Brett Rogers

This article was previously published in the special edition, ALUMNAE (December 2018).


MA 1981


When Brett Rogers, the current Director of the Photographers’ Gallery, arrived at The Courtauld in 1980, photography was not a topic studied! Throughout her career, Rogers has played a key role in promoting this previously ignored medium, both in the UK and abroad. Born in Australia, Rogers completed a degree in Fine Arts before moving to London to start an MA course in European post-War art. She explored the history of surrealist exhibitions as a way to sidestep The Courtauld’s restrictive syllabus – though she couldn’t study photography in its own right, this choice of subject allowed her to research photographic archives extensively to study photographs of the exhibitions.

Photograph by Suki Dhanda, 2014, Courtesy of the Photographers' Gallery


Graduating from The Courtauld, Rogers joined the British Council, soon moving into the role of Visual Arts Deputy Director and Head of Exhibitions. There she spent much of her time travelling and working on exhibitions of British art and photography abroad. In this, she often found herself in hot water, with British ambassadors not appreciating the image of Britain presented to the world by the photography of Martin Parr, among others. Rogers resisted these arguments and disputed the notion that photography should “