Vision statement in progress
The vision so far, with additions from Kelley, Stephen, Roger, Marc, Connie and Michael:
The Photographic Gateway is an international forum working across disciplines that enables and stimulates photographic research. The network supports participants in defining research priorities, sharing guidelines for the management of photographic resources, and recommending best practices in collections management, education and conservation of photography. Collectively committed to advocating for and raising the international profile of photography, the Gateway aims to integrate resources for research in photographic history, collections management, conservation and curatorial practice in photography. Partners in the Photographic Gateway contribute valuable expertise, facilities, information, or funds to the network, and publish information which describes previously neglected or inaccessible collections. Gateway members are committed to the open sharing of in-house or proprietary research tools for photographic history. A fundamental objective is toshare research and management goals with the wider community in order to reduce redundancy or research conflicts, streamline the allocation of resources and act as a catalyst for networked activities, grant writing, and converging and synthesizing new perspectives in photographic history.
The activities of the Gateway partners benefit the entire network. Contributors maintain institutional or individual autonomy while benefiting from increased support and visibility within the field. Where one or more partners choose to work together, the Gateway, its partners, and its cumulative communal infrastructure of resources, will facilitate these relationships. In this way the Gateway will form a webbed network, rather than a hub-and-spoke model, thus providing an environment for independent and innovative development without the constraints of a central authority. To facilitate Gateway activities, the members will research and develop innovative methods of sharing primary resources as well as secondary research and documentation. As a collective, the Gateway partners will act as a voice of authority and influence in the field, lending its voice to support initiatives which support photographic research, innovation and discovery.
Stakeholders in the Photographic Gateway Initiative include museum professionals, photographic conservators, researchers and educators who work on visual culture in fields as broad ranging as history, anthropology, science or art.
Benefits for Partners:
Stakeholders will benefit from increased access to existing resources via the creation and sharing of digital tools. As a group, this network will be well placed to establish research priorities, broaden access to communities outside the network and generate more collaborative and interdisciplinary research. By consolidating access to established and emerging resources, members of the network will be able to raise the profile of photographic collections, sources and research at a single access point. This will foster research and better utilize resources.
Expectations of Partners:
I wonder if the emphasis on resource creation might be misleading and whether it would be strategically advisable to emphasise collaborative research goals such as agree international research priorities, converge and synthesis new perspectives, leverage individual resources and expertise through cooperation, etc.
The Photographic Gateway is an international network of historians, conservators, and scientists who seek to support and stimulate the study of photographs by encouraging interdisciplinary and collaborative research and publication. Partners in the Photographic Gateway contribute valuable expertise, resources, information, or funds to the network, which support the study of photographs by:
Linking researchers and information via a centralized web portal
Producing and sharing research tools, such as open-source software to gather, manage
Compiling, digitizing, and disseminating information, such as primary source literature, databases, and syllabi
Identifying research priorities and uniting research partners
Providing guidelines and resources to share knowledge efficiently and globally
Recommending best practices for education, conservation, documentation, and collections administration
Efficient information sharing will minimize duplication of effort and stimulate:
Leveraging of resources
Convergence and synthesis of new perspectives in photographic history
The activities of the Photographic Gateway partners will bring together researchers and information to raise the awareness of the importance of our collective photographic heritage, and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to appreciate and preserve photographs.
I think the key word here is 'enables'. The network could support partners in setting priorities but would not set them as a body. As part of that enabling though I think that the network should act as a portal to direct researchers to resources and potentially host resources that might not have a home elsewhere, although perhaps that's more for PHRC? So I would re-write the initial aims paragraph as:
The Photographic Gateway is an international forum working across disciplines that enables and stimulates photographic studies. The network supports participants in defining research priorities, sharing guidelines for the management of photographic resources, recommending best practices in collections, education and conservation of photography.
The next section then becomes part of a more extensive statement of the activities of the network, again needs re-writing:
The nature of the priorities for research areas in photographic history and conservation will require better collaborative research, which the Initiative will achieve by leveraging the primary and digital resources we have and converging our methods, concepts and platforms for delivery. By concentrating on the location and organization of primary source material, our network will cut across disciplinary boundaries by offering a support system for digital and research initiatives in photographic studies wherever they may be found.