Empowering Visions – New Perspectives on Gender And Diversity in Photography – Symposium & Workshop Day

10:00 Uhr - 17:00 Uhr

On this day we want to explore how documentary photography deals with concepts such as visibility, gaze, hierarchy, gender and diversity. Our idea is to facilitate discourse in a motivating and sensitising space that raises awareness of patriarchal, colonial and racist structures in visual journalism and photographic teaching.


Termin: 10. Juni, 10-17 Uhr

ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS MANDATORY. Write us an email with your FIRST and SECOND choice for the workshops: empoweringvisions(at)fotostudierende.com

Spoken Language: English


The panel discussion and lectures, but not the workshops, will be streamed on YouTube.


We, a team of students, professors and teachers from the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography programme in Hanover have been working hard to bring students and experts in the field together to discuss questions of legitimacy in image-making, of authorship and to promote awareness of gender and diversity-related questions.

To this end we will exchange ideas with people across the field of photography in order to hear from all participating sides on developing new perspectives on the medium and the practice!


On the Symposium & Workshop Day itself we will hear from:

Poulomi Basu, who will give a lecture focusing on ‘Self-care: The Heart of all Artistic Pursuits’ as well as a portfolio workshop with the title ‘The Personal is Political’.

Shorouk El Hariry, who will talk about the research practice on representation of Egyptian women in addition to leading her workshop ‘Enter/Inter’.

Julius Matuschik, whose workshop will focus on the often simplistic and biased perception of Islam in German media.

Anna Lena Mehr, who will give a talk about how the World Press Photo Foundation is trying to develop a way to become more representative of the ‚world‘ in its name.

Ashfika Rahman, whose workshop will concentrate on the difficult question of ‘Exploitation or Advocacy? – Victims as Subjects of Documentaries/Fiction’.

Charlotte Schmitz, founder of the Journal Collective, a global photography collective, in her workshop about ‘Exploring new Narratives / New ways of Collaborating?’.

For more information on the whole programme and schedule, see BELOW:



  • 10:00 Welcome
  • 10:15-11:00 Pouloumi Basu ‘Self-Care: The Heart of all Artistic Pursuits‘ (lecture)
  • 11:00-11:15 Coffee Break
  • 11:15-12:45 Workshops (Registration in advance is required.)
  • Poulomi Basu: ‘The Personal is Political‘
  • Shorouk El Hariry ‘Enter/Inter‘
  • Julius Matuschik ‘Picturing Islam‘
  • Ashfika Rahman ‘Exploitation or Advocacy? – Victims as Subjects of Documentaries/ Fiction‘
  • Charlotte Schmitz ‘Exploring new narratives / New ways of collaborating? / On Collectivity / The Journal Collective‘
  • 12:45-14:30 Lunch Break
  • 14:30-15:15 Anna Lena Mehr ‘Focus on the ‚World‘ – Context Matters‘ (lecture)
  • 15:15-16:00 Shorouk El Hariry ‘Beyn Collective and the Quest for Feminist Storytelling‘ (lecture)
  • 16:00-16:15 Coffee Break
  • 16:15-17:00 Panel Diskussion
Foto: Sisters of the Moon by Poulomi Basu

Detailed information on guests and programme:


Poulomi Basu (Transmedia Artist, Photographer and Activist)

WORKSHOP ‘The Personal is Political‘ 

What role do personal experience and background play in visual storytelling?

The start of a project often takes place with a personal approach to the subject in mind. The power of the inner perspective is obvious. But what does it mean to be fully engaged with your subject? What impact can a personal storytelling approach have on society? What challenges and ethical questions come to mind when you are so deeply involved? What is activism in this context? At ‘The Personal is Political’, we will examine the works of participants and explore what it takes to develop your own artistic voice while making work that creates impact. During the workshop, Poulomi Basu will invite participants to think about the various approaches to creating a personal, intersectional and multidisciplinary narrative.


LECTURE ‘Self-care: The Heart of all Artistic Pursuits‘

Photographer and artist Poulomi Basu pursues political goals with her works and uses the power of photography and visual storytelling to bring about tangible social change and amplify the voices of women. She works on sensitive and challenging topics such as her long-term project ‘Blood Speaks’, where she aims to place menstrual taboos and blood politics on the international agenda. In doing so, she always includes her position and places her work in the field of tension between documentary, art, and activism. She says: “The core of all artistic practice is the relationship with oneself.” In her talk, Poulomi Basu will address how to use art as social practice and engage activism in a holistic way to affect communities by addressing larger issues that are affecting our world today. “I think this will be helpful for students navigating how to make work in the real world and how to survive and love themselves.”


Shorouk El Hariry (Writer, Researcher, Performance Artist, and founder of Beyn Collective)

WORKSHOP ‘Enter/Inter‘

What is the relationship between feminist ideals and creative storytelling practices?

We often believe we are in a room where the majority can agree on a set of broadly accepted worldviews on gender equality: a mutual understanding, a common sense, a Selbstverständlichkeit. But once we leave this room, we observe the world around us and wonder: how common is our common sense, really? How can we create a bridge between the ethics we think we share and our photographic and visual storytelling practices? And who has a right to the story we are trying to tell?

In Enter/Inter, participants are invited to step out of their common sense and enter an imaginary room where they can zoom out to the world and back into themselves. Through reverse storytelling and playback theatre techniques, they take on different roles to deconstruct and reconstruct mainstream expressions and manifestations of feminist worldviews in relation to photojournalistic ethics.


LECTURE ‘Beyn Collective and the Quest for Feminist Storytelling‘

It is fairly common for artists, writers and visual storytellers to engage with other regions and cultures while building their practices. But who gets to tell the story, and why? How are feminist knowledge and art constructed? And upon which ethics do we base our storytelling practices? Beyn Collective has actively addressed these questions through a participatory project that focuses on the relationship between photography as a medium and intersectional feminism. Arabic for in between, Beyn takes up the state of liminality as a starting point: in between disciplines, ideologies, languages, and cultures – in between research and practice.


Julius Matuschik (Photographer, Cameo Kollektiv)

WORKSHOP ‘Picturing Islam‘

The simplistic perception of Islam is often biased and does not adequately visualise Germany’s Muslim diversity. In the workshop, we are deconstructing the emergence of visiotypes (visual stereotypes) by using the example of visual representation of Islam in German media. Further, we pose the question how framing shapes the collective view and explore the role of photography. We will work with editorial content to visualise how more appropriate imagery can be created.


Anna Lena Mehr (Contest Director World Press Photo Foundation)

LECTURE ‘Focus on the ‚World‘ – Context Matters‘

In her lecture, Anna Lena Mehr will talk about the new direction of World Press Photo and the new perspectives for photographers seeking to submit works to the contest. In its new mission, World Press Photo aims to connect the world to the stories that matter. This should be achieved by getting more information about the photographers and their connection to their respective stories in order to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to understanding and judging entries. By doing so, World Press Photo acknowledges the importance of context and distinguishes a diverse range of stories and photographers. Is the new mission a way forward to being more representative of the ‚world‘ in its name and to adequately represent and contextualise stories? The audience is invited to take part in the critical discourse and the exchange of ideas after the lecture.


Ashfika Rahman (Photographer and Visual Artist)

WORKSHOP ‘Exploitation or Advocacy? – Victims as Subjects of Documentaries/ Fiction‘

“The ‘truth’ of a truth comes from individual experiences“ (Roslyn Myers).

We are living in a time that is different and difficult. Different versions of a story are accessible to the mass population. How to control propagation as a visual storyteller? How to be empathetic to the protagonist? What needs are there for an appropriate approach to the story? In ‘Exploitation or advocacy? Victims as Subjects of Documentaries/Fiction‘ participants are invited to change their perspective and look at the facts not from behind the cameras, but to imagine themselves in front of them. The focus of the workshop is to discuss the participants’ existing and potential works and to analyse the work of others in order to develop new ideas and forms of telling stories from a different perspective. The approach is to learn how to see the narrative through the heart of the victims all over the world.


Charlotte Schmitz (Photographer and Founder of The Journal Collective)

WORKSHOP ‘Exploring new narratives / New ways of collaborating? / On Collectivity / The Journal Collective‘

The Journal is a photography collective of several hundred women and non-binary photographers who have come together to create a global network for creativity and support while giving insight into their lives around the world. This workshop explores important spaces for women and non-binary photographers. It focuses on online communities, why collaboration can change visual approaches and minimise competition, rethinking visual ethics, and how to contribute to a sustainable and equal photography society. Participants will respond to a given theme in collaboration prior to the workshop, much like the journal members do, and the photographs will be discussed and curated together. The visual conversation of this workshop will be presented on The Journal’s IG – @thejournal_collective.