This exhibition proposal was part of a grant application to the Arts Council in 1994. It was to include work by Anna Fox, clinic Rachel Lichtenstein, purchase Shelia Lawson and Dick Jewell. It ‘looked at ways in which photography can be used to create autobiographies, treat biographies and fictions of loss.’


Val had met Rachel Lichtenstein through oral historian Alan Dein, when she began work on the Oral History of British Photography at the National Sound Archive. Both Alan and Rachel had been involved with the remarkable discovery of the abandoned bedsitter once occupied by the reclusive David Rodinsky, and Rachel took up an artists residency in Rodinsky’s room on the upper floor of a former synagogue in Princelet Street, Spitalfields and produced a set of photographs of objects which had been owned by Rodinsky.

Val met Anna Fox when she interviewed her for the British Library Oral History of British Photography and was working with her on the V&A exhibition Warworks, which opened in 1994. Anna had recently moved to London from Aldershot, and made Dislocated Objects Missing Owners for this project.

Sheila Lawson’s work was introduced to Val by David Brittain, then editor of Creative Camera magazine. Val shared the Creative Camera offices at 5 Hoxton Square in East London from the early 1990s to 1996, resulting in a number of important collaborations- Val was also a regular reviewer for the magazine and a member of the Editorial Board.

Also included in the proposal were Dick Jewell, whose book of found photo booth images from the late 1970s was hugely influential and work by US photographer Anthony Hernandez and the artist Sophie Calle.

Although the proposal did not succeed in gaining funds from the Arts Council, it survives in the form of an illustrated folder with descriptions of each artist and body of work.

The archive group contains:

  • Illustrated exhibition proposal.
  • Handwritten application: Arts Council Visual Arts Development Grant.
  • Various spare sheets.
  • Handwritten letter from Val Williams to Lone Morton, who designed the exhibition proposal.

14412543266_71bdc26c6a_o 14434535684_0d82bd6b25_o 14249025660_b7944885d2_o 14249052780_5f6cc71fd7_o 14249223037_0ba87d61b7_o

Further Projects