Co-author with Eva Major-Marothy of 'Editors' Introduction', RACAR (Revue d’Art Canadienne / Canadian Art Review), Vol. XXX (1-2), 2005: 5-8
But is that a portrait? This is the question that emerged in the course of a panel at the 2002 Universities Art Association conference in Alberta, Canada, and animated much of the discussion between its participants. The discussion was particularly germane in the face of the recently established Portrait Gallery of Canada's collecting policy, the emphasis of which is on the historical documentation of ordinary, rather than extraordinary, citizens. It is a policy which invites the acquisition of, for example, school photographs and tourist postcards. How should we understand such images as portraits, when their purpose and format is so different from the conventional European portrait? Can these kinds of images answer the same kinds of questions about the individuals they depict?
I wasn't just interested in my own ways of answering these questions, so developed responses in collaboration with many other scholars, through this editing project with Eva Major-Marothy, Senior Curator of the Portrait Gallery of Canada, as well as a collaborative web-based project with artist Nicky Bird and others (www.unknownsitter.com, launched January 2006), which interrogates the meanings of portraits when we cannot identify the sitter. These projects provided the material for a talk on performativity and contemporary portraiture at Tate Modern, in the OU Study Days series, in March of 2007.