KABK welcomes new heads of departments for BA Photography and MA Photography & Society

25 August 2021

The Royal Academy of Art (KABK) is pleased to announce that John Fleetwood and Shadman Shahid have been appointed as co-head of BA Photography and head of MA Photography & Society, respectively.

In the light of recent events in the academy and the resulting challenges for the future we are confident that with John Fleetwood and Shadman Shahid, we have recruited the right people to strengthen the team in the photography department and provide students with a safe, inspiring, creative and challenging study environment within the intercultural context of the academy. Together with co-head Lotte Sprengers, John and Shadman will continue building on a strong foundation to carry on developing the photography department for the future.

John Fleetwood appointed co-head BA Photography

John Fleetwood
John Fleetwood, photo © Doctor Moyo

John Fleetwood (Johannesburg - South Africa, 1970) is an international photography curator, educator, and director of Photo:, a multi-operation platform for the development and promotion of socially engaged photography practices, photographers, and critical visual culture, mainly working with emerging photographers from the African continent. From 2002-2015 Fleetwood was the Director of the Market Photo Workshop, a school, gallery, and project space in Johannesburg which was founded by David Goldblatt.

John Fleetwood on his future position:

“Perhaps there is no better way to re-think our worlds, societies, and ourselves than through photography. It mediates and reflects the complex aspects of knowledge production and our independent and collective ways of sharing this world. So then, what better way to consider this than with fellow educators, students, photographers, communities in a changing institution?

I am thrilled to join the KABK Photography Dept as Co-Head and look forward to new discussions, challenges, perspectives. With me come experiences and networks of working across the African continent.”

Shadman Shahid appointed head MA Photography & Society

Shadman Shahid
Shadman Shahid, photo © Zhao Yanxian

Shadman Shahid (Dhaka – Bangladesh, 1987) is a photographer and an educator. His photographic methodology walks the line between documentary and fiction. His works have brought him a few accolades including World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass, BJP ones to watch (2016), Burn emerging photographer of the year (2018), and the Bird in Flight prize (2019). He was a lecturer at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute for three years and has been teaching at the KABK Photography department since 2018. Shadman is one of the first cohorts of graduates from MA Photography & Society.

Shadman Shahid on his future position:

“Photography & Society is built on the foundation of collaboration, research, making, and social impact. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to help build on a foundation that the department has initiated, and contribute to the aims we value.

Drawing from my experience through extensive professional practice in the field of photography, I look forward to assisting in the development of this relatively young program, and fostering its success towards full adulthood. My focus is to sculpt an emphasis towards artistic and visual research as it functions on an MA-level at this academy – photographic research through making.”

Shadman Shahid will join the team on September 1, 2021, followed by John Fleetwood on October 1. The department is grateful to Dirk-Jan Visser and Donald Weber for the period they were acting (co-heads). They remain associated with the department and continue their position as teachers.

For more information, interview requests and/or questions, please contact Lotte Sprengers (l.sprengers@kabk.nl).