What we do
Contra is a not-for-profit independent publication that considers the relationship between visual culture and conflict. Published annually, each issue takes a theme related to conflict and considers its role in visual culture both past and present.
Conflict informs the work of many artists, photographers and other visual practitioners. In an era in which images are increasingly ubiquitous and have the ability to shape public opinion, it is important to analyse the way we perceive conflict. Our aim at Contra is to give space to and question these intersections in print and through an ongoing events programme.
Issue 01, titled Displacement, looks at the visual response to current and past migrations. Published in January 2018, it features contributors including dancer-choreographer Akram Khan, photographer Harley Weir and research agency Forensic Architecture, who were nominated for the 2018 Turner Prize.
Issue 02, Protest, published in April 2019, explores how visual culture engages with and reacts to different forms of resistance. Featuring contributors including Kara Walker, Olafur Eliasson, Santiago Sierra, Seamus Murphy and Raqs Media Collective, it poses questions such as: What defines protest and how does it relate to visual culture? How powerful is art as an enactor of social change? And what does the future hold for protest as a visual language?
We would like to invite potential contributors to pitch content for Contra’s third issue, which will focus on visual responses to destruction, preservation, degradation, decay, demise and renewal related to or caused by conflict.
We are keen to hear from artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, writers, photographers and other creatives, and we welcome contributions in the form of photography, journalism, fiction, illustrations, poetry, book extracts and more. All content published in the magazine must contain a strong visual element and relate to visual culture.
If you would like to get involved, please send your pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 3 September.
Please share widely with friends and network
Stay tuned for further updates after the deadline.
We run an ongoing events programme that expands on the themes explored in print. These events take the form of film screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, talks, artist residencies and more. Keep posted on our social media channels for news about what’s coming up.
Who we are
We are a group of passionate volunteers with a varied background in publishing, events, filmmaking and research. The idea to form Contra derived from a shared interest in representations of conflict and a belief that accessible critical analysis of this topic is missing within everyday encounters with media.
Design by Our Place
Distributed by Antenne Books
“Through the combination of captivating photo essays and insights
into the thoughts of well-known creatives, Contra Journal utilises
art and design to create a platform that communicates stories and
champions unheard voices”
It’s Nice That
“Numerous new art publications pop up every year, and some
stand out more than others. Contra… certainly has a USP”
The Art Newspaper
“Issue 01 of Contra was one of our favourite launches last year”
“I was really impressed by the way Contra drills down into the
issues it covers and looks at them from a human perspective,
resulting in content that has a real resonance.”
Chief Executive, Refugee Council
An in-depth interview with the Contra founders published by Dazed can be found here.
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