Public Program

Panel Discussion: Witnessing Worlds in Transition

Join Houston-based curators and artists in considering the role of photography in the history of the civil rights movement and in relation to ongoing struggles for social justice. Held in conjunction with the Menil Collection’s current exhibition Collection Close-Up: Bruce Davidson’s Photographs, this discussion reflects on the legacy of Davidson and other leaders in the field of documentary photography who used their camera to bear witness. It aims to address the politics of image-making in our current moment and the transformative capacity that images have on our vision of the world. How can the medium raise awareness and illuminate marginalized voices? At the same time, what has been the impact of privileging it as a source for documentary objectivity?


Dorota Biczel is a Polish-born art historian, curator, and writer, who currently serves as Executive Director and Curator at the Houston Center for Photography. She has published and curated internationally on subjects that intersect contemporary art, spatial and gender politics, social justice movements, and material experimentation.

Christopher Blay is a Liberian-born American artist, writer, and curator, who is currently the Chief Curator of the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Blay was formerly the News Editor at the online art magazine Glasstire from 2019–2021. Blay’s writing was most recently published in the December 2021 issue of Art in America as well as the spring issue of the Nasher Sculpture Center Magazine.

Max Fields is the Associate Curator and Director of Publishing at FotoFest. His recent projects include: In Place of an Index (with Ryan Dennis and Evan Garza, 2021), and African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other (with Mark Sealy, 2020). He is currently working with Steven Evans and Amy Sadao as co-curator of the 2022 FotoFest Biennial exhibition, If I Had a Hammer.

Moderated by Molly Everett, Curatorial Assistant, Menil Collection, and curator of the exhibition Collection Close-Up: Bruce Davidson’s Photographs.

Attending the program:

This program takes place in the main building, located at 1533 Sul Ross St. Further information regarding accessibility and parking can be found here. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration is not required. Sign-up below to receive an email reminder on the day of the program.