About Us

(image: PhotoAccess at the Manuka Arts Centre. Photo Sean Davey)

About PhotoAccess
As the principal destination to see and appreciate, learn about, make and show contemporary photo-based work, we enrich the arts and provide creative opportunities to challenge and inspire the ACT community. We are a member-based visual arts organisation presenting an ongoing program of exhibitions, courses, talks, publications and special projects including artist residencies and community digital-storytelling workshops. We manage the Manuka Arts Centre in Canberra’s Inner South, with three intimate galleries, a co-working darkroom, a shared working space and a resource library. These facilities support exhibition and education programs, community outreach, equipment hire, and year-round arts programs. Openings are packed, courses are full, and we are brimming over current capacity.

PhotoAccess was established in 1984 as a community organisation, encouraging the use of photography to achieve personal and political growth, and providing affordable and accessible facilities. Times and technologies have changed, but PhotoAccess has adapted and matured, continually maintaining relevance, and playing an important role in the Australian photomedia ecology. PhotoAccess is an artsACT Key Arts Organisation, and a well-networked partner in the local arts sector.

PhotoAccess invites artists at all stages of their careers to showcase contemporary photo-based art in a supportive and stimulating artistic environment. Our exhibition space, the Huw Davies Gallery, is the only gallery in the ACT exclusively dedicated to contemporary photo-based art. We are committed to presenting excellent, high-quality work, with a focus on artistic experimentation and innovation. Our exhibitions and public programs encourage and extend the critical debate about contemporary photo-based art practice. Because of photography’s ubiquitous place in contemporary art, synergies between PhotoAccess and local and interstate artspaces are inherent. We actively embrace and cultivate these shared interests.

Our education programs provide the inspiration and means for people to create their own cultural statements through the photo-based arts. Our courses are structured to meet a wide range of needs and experience levels, while our outreach and community engagement programs allow people to participate in the arts who might otherwise not have the opportunity. This includes working with schools and community groups, who increasingly lack access to analogue cameras and darkroom facilities. We also deliver digital storytelling workshops in collaboration with community organisations, providing opportunities for groups and individuals whose access is limited by gender, geography, income, disability or other reasons to have their voices and stories heard.

The PhotoAccess darkroom is now the only publicly accessible photographic black-and-white darkroom in the ACT region, and is integral to our mission. Our darkroom is a platform for people to create and learn through traditional photographic processes. it is a place for film photographers to professionally produce prints, meet fellow photographers and share ideas, inspiration and techniques.

PhotoAccess Constitution

PhotoAccess acknowledges the support of the ACT Government through artsACT and the ACT Arts Fund, and the Australian Government through the ACT component of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy.

PhotoAccess and the HUW DAVIES GALLERY are located in the Manuka Arts Centre, an ACT Government arts facility. Manuka Arts Centre is on the corner of Manuka Circle and New South Wales Crescent in Griffith ACT (near Manuka Oval and the Manuka Pool).

(Image: 100 Views of Canberra exhibition opening, 2013. Photo Gilbert Herrada)

(Image: Karijini exhibition by Stephen Best, 2014 opening. Photo Gilbert Herrada)

We contribute to development of the photo based arts in the ACT by letting people see, learn, make and show photography and other photo based art.

Seeing and showing—the HUW DAVIES GALLERY is open to the public 10–4 Tuesday to Friday and 12–4 on weekends with a full program of changing exhibitions. We encourage exhibition proposals from individual artists and present cutting edge, community based and annual members’ exhibitions, and exhibitions from the PhotoAccess Collection. Work shown in the HUW DAVIES GALLERY is generally for sale.

Learning—our courses and workshops are structured to meet a wide range of needs from beginners to experienced practitioners. They are highly regarded and constantly developing to provide expert and personal support to help people discover and improve their photo media skills. Our regular courses are offered week nights and on weekends, and we can arrange specialist courses at other times to suit your requirements.

Making—we are passionate about the photo based arts and believe everyone should share the wonder and satisfaction of creating images using all the possibilities of photo media. We encourage and share interesting and fresh approaches to the photo based arts through our exhibitions, artists in residence program, talks, publications and special projects.

Gift vouchers
Gift vouchers for courses, membership and access hours are a great gift available from PhotoAccess. To purchase a Gift Voucher click here.

Volunteers help us to keep our facilities open on weekends and in other ways. The benefits of volunteering include gallery minding experience and opportunities to learn and share stories and interests by interacting with other photographers.

Artists in residence
PhotoAccess makes an important contribution to the development of emerging artists by offering residency and access opportunities. We welcome residency proposals at any time.

Special projects
We are happy to assist community groups with projects involving photography. We can help administer grant monies and provide discounts on the use of our facilities. Contact us to discuss your project and ways we might be able to help.