Exhibition | Jo Spence : From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy | Photographs from The Hyman Collection | Photography at Arnolfini | Bristol | Art Week

Jo Spence : From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy | Photographs from The Hyman Collection

Share this


Exhibition Type:

How many artists: 

How many exhibition works:


Saturday, 19 December 2020 to Sunday, 30 May 2021

Arnolfini present a major retrospective of the work of photographer Jo Spence (1934 – 1992), drawn from The Hyman Collection, one of the most comprehensive collections of Spence’s works in the world.

Spence has been an integral figure within photographic discourse from the 1970s onwards. Throughout her diverse projects she is well known for her highly politicised approach to photography and the representation of her own struggles with cancer.

From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy focuses on the intersection between arts, health and wellbeing, celebrating Spence’s work as a photo therapist in which she used photography as a medium to address personal trauma, reflecting on key moments in her past.

Photo-therapy, especially the type of re-enactment therapy that is at the heart of Spence’s practice, is essentially a collaborative process and the exhibition presents works made by Spence in collaboration with Terry Dennett, Rosy Martin, David Roberts, Dr. Tim Sheard and Valerie Walkerdine.

This will be the first time that her thesis will be exhibited and published in its entirety. Entitled “Fairy Tales and Photography… or, another look at Cinderella”, this was a pivotal document, created at a crucial point in Spence’s career. The exhibition will focus on the actual small-scale photographs that Spence used in her photo-therapy sessions as well as the laminate panels that she used for her workshops and touring exhibitions.

From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy charts Spence’s diagnosis and treatment for cancer, juxtaposing humour with inevitable challenging issues. Themes include Cinderella and Fairytales, Remodelling Photo History/Medical History, Childhood Child and Parent Relationships, Libido/Sexuality/Marriage, The Grotesque.

The exhibition is curated by Keiko Higashi, Engagement Producer at Arnolfini, with Dr. Frances Hatherley, writer, researcher and archivist at the Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive at Birkbeck, University of London, in collaboration with the Bristol Photo Festival.


Fairy Tales and Photography… or, another look at Cinderella is available to buy from Arnolfini Bookshop or direct from RRB Photo Books.

Curator ( Name ):

Artist ( Name ):

Venue ( Name ):

Venue ( Address ): 

16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA

Views: 480

Other shows from Arnolfini

Chantal Joffe : For Esme - with Love and Squalor
09/03/2020 to 11/22/2020



Related Shows This Week in UK

Ewen Henderson
02/27/2021 to 03/06/2021
Emil Alzamora | Mutability
02/18/2021 to 03/27/2021
You Will Knead
01/24/2021 to 04/05/2021
Jo Spence : From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy | Photographs from The Hyman Collection
12/19/2020 to 05/30/2021
Jo Fairfax: Play
01/23/2021 to 05/16/2021
01/29/2021 to 04/18/2021
Rachid Koraïchi: Tears that Taste of the Sea
01/22/2021 to 03/27/2021
A Picture of Health | Women Photographers from The Hyman Collection
12/19/2020 to 05/30/2021