External roles and responsibilities
Jane Birkin is an artist, designer and scholar. She is a Research Fellow at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, where in May 2015 she completed a practice-based PhD entitled, ‘Units of Description: Writing and Reading the “Archived” Photograph’. Birkin worked for several years on exhibitions in Archives and Manuscripts at the University of Southampton, as exhibition designer and curator. Taking the archive as the primary locus of her own work, she is specifically concerned with institutional description techniques that define and manage the photographic image. She employs the dry, restricted language of archival description as a radical platform for exploring image temporalities and non-linear temporal progressions within image sets. Birkin’s practice and writing functions at the intersection of text and image, combining media culture and techniques of the archive, as well as contemporary discourse on art, photography and conceptual writing. She unfolds the term ‘archive’, not as a discussion of nostalgia and decay, but by approaching images logistically, through information management, through the ‘grey literature’ of descriptions and lists. She has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally and her academic monograph Archive, Photography and the Language of Administration was published by Amsterdam University Press in 2021.