Thomas Bragdon

Theory mentor

Thomas Bragdon is Theory mentor at the Photography and Society master programme. He also teaches the course 'Civil Society Lab' at the BA Photography of the KABK.

His theory classes aim at Rhetoric (the art of verbalizing viewpoints in different settings such as the discussion, the debate and the Socratic dialogue), at the improvement of one's writing skills and at the development of focused research that informs one's artistic practice.

Thomas is PhD researcher at Leiden University, Arts in Society (LUCAS). His research focuses on migrants whose requests for asylum EU countries have denounced, but who nonetheless stay and organize themselves in action groups such as We Are Here in The Netherlands, Refugee Movement in Germany and Sans Papiers in France. They organize various forms of protest and resistance because they believe to have good reasons to receive recognition as refugees.

Thomas investigates how their actions change the legal boundaries of democratic Nation-States, provoking the need to activate human rights in a way that these rights perform a different task than before. In the hands of the activists, Thomas argues, human rights are no longer a source of legitimacy for first-world-countries, but perform the task of a basis for resistance, protest and critical reflection, the distorting mirror that confronts first-world-countries with their own distorted values.