Martha Langford, PhD
Professor, Art History
Research Chair and Director, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art
Editor-in-chief, Journal of Canadian Art History/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien
Martha Langford is the Research Chair and Director of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art and a professor in the Department of Art History at Concordia University in Montreal. She is also editor-in-chief of Journal of Canadian Art History/Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien and co-editor, with Sandra Paikowsky, of the Beaverbrook Foundation Series on Canadian Art History of McGill-Queen's University Press.
Langford has written the first comprehensive survey of modern Canadian photographic art: "A Short History of Photography, 1900-2000," in Anne Whitelaw, Brian Foss, and Sandra Paikowsky, eds., The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press, 2010). Her writing on photography and video addresses mediated experience in relation to constructs of memory and imagination. These interests intersect in "Imagined Memories: On Rafael Goldchain's Family Album," in Rafael Goldchain, I Am My Family: Photographic Memories and Fictions (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008) and "A Murder of White Crows: Susan MacWilliam's Varieties of Psychical Experience," in Karen Downey, editor, Susan MacWilliam: Remote Viewing (Black Dog Publishing, 2009).
Her books include Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001) and Scissors, Paper, Stone: Expressions of Memory in Contemporary Photographic Art (MQUP, 2007). Her edited collection, Image & Imagination, published in both English and French editions (MQUP, 2005), featured original essays by American, Australian, and British scholars. Her studies of vernacular photography include A Cold War Tourist and His Camera, co-written with John Langford (MQUP, 2011) and "Strange Bedfellows: Appropriations of the Vernacular by Photographic Artists," in Photography & Culture 1:1 (2008). Working with a team of graduate students, Langford is developing a common research tool for Canadian photographic studies, to be launched in 2013.
She is currently completing an intellectual biography of Canadian visual artist Michael Snow. This research has already generated numerous conference papers, book chapters, and catalogue essays, including "Repetition / La Répétition: Michael Snow and the Act of Memory," in Catsou Roberts, ed., Michael Snow almost Cover to Cover (Bristol and London: Arnolfini and Black Dog Press, 2001); "Michael Snow: Screen Writing," Switch 3 (Powerplant, spring 2010): 8-15 and "Translation, Migration, Fascination: Motion Pictures by Michael Snow," in Michael Snow, Recent Works (Vienna: Secession, 2012).
Langford serves as a contributing editor for Border Crossings (Winnipeg), EXIT - Imagen y Cultura / Image & Culture (Madrid), Photography & Culture (London), and Ciel Variable (Montreal). She is a regular book reviewer for Source: The Photographic Review (Belfast). Founding director of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa (1985-1994) and artistic director of the international photographic biennale, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2005, Langford is an active independent curator whose recent exhibitions include Unmasking: Arthur Renwick, Adrian Stimson, Jeff Thomas (2009) for the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris and curatorial consultant for the Musée du Quai Branly photographic biennale PhotoQuai 2009, both projects in collaboration with Sherry Farrell Racette. Also in 2009, she was the commissioning curator for Preoccupations: Photographic Explorations of the Grey Nuns Mother House for the Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University.
Langford received her PhD from McGill University in 1997, followed by fellowships held at the Institute for the Humanities of Simon Fraser University and the National Gallery of Canada.
Research & Teaching Interests
- Photographic History and Theory
- Canadian Photographic Historiography
- Twentieth-Century Canadian Art
- Visual Culture
- Photographic Experience (Memory and Imagination)
- Institutional Theory
Distinctions & Awards
Concordia University Research Chair in Art History, 2013-2014.
Individual Investigator, Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, for three-year project, "The 'Memoriography' of Unwritten Histories: Making an Example of Canadian Photography," April 2008 - March 2011.
Concordia University Research Chair in Art History, 2008-2009
Co-Investigator, L'Américanité et l'art canadien (Award holder: Louise Vigneault, Université de Montréal), Standard Research Grants Program, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, April 2003 - March 31, 2006.
National Gallery of Canada, Research Fellowship in Canadian Art, 2002-03.
Canada Council Arts Grant (A), Criticism and Curating, 2002-2003.
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec: Aide à la circulation d'oeuvres (La Méthode et l'extase: Richard Baillargeon, Michel Campeau, Bertrand Carrière) 2001-2003.
Canada Council Arts Grant (B), Criticism and Curating, 1995-1996, 1997-1998, 2001-2002.
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, January 1999 - December 2000.
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec: Literary Grant (B), 1998.
Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 1993-1995.
Max Stern Fellowship in Art History, 1991-92; Fellowship Renewal, 1992-1993.
Government of Canada Merit Award, 1989.