University of Technology Sydney

80083 Memory and the Image

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


This subject investigates image based practices and the impact that visual culture has on memory. Students consider the various ways the image complicates yet contributes to memory, storytelling and autobiography, from the personal to the political. The subject looks to photographic theory, philosophies of memory and historiography, alongside a variety of images - from family albums to public archives to fake photographs to consider the relationship between memory and the image. The subject focuses on the various techniques that creative practitioners use to play with the relationship between the image and memory such as photographic montage, remixing archives, image and text relationships, synthetic media, interviews, among other methods.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between photography and memory in current image based practice and photographic history and theory
2. Communicate ideas effectively in a variety of ways, including visual, written and oral.
3. Initiate and execute self-critique, critical thinking and design responses to memory related photographic work.
4. Demonstrate a practical and conceptual strategies for working with photography in the field of memory studies.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Ability to constructively engage with subject learning activities (A.3)
  • Ability to communicate ideas effectively in a variety of ways, including oral, written and visual (C.2)
  • Ability to produce inspirational responses that exemplify integration of learning experiences (I.4)
  • Ability to recognise and engage in a diverse range of technical and practical contexts (P.1)
  • Ability to apply relevant digital and/or analogue techniques and technologies to image-based practice (P.2)
  • Ability to position work within an extended disciplinary context (P.5)
  • Ability to source, evaluate and utilise appropriate academic and professional references (R.1)
  • Ability to independently select and apply appropriate research methodologies to carry out investigative study (R.2)
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge of photographic history and theory and to place creative practice within a contextual framework (R.4)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject provides Bachelor of Design, Photography students with the development of the Faculty’s five CAPRI Graduate Attribute Categories:

C: Communication and group work

A: Attitudes and Values

P: Practical and professional

R: Research and critique

I: Innovation and creativity

Teaching and learning strategies

A weekly three-hour tutorial/workshop combining historical, theoretical and technical instruction to guide students in producing new written and photographic work that explores photography's relationship to memory. Each week students will be asked to familiarise themselves with a range of resources that relate to the topic; these are included in the program descriptions. They will then attend tutorials and workshops and must be prepared to ask questions, raise ideas and apply their understanding of the topic in a collaborative learning environment. Preparation in advance of workshops is crucial. Workshops will give students the opportunity to work with peers and tutor/mentors, to collaborate on projects directly relevant to the assessment items, and develop photographic skills in a practical context.

Studio tutorials will provide students with the opportunity to take ownership of the ideas encountered in preparatory research. Tutor/mentors will help facilitate discussion and offer expert insight and direction where needed, but students are primarily responsible for the collaborative and participatory nature of the tutorial. They are also responsible for taking notes that record feedback. Outside of class time, students are expected to extend the enquiries made in the collaborative learning session with the independent development of their assessment projects.

Students are supported in these projects by access to level 2 photo media facilities. Grades, marks and feedback on submitted tasks will be provided through Canvas.

Semester-long subject, delivered through weekly lectures and tutorials, studio classes, group discussion and portfolio presentations.

Content (topics)

The content of tutorials cover the discourse of memory through photography and visual culture, with the following topics and themes:

  • Theoretical approaches to memory.
  • Writing the self: autobiography and photography are considered in relation to individual memory
  • Traces and indexical memory are considered in relation to photography's material association with memory. We look at techniques of montage and collage and consider how they function as ways of rematerialising the past
  • How practitioners use photography and images to revise history and collective memory
  • The role of the image in archives, museums & public/private memory
  • How photography interferes with theories of trauma and witnessing
  • We look at the ways practitioners use photography as a form of remembrance.


Assessment task 1: Project proposal


This assessment will develop your ability to integrate theoretical contexts with studio practice.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.3, C.2, I.4, R.1 and R.4

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 35%

Assessment task 2: Final project


This essay and studio project is designed to integrate theory and practice.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

3 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

P.1, P.2, P.5 and R.2

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 65%

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.


Marc Auge, trans. Marjolijn de Jager, Oblivion, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004

Ulrich Baer, Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2002

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, London: Vintage, 2000

Geoffrey Batchen, Forget me not: Photography and remembrance, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004

Henri Bergson, ‘From Matter and Memory’ in M. Rossington and A. Whitehead (eds.), Theories of Memory: A reader, Perth, University of Western Australia Press, 2007

Susan Best, Reparative Aesthetics: Witnessing in Contemporary Art Photography, London: Bloomsbury, 2016

Hal Foster, ‘An Archival Impulse’, October, Vol 110, August 2004

Sigmund Freud, ‘A note upon the mystic writing pad’ in M. Rossington and A. Whitehead (eds.), Theories of Memory: A reader, Perth, University of Western Australia Press, 2007

Joan Gibbons, Contemporary art and memory, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2009

Andreas Huyssen, Present Pasts: Urban palimpsests and the Politics of Memory, California: Stanford University Press, 2003

Margaret Iversen, Photography, Trace and Trauma, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017

Alison Landsberg, Prosthetic Memory: The transformation of American remembrance in the age of mass culture, New York: Columbia University Press, 2004

Pierre Nora, Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire, Representations, No.26, Special issue: Memory and Counter Memory

Lisa Saltzman, Making memory matter: strategies of remembrance in contemporary art, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006

Frances Guerin and Roger Hallas (eds.), The image and the witness: Trauma, memory and visual culture, London and New York: Wallflower, 2007