Spanning fifteen years, Julia Winckler's research sits across multiple strands:
• Archives, Memory & Migration
• Reactivating Archives through Artistic Interventions
• Photography and Pedagogy
Julia's research investigates archival traces within the context of collective memory and migration narratives. Her key research question probes how neglected archival sources can reveal forgotten histories of great significance to our understanding of the present. Applying a creative and interpretive photographic approach, using photographs as tools to think about historical experience, multiple articulations of memory and meaning are expressed, with the aim of generating new academic knowledge.
The author Ben Okri has described 'the artist [as] a conduit through which lost things are recovered' (2005). Julia's research methodology considers archival research as a material, embodied practice. Through extensive investigation in archives, she gathers materials and maps out a strategy and approach. She then travels to the sites that have historical significance for each project.
Through reactivation and visualisation using photography as the key medium, past memories are reframed and resituated in the present. Combining an archaeological with a genealogical approach, traces are documented; their significance to the present assessed, as some of the historical functions are lost or no longer important. The genealogical approach necessitates an investigation that starts in the present, a retracing of the journey, that is physical and experimental, setting up encounters and dialogues.
Lost and recovered narratives have been a key theme of Julia Winckler's work to date. Memory and migration narratives of emigration (Two Sisters), exile and loss (Traces), exploration (Retracing Heinrich Barth), displacement (Leaving Atlantis), expedition/peregrination (My Canadian Pilgrimage) and interwar home-making (Fabricating Lureland) have been visualized and probed using the language of photography. These projects have been disseminated through public exhibitions, at conferences, exhibition catalogue publications and public engagement workshops, as well as informing Julia's teaching practice.
Julia has undertaken extensive work with and within communities to enable broader access to personal cultural heritage amongst disadvantaged areas and demographics. She has sought to improve inclusivity of knowledge production and to reanimate disconnected or underdeveloped narratives and histories. Oscillating between photographic and archival research, she uses photography as a medium through which collective memories can be reconstructed and given a renewed cultural presence.