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Emily Brady

Research Associate

I am a Research Associate with the Right’s Lab’s Antislavery Usable Past Project, focussing on usable photographic images in both activism and education. Crucially, I scope the photographic culture of contemporary antislavery.

My PhD focuses on African American women photographers within the long Civil Rights Movement, and the ways in which they negotiated various networks in order to attain their typically male-dominated careers. Women such as Doris Derby and Diana Davies worked tirelessly to create powerful images of their experiences in the movement, but their experiences have been long neglected in the histories of the movement. By challenging the male-dominated photographic culture of the movement, I seek to shed a new light on neglected images and histories.

My aim for the Usable Past Project is to cultivate a responsible photographic culture within the antislavery movement. Crucial to this is the increased visibility of survivor-produced photography, making the images produced by those who have experienced modern day slavery central to our imagery. In addition, avoiding images which support harmful stereotypes is essential. By evaluating the photography utilised prominent literature, exhibitions, and campaigns, I seek to shape the visual culture of the movement into something that minimises the trauma of survivors and is, ultimately, usable.  


Practical Expertise

Research Expertise:
  • African American photography 
  • Women’s photography 
  • The Civil Rights Movement


  • The Politics of Respectability and Gender: Passing in Early African American Photography, HOTCUS Winter Symposium, The University of Nottingham, 17th February 2018
  • African American Women as Photographers and Image-Makers 1865-1930, BAAS Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University, 6th-8th April 2017

Public Engagement Activities

Co-organiser of University of Nottingham’s ‘Women’s History Month 2017,’ including curating the ‘I’m Tired’ Photoshoot and Exhibition


  • Graduate School Travel Prize, University of Nottingham 2017
  • Department of American and Canadian Studies Travel Prize, University of Nottingham, 2017

Other Networks