Second Edition Announcement

Bristol Photo Festival 2nd edition – The World A Wave – first press release

The second edition of Bristol Photo Festival —The World A Wave—will open in autumn 2024. Exhibitions will be held in the city’s major visual arts institutions alongside independent and unconventional spaces accompanied by a wide events programme.

The exhibition programme focuses on the personal stories of those confronting societal changes whilst navigating daily life. Confirmed artists include Akosua Viktoria Adu Sanyah, Kirsty Mackay, Amak Mahmoodian, Trent Parke, Sarker Protick and Hashem Shakeri. Each artist addresses a world in constant motion where social, political and environmental conditions are ever-evolving.

Describing the programme, festival director Alejandro Acin added: “I believe in photography as a tool to experience the world anew. In a time of multiple crises, we need photography more than ever. I want the festival to be a space full of nuanced and unexpected stories that foster greater understanding of our shared world.”

The festival has an international focus but is grounded in the city of Bristol. For this edition, alongside the exhibition programme, the festival is collaborating with local residents and port workers from Avonmouth to create a community archive, accompanied by a programme of creative activities. The festival, in collaboration with Prison Education, will present The Prison Mobile Library, an educational photography project across three sites in the South West of England.

The festival opening week will take place between Wednesday 16th – Sunday 20th October. The opening week will include reception events and artist talks across the city. Following this, all exhibitions will remain open for a duration of 1-3 months. The full lineup of exhibiting artists will be released in July 2024. 

Participating artists

Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah

Georgian House Museum residency

Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanya— known for her work examining the relationship between photography and memory, particularly in relation to her own family history— will be in residence at the Georgian House Museum, creating a new body of work relating to the building’s colonial history.

Kirsty Mackay

The Magic Money Tree

Bristol-based photographer Kirsty Mackay has worked collaboratively with groups and individuals from across England to explore the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and what poverty looks like in the world’s 6th richest economy.

Amak Mahmoodian

120 minutes

17 Midland Road

Premiering as part of the festival — in collaboration with Multistory — Bristol-based artist Amak Mahmoodian’s new project uses images, poems, archives and video to explore the dreams experienced by those in exile. The work was produced collaboratively with communities of refugees and asylum seekers across the UK.

Trent Parke


Martin Parr Foundation

This dystopian project, to be exhibited outside Australia for the first time, extends the metaphor of the moth drawn to a flame to city life and beyond. Photographs taken throughout Parke’s career are edited to create a vision of humanity engrossed by and drawn to an inescapable light.

Sarker Protick

Bangladeshi artist Sarkar Protick has been commissioned by the festival to produce his first solo exhibition in the UK. Bringing together multiple bodies of his work incorporating photography, video and sound, the exhibition will draw upon the history of and contemplate the ever-evolving story of Bangladesh.

Hashem Shakeri

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Iranian visual artist Shakeri has been documenting daily life in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of British and American military forces and the consequent arrival to power of the Taliban. This work will be shown in the UK for the first time as part of the festival and accompanied by an engagement programme in collaboration with the Afghan community in Bristol.

Notes for Editors

Bristol Photo Festival is an international biennial of contemporary photography. The first edition in 2021 drew 200,000 visitors, with 18 exhibitions staged across the city’s museums, galleries and independent spaces.

As an organisation, we believe in the power of photography as a tool to experience the world anew. Our mission is to present nuanced and unexpected stories that foster greater understanding of shared pasts, presents and futures. Our work is internationally-focussed yet locally grounded, built from the urgencies of our city and its inhabitants. As a platform, we support artists to experiment, creating work that breaks with convention, exploring the  possibilities of photography as a political tool today.

BOP Bookfair


BOP – Books on Photography – is the annual photobook festival from Martin Parr Foundation and The Royal Photographic Society, this year in collaboration with Bristol Photo Festival. The festival brings together a wide-ranging group of photobook publishers, artist talks, exhibitions, book signings, events, street food, coffee and beer.

BOP Bookfair will take place during BPF opening week 18 and 19 October 2024. The full programme will be released this summer. Lookout for details on the BOP website.

The bookfair is produced in collaboration with:

All That Flows Comes to Rest

Photographs from the Bristol Port Company archive

Exploring the past, present and future of Avonmouth, Bristol’s industrial port community. 

The village of Avonmouth lies where the river Avon meets the Severn Estuary. It has thus served as a historic entrance to the city of Bristol, a place through which all ships passed on their way to the centre of the city. The port of Avonmouth grew rapidly in the early 20th century, a place where larger ships could unload, avoiding the sometimes treacherous journey up the river Avon to central Bristol. At its height, the port of Avonmouth supported approximately 5000 jobs, however the invention of container ships led to a rapid decline in the number of dockworkers required. 

Today, the port is a successful operation, receiving goods from across the world. However, few residents of Bristol travel to Avonmouth, seeing it solely as a site of industrial work. This belies the fact that Avonmouth is a place that many call home; an intergenerational and multicultural community that contains myriad stories that speak to the changing nature of place, labour and globalisation. 

 In collaboration with Avonmouth Community Centre and the Bristol Port Company, we are building a resident-led community archive, collecting materials that speak to the contemporary history of Avonmouth. We will also be organising a series of micro-commissions, supporting artists to work with local residents, telling the story of Avonmouth today. 

For the festival, we will organise a weekend of events, sharing the outcomes of our work in Avonmouth. Details will be announced Summer 2024. 

The title All That Flows Comes To Rest is inspired by the work of artist Allan Sekula, creator of The Dockers’ Museum, a vast collection of artefacts that form an image of the world from the perspective of maritime labourer; the one who is always standing on the threshold between land and sea.

This project is supported by:

The Prison Mobile Library

Supporting incarcerated people to develop and publish first-person stories, using photography and creative writing. 

While every prison contains a library, how many of the books have been written by authors with direct experience of incarceration? What would it mean to create a library of books created by those imprisoned, speaking directly to those facing the same challenges? 

The Prison Mobile Library is a collaboration between IC Visual Lab, Bristol Photo Festival and Weston College. Through a series of workshops, we are inviting imprisoned individuals across three prisons (HMP Bristol, Dartmoor & Exeter) to create new stories, using photography and creative writing. The results will be published, available from participating prison libraries, and displayed as part of the festival (details to be announced Summer 2024).

This project is supported by:

Staring into the Abyss by Hashem Shakeri

Best known for creating slow documentary projects that study the aftermath of global histories and ideologies, Hashem Shakeri has spent the last 12 months documenting daily life in Afghanistan as the country adjusts to the return of the Taliban. He will be premiering this new work as part of the festival. 

Shakeri’s work has been published widely, including The Sunday Times & The New York Times. He has been the recipient of the prestigious Reportage Grant from Getty Images and was shortlisted for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. This exhibition will represent Shakeri’s first solo exhibition in the UK.

In collaboration with:

Supported by:

The House is a Body by Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah

Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah will be in residence in Bristol’s Georgian House Museum, creating a new body of work in relation to the building’s colonial history. Built in the late 18th century, Georgian House is best known as the home of John Pinney (1740 – 1818), a wealthy sugar merchant and slave holder; yet was also home to Pero Jones (1753-1793) and Fanny Coker (1767-1820), both of whom were born into slavery and brought to Bristol by the Pinney family. Adu-Sanyah’s commission will respond to these histories. 

Best known for her original work examining the relationship between photography and memory, Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah is a German-Ghanaian artist based in Zürich, Switzerland. She has held exhibitions across europe, including: Centre Photographie Genéve (CH), Photoforum Pasquart (CH), Saarland Museum (DE), Foam Museum (NL). Her work is held in the permanent collections of both the city and canton of Zurich, Fotomuseum Winterthur and the city of Saarbrücken. In addition, she has been published by titles including: National Geographic, LUX Magazine, The Art Newspaper, Polka Magazine, Bloomberg, npr, DerBund, swissinfo and Tagesanzeiger.

In collaboration with:

Supported by:

Spaces of Separation by Sarker Protick

We are working with Sarker Protick to produce his first solo exhibition in the UK. The exhibition will bring together multiple bodies of work, including Spaces of Separation (2016-ongoing), a long-term study of the colonial architectural remains that can be found across Bangladesh and West Bengal. Our aim is to create an exhibition that listens to history, contemplating the ever-evolving story of Bangladesh as a place and nation. 

Working with photography, video and sound, Sarker Protick’s works are built on long-term surveys of Bangladesh. He is drawn to themes such as time passing, the alteration of land and borders, as well as traces of both personal and political histories. Protick is a lecturer at the South Asian Media Institute Pathshala, and co-curator of Chobi Mela, the longest running international photography festival in Asia. As an artist he has received multiple awards and fellowships, including Joop Swart Masterclass, Foam Talent, Light Work Residency, Magnum Foundation Fund and the World Press Photo Award. He is represented by Shrine Empire, Delhi. 

Supported by:

One Hundred & Twenty Minutes by Amak Mahmoodian

In her new work, 120 minutes, Bristol-based artist Amak Mahmoodian explores ideas of dreaming amongst people in exile. The exhibition is produced in collaboration with Multistory who originally commissioned part of the work.

Working with images, poems, archives and videos, Amak Mahmoodian’s work weaves connections between south/central Asia (particularly Iran) and the region’s many diasporas, focussing on the stories of those rendered silent by official narratives. Previous projects include Zanjir 2019) and Shenasnameh (2016).

In collaboration with:

Supported by: