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Jo Phipps

MA work

The Gathering

For the project The Gathering the Alevi community and myself worked collaboratively to explore visibility via the potential of large-scale photographs and video portraits. Having suffered persecution for centuries, the Alevi have often had to conceal their belief system and identity. Their community space and ritual is known as a Cemevi (a house of gathering.) Here a framework of identity is sonically retransmitted and reimagined to the London-born Alevi youth through such practices as the dance of the Semah and the telling of centuries old stories, poetry and song. The video work reveals these mechanics whilst also highlighting its slippages asking important questions about the borders of community, and the notions of belonging and homeland. 

The project also began a gathering of the community’s personal photographs to form a shared archive free of state and institutional control. The archive is to be expanded and narrated by the Alevi youth themselves for their own future use. 

‘The Gathering’ also researches ideas around the potentiality for the portrait to enable an affectual or empathetic encounter. Recent scientific work is starting to understand that affect can be communicated on a molecular unconscious level and has a powerful potentiality on our ability to act.  I am interested in the possibility of a gentler affectual trans-subjective gaze as proposed by the work of Bracha Ettinger. Present gaze theory is out-dated and cannot account for the myriad of complex viewing relations that exist beyond the discourses of surveillance, desire, the 'other'  and the binaries of masculine/feminine, subject/object, existing/lacking. 



  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Photography, 2016

  • My research focus is concerned with the potentiality of portraiture to enable an affectual or empathetic encounter. Affect can be communicated on a molecular unconscious level and has a powerful potentiality on our ability to act. 
  • Degrees

  • PGCert. Photography, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London, 2011 ; BA Film, University of North London
  • Experience

  • Visiting lecturer, University of Brighton, 2016
  • Exhibitions

  • Offprint, Tate Modern, London; Der Greif-A Process, Krakow, Poland; Place and Being, Casa del Lago, Mexico City; Foto8 Summershow, Host Gallery, London; Photofusion Salon/12 , Photofusion Gallery, London. ; Index7, Protein Gallery, Hoxton, London ; AMPS11/Hotshoe Award, Photofusion Gallery, London; AMPS10 /Hotshoe Award, Photofusion Gallery, London
  • Awards

  • European Photography Prize nomination. Zurich, Switzerland; Fine Art Bursary. Royal College of Art, London; Royal Academy of Art Eyewitness Award Finalist, London; Lotto Lab Competition Winner, Vertical Public Gallery curated by London Science Museum
  • Publications

  • Der Greif Magazine for Photography and Literature, Issue 9, July 2016; The Gathering, Available at Offprint, Tate Modern, 2016; Oophagy RCA Publication. 2016 Available at The Koppel Project, 2016; Index 7, Protein Journal Issue 5, 2012