Open Courtauld Hour

Open Courtauld Hour: Captured!

Photo in black and white of a Kurdish child

To celebrate the upcoming reopening of our gallery we are teaming up with our digitisation team, volunteers and students for our first Open Courtauld Hour of the season!

20th Century British photographer Anthony Kersting, the most prolific and widely travelled architectural photographer of his generation, will be the subject of the inaugural display in the new Project Space when The Courtauld Gallery reopens. The 1.1million photographs in the Conway Library – most of which have never been seen by the public – are currently undergoing a major volunteer-led digitisation project – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund – which will put these images, including Kersting’s, into the public domain. Join us in previewing and traversing ’Kurdistan in the 1940s’, examining the materiality of these photographs, their digitisation and the gaining an insight into the stories, lives and people that only those connected to the project, the land and its subjects, can share.

For this hour we are delighted to be collaborating with Tom Bilson (Head of Digital Media at The Courtauld), Caterina Domeneghini (Postgraduate Scholar in the Humanities, Wolfson College, and recipient of an Oxford Micro Internship placement in The Conway Library, June 2021), Karla Iessa (Born in North Iraq and and now settled in the UK) and Phil Dimes (Courtauld Volunteer and Photographer). Tom will kick off the hour by introducing the digitisation project itself, Caterina will then reflect on her time at The Conway Library and think beyond ruins to give new insights into dealing with images of destruction and their restoration, Karla, whose hometown Qaraqosh is an ancient Assyrian city which was controlled by ISIS until 2016, will then talk about the value of the Kersting photos in terms of memory, family history, and share her own story and to round up Phil will share how and why he has walked and cycled in the footsteps of Tony Kersting, taking photographs to match Kersting’s own ones. The session will end with a panel discussion and give the audience the opportunity to ask questions to our speakers.

This online mini series will provide concise one hour packages of pop-up talks, performances and in detail object study sessions that explore and celebrate our collection, research in art history, curation and conservation.

The series will touch on pertinent issues — magnifying contemporary thinking in society through the field of art history. These episodes will explore how the public, artists and galleries are adapting to a digital world, showcasing art historical research in light of this global pandemic and providing a platform for creative practice in the age of social distancing.

Most importantly, as art is relevant to all, these informal sessions will give attendees the chance to access, engage and read art and art history through a different lens— revamping and rethinking art historical discussions through retelling hidden stories. These episodes will platform new perspectives, new ways into art practice, looking at art and reading its history through themes that impact us all.

This event has passed.

30 Sep 2021

8pm - 9pm BST

Free, booking essential


Booking closes 30 minutes before the event start time.  
If you do not receive the log in details on the day of the event, please email 



Open Courtauld Hour - Episode 1, S6: Captured!

Open Courtauld Hour is supported by