participatory visual practices employed across a wide range of academic and cultural fields, not least within the arts and humanities, social sciences, international development, and community studies. Such practices often, explicitly or implicitly, base their methodological (and theoretical) frameworks on a premise that makes a claim for the empowering and revealing authority of self- and co-representation. The processes of production and consumption (or creation and reception) of photographic images and other visual artifacts created through collaborative and participatory methods are perceived to have powerful agency and as such the focus of many of these projects is weighted towards the organization of the production process itself. 

Historical legacies of collaborative and participatory modes of representation can be seen to reach back to the first decades of the 20th century with the workers’ film and photography movements being amongst a number of important precedents. The development of collaborative and participatory methods runs in parallel to the evolution of documentary modes of representation. The advancement of participatory and community-oriented visual practices throughout the 20th century was typically driven by socially investigative reportage, politically engaged representation, and ethically committed aesthetics. At the same time, these practices addressed questions about the limits of the visual construction of reality and the social and political empowerment of this very process. Emphasizing the non-neutrality of the processes of representation, they exposed power imbalances of class, gender, and race, and advocated self-authorship, de-colonization of representation, promoting the conception of (self)representation as means of community-building and re-collectivization. Viewed in the context of these historical considerations, contemporary collaborative and participatory visual practices (spanning from the likes of participatory art, socially engaged photography, and citizen journalism to participatory geography and community science) represent fruitful subject matter for unpacking the intersections between aesthetics and politics. 

Membrana Vol. 8 No. 1 opens up space for critical reflection on collaboration and participation in contemporary and historical visual practices, offering a platform for contributions that address the following topics (but not limited to): 

–  the ethics and politics of aesthetics in socially engaged photography 
–  notions of authenticity and authority in relation to self-representation 
–  agency, representation, and the power dynamics of co-authorship, co-creation, and self-authorship 
–  participatory and collaborative aspects of visual art, journalism, and science 
–  the community photography practices and networks (historical and global perspectives) 
–  the intersection of collaborative photography and activism 
–  collaborative and/or participatory practices in the Global South 
–  decolonizing culture and technology in the visual arts 
–  documentary and collaborative paradigms of the early avantgarde
–  empowerment, commitment, and agency 
–  engagement, community photography, and social change 
–  indigenous media and social media 
–  participatory forms of journalism, and narration 
–  participatory photography, film, and contemporary socially engaged art 
–  participatory as a research method, documentation practice, and/or communal engagement strategy 
–  practitioners’ community, pracademic perspective on collaboration 
–  notions of factography and operativity (the legacies of Soviet productivism) 
–  social and liberal documentary movements 
–  visualizing subaltern forms of commonality and participation 
–  artist collectives, collective art movements – photographer’s collaborative practices 

Format of contributions 

-  Articles, interviews – including notes, references, abstract, and biography 21,000–49,000 characters / 3000–7000 words 
-  Reviews, experiments 10,500–21,000 characters / 1500–3000 words 
–  Photographic projects and artwork: proposals for non-commissioned work or samples of work

Proposals and deadlines
–  The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is April 24, 2023. The deadline for the finished contributions from accepted proposals and other submissions is June 31, 2023.
–  Please send proposals (articles, interviews, projects and experiments) via the online form at: or contact us directly at editors(at)