‘L’esperienza del luogo’: Italian photography, writing and landscape. Luigi Ghirri, his contemporaries, his legacy.

University of Leicester, 19 – 21 September 2014

Location: Stamford Court (Oadby), Leicester

The conference will be the culmination of the British Academy/Leverhulme-funded project Viewing and writing Italian landscape. Luigi Ghirri and his legacy in photography and literature.

The project aims to further the study of Ghirri’s photography by focusing on underexplored issues; to contextualize his work among that of his contemporaries, including photographers, artists, writers, geographers, architects; to explore Ghirri’s legacy in photography, literature and other artistic practices and disciplines. More broadly, the conference and project seek to examine the multiple intersections among photography, narrative writing and the investigation of space, place and landscape in Italy since the 1970s.

The conference will include two keynote speakers, a selection of papers by scholars and practitioners, and discussion sessions aimed at engaging audiences across a number of subjects. All sessions will be plenary (and not parallel) in order to enhance discussion among all participants.

On the occasion of the conference and as an accompaniment to it, a ‘virtual’ exhibition, as a looped programme on a screen, will present images by Italian photographers who have worked around ‘place’ and landscape, from Luigi Ghirri himself and Vittore Fossati, who were among the initiators of this approach at the beginning of the 1980s, to practitioners active from the 1980s onwards, such as Cesare Ballardini, Marcello Galvani, Sisto Giriodi, Luca Nostri, Paolo Simonazzi. The programme will include ten images for each artist, thus providing an informative overview of the so-called ‘Italian school of landscape’.


Conference Programme

Conference Abstracts: [Italian] [English] 

The conference will be of particular interest to:

  • Scholars and postgraduate students in Italian Studies, Cultural Studies, Comparative Literatures, History of Art; History of Photography, Visual and Digital Arts, Film and Media Studies, Architecture and Urbanism, Geography and Environmental Studies;
  • Artists, photographers, writers, filmmakers;
  • Policy-makers and journalists – particularly those engaged in issues related to place, landscape and/or heritage.

Keynote Speakers

The conference will include two keynote speakers:

Scientific Committee

  • Marina Spunta (School of Modern Languages, University of Leicester)
  • Jacopo Benci (British School at Rome)

Project Assistant

  • Oliver Brett (School of Modern Languages, University of Leicester)

Advisory Committee    

Call for papers English version

Call for papers Italian version

The Call for papers is now closed

Sponsors and patronage

Travel to Leicester

Our maps and travel directions show full details of the conference centre as well as accommodation venues and the University campus.  It also gives complete travel information for those coming by rail, car or air. Useful information on Leicester is available to those planning to stay before or after the conference. 

How to find Stamford Court and Oadby Student Village 

The Leicester by rail link shows timetable details and allows you to book your travel directly. 

Leicester is just 69 minutes direct from London by train. There are also direct rail links to Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, East Midlands Parkway (for East Midlands Airport), Peterborough, Luton and Stansted Airport.

Leicester is also on a direct line into St Pancras International, the home of Eurostar. With just one change of train you could be in Paris or Brussels. North-South train services through Leicester are run by East Midlands Trains; East-West services are run by Cross-Country Trains.


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You are welcome to get in touch if you have queries or suggestions.

Marina Spunta

Jacopo Benci

Oliver Brett - Project Assistant