Gemma used to be a news photographer and came to be focused on collaborative practices that disrupt the linear, documentary method... From different starting points, Gemma and I have come to value the same questions of power, participatory processes and, I guess, the love, vulnerability and open possibilities of social engagement.
– Pete Brook

Dr Gemma-Rose Turnbull is an Australian artist, researcher, and educator whose work exposes and challenges the historical weaponisation of photography against marginalised communities. She positions collaborative practice as a repairative approach to documentary storytelling, focusing on amplifying images made by and with people typically excluded from mainstream art spaces. 

Gemma has a BA Hons in Photojournalism and Visual Culture from the Queensland College of Art, a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education from Griffith University, and a doctorate from the University of Queensland. She was a Scholar in Residence in the Art and Social Practice MFA program at Portland State University for two years.

With over 15 years of experience teaching in tertiary institutions in Australia and internationally, Gemma has served as a Senior Lecturer in photography at Coventry University, where she co-wrote the MA Photography and Collaboration with Anthony Luvera. She currently teaches theory, research, and writing in the BA and MA programmes at Photography Studies College in Melbourne, Australia.

Gemma’s recent academic publications include “Community Accessible Archives; What You Leave, When You Leave” a chapter in Art as Social Practice: Technologies for Change edited by xtine burrough and Judy Walgren, published March 2022. She also reviewed Restricted Images: Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia (Patrick Waterhouse, 2018, SPBH Editions) in Photography and Culture Volume 12, Issue 3: Photography As Dialogue in Oct 2019. Gemma is the editor of a collection of short essays on socially engaged art, The Questions We Ask Together (2015), and a manuscript reviewer for Duke University Press.

Her most recent photo work was made in collaboration with artistic director Tamara Searle and two groups of teenage girls with intellectual disabilities within the Back to Back Theatre educational programme, culminating in the exhibition Portrait at the Geelong Art Gallery in 2023. Previous community-based photographic works include projects with the queer community in Western Melbourne, a neighbourhood photo studio as part of the Taking Part residency at Photofusion in Brixton, London, the Camp Washington community while in residency at Wave Pool in Cincinnati with Eliza Gregory, and with children in Portland, Oregon with Emily Fitzgerald.