Caroline Edge

Caroline Edge

Job Title and Responsibilities

Lecturer: BA (Hons) Photojournalism

About Me

Originally I studied for a degree in art and spent far more time lighting and photographing sculptures and installations than I did making them. After I graduated I travelled and then qualified as an art teacher delivering contextual studies at Art Foundation level and A level courses in Graphic Design and Art. After I was asked to also teach photography I rapidly realised my interest in the subject and its capacity to combine both art and function. I studied part-time alongside my job as a teacher for an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Bolton, graduating with a distinction in 2009. My MA work was selected for the Photographer’s Gallery’s annual survey of top UK graduates.

I left my job as a teacher in 2008 to work full time as a freelance photographer for local and national press and PR agencies. In conjunction with commercial work, I also began to develop projects with local communities, partnering with public artist Liam Curtin on a series of public commissions creating temporary camera obscuras in Rochdale and Oldham, and facilitating participatory projects for the charity PhotoVoice.

Between 2009-10 I was awarded a scholarship to create a series of photographs documenting everyday life in Bolton in response to Humphrey Spender’s photographs for Mass Observation’s 1930s Worktown study of the town. This work has fed into my current research - in 2011 I was awarded AHRC funding for a practice based PhD in Documentary Photography. My research focuses on Spender’s photographs (which are now held in the Worktown archive at Bolton Museum) examining how photography can be used as a method to understand and create relationships between photographic archives and local communities. I also continue to work on and exhibit personal documentary projects exploring the relationships between photography, chance, spirituality and light.


  • MA Documentary Photography (Distinction), University of Bolton, 2009

  • PGCE Art and Design, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2003

  • BA (Hons) Interactive Arts (First Class), Manchester Metropolitan University, 1999


  • Photojournalism

  • Documentary photography

  • Collaborative photography

Enterprise and Commercial Activities

I specialise in developing collaborative projects with communities and documenting the impact of social policy using photography, video and installations. Clients have included the Stroke Association, NHS, the Times, the University of Manchester, RIBA and the ICA. 

I am also co-partner and creative director of a small business which cuts short run vinyl records- Birds’ Hit Records. Our aim is to make vinyl available as an affordable archival and creative format for artists and musicians.

Research Interests

Documentary and street photography, Mass Observation, photographic archives and museums, collaborative photography, visual anthropology, camera obscuras, magic and photography

Selected Publications

‘Looking for Bolton in the Worktown Archive’ in eds. Edwards, Elizabeth and Morton, Christopher, Photographs, Museums, Collections, London: Bloomsbury (May 2015).


Selected Exhibitions

  • The City Like A Maze, Athens Photo Festival, The Photobook Show, Benaki Museum, 2015

  • Street and Playground, Bolton Museum (group exhibition), 2015

  • The City Like a Maze, Poor and Literate Gallery, Berlin (solo exhibition), 2014

  • Bolton/Worktown, short film for Mass Observation: This is Your Photo exhibition, Photographer’s Gallery, London (in collaboration with the South Manchester Arts Collective), 2013

  • Worktown 75th Anniversary Exhibition, Bolton Museum (curated), 2012

  • Carnival of Chaos, Antwerp Mansion, Manchester, an experimental audio-visual happening inspired by 1960s psychedelic light shows (curated), 2011

  • Voices, Look 11, Liverpool Photography Festival (group exhibition), 2011

  • Voices, People’s History Museum, Manchester (group exhibition), 2011

  • Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed, Photographer’s Gallery, London (group exhibition of top UK photography graduates), 2010

  • Worktown Holiday Rituals, Bolton Museum (solo exhibition), 2010

  • National Photography Symposium, Chetham’s Library, Manchester (group exhibition), 2010

  • PhotoMNE, Château fort de Lourdes, France (group exhibition), 2008

  • Spiritual Experience, No Soap Gallery, Novosibirsk, Siberia (solo exhibition), 2008

Conference papers, public talks and workshops

  • ‘The Worktown Observation Centre: documentary photography and community engagement’, invited seminar paper, Visual Anthropology seminar series, School of Anthropology, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, Oct 2014

  • ‘Creating a collaborative Worktown Archive: Mass Observation and mass photography’, invited seminar paper, Visual, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Oct 2014

  • ‘What they think in Worktown: Using photography to create a participatory archive’

  • Anthropology and Photography Conference, Royal Anthropological Institute, British Museum, May 2014

  • ‘What they photograph in Worktown:  Participatory photography and Saturday afternoons in Bolton’

  • Recording Leisure Lives Conference, University of Bolton, Apr. 2014

  • Our Connected Histories, short film on the Worktown Archive for the Greater Manchester Museums Group, Apr. 2012

  • ‘Worktown to Cottonopolis’, public lecture, Manchester Histories Festival, Mar 2014

  • ‘Documenting the Worktown Archive’, Research and Innovation Conference, University of Bolton, Jun. 2013

  • ‘Looking for Bolton in the Worktown Archive’, Between Art and Information Conference, De Montfort University, Mar 2013

  • Worktown 75TH Anniversary Symposium. I organised this public symposium and film screening in collaboration with Bolton Museum. Invited speakers included Russell Roberts (University of South Wales), film director Ian Potts (BBC), and Bob Snape (University of Bolton), Oct. 2012

  • BBC Radio Manchester, Interview about the Worktown project, Sep. 2012

  • ‘Looking for Worktown’s Lost Locations’, Mass Observation 75th Anniversary Conference, University of Sussex, Jul. 2012

  • ‘Return Journey: The story of a Worktown photograph’, Recording Leisure Lives Conference, Bolton Museum, Apr. 2012

  • ‘Surreal Worktown’, Symposium on Social Documentary Photography, People’s History Museum, Manchester, Feb. 2011

  • ‘Photographing Holiday Dreams: The Worktown Archive as Ethnographic Surrealism’, Recording Leisure Lives Conference, Bolton Museum, Apr. 2010

Current Teaching

BA (Hons) Photojournalism, Staffordshire University, Contextualising Practice Associate Lecturer, Manchester School of Art