The V&A Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project is an endowed curatorial programme that supports women in photography.
The project encompasses a permanent curatorial post and an ambitious programme of activity that spans acquisitions, commissions, research, education, displays and events, including the annual V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography.
Complementing the V&A's commitment to championing creativity and providing a space for everyone interested in art and design, The Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project aims to address historic gender imbalances by foregrounding and sustaining women's practice in photography and investigating the significant role women have played internationally, throughout the history of the medium.
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The V&A Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project is generously funded by Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and the Parasol Foundation Trust.
Visit our blog for the latest updates on The V&A Parasol Foundation Women in Photography programme, including interviews with artists and acquisition announcements.
The V&A began acquiring photographs in 1852, and its collection is now one of the largest and most important in the world, comprising over 800,000 photographs and numerous negatives, objects, and books; many of which can be found in the National Art Library.
The V&A Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project makes regular acquisitions for the museum's permanent collection. Each acquisition is strategically considered alongside our collecting policies, addressing gaps in our collection or for specific displays. The V&A Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project has made a firm commitment to acquiring works by women artists of colour.
Women photographers have played a vital role in the history of photography at the V&A. In 1865 the museum became the first institution to collect and exhibit the work of pioneering photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, and today the collection houses the largest number of Cameron prints in the world – over 900.
The photography collection features several other works by significant 19th-century women artists, including Lady Clementina Hawarden, Anna Atkins and Gertrude Käsebier. However, for every 'successful' female photographer, there are many whose histories and contributions remain untold. The Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project aims to identify and celebrate these hidden stories, with a substantial focus on contemporary women artists and artists of colour.
The V&A Parasol Foundation Women in Photography Project emphasises our commitment to supporting female practitioners and championing contemporary photography through a dynamic series of events and exhibitions. Events are often held at the museum, including within the Photography Centre's suite of seven galleries. With a strong remit to diversify audiences, the project can often be found in off-site locations and in partnership with other international institutions.
The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography
In partnership with Peckham 24
The V&A Parasol Foundation Prize for Women in Photography is an annual initiative dedicated to identifying, supporting, and championing innovative women artists working in the field of contemporary photography.
Launched in 2022, the Prize is free to enter, open to all women internationally, both professionals and amateurs. The Prize is subject to a specific annual theme and winners are selected by an independent selection panel consisting of global industry professionals and inspiring international artists.
Supported by Ms. Ruth Monicka Parasol and The Parasol Foundation Trust