Faculty in the Spotlight with Daria Tuminas

daria Daria Tuminas was appointed as Webster Leiden’s Media Communications Coordinator in November but she’s no stranger to the city. Originally from Russia, the Saint Petersburg native moved to Leiden in 2010 to pursue her master’s degree.

“I wanted to study media and photography in depth,” Tuminas said. “I found a program at Leiden University called Film and Photographic Studies. I was interested in doing my own projects but also in theory. I was lucky that I was able to find a program that I liked and a grant that covered the cost of my stay and tuition.”

During her time at the university, “Ivan and the Moon,” Tuminas’ photo series about two brothers from a rural village in northern Russia, earned her several awards and was later included in exhibitions in the United States and all across Europe. Tuminas graduated in 2011 and continues to work as a freelance curator and researcher on a variety of projects and events. Among them, she currently serves as the head of the Unseen Book Market for Unseen Amsterdam, an annual fair and festival that showcases the work of up-and-coming photographers.

Tuminas began teaching classes at Webster Leiden in 2016. Her next one, History of Photography, will start in the spring of 2018.

“In the class, we try to look critically at the subject itself,” she said. “This history, like any other history, is shaped by people who have agendas. So we try to go back and figure out who created what and when. For example, there’s the story of the first photograph. As the narrative of all traditional history books declares, it’s the view from a studio that was taken by

Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. But who was creating the narrative of ‘the first photograph’ and benefiting from being associated with the discovery? It’s a bit of a detective story.”

Tuminas is also busy with her new role as the Media Communications Coordinator. Among her many tasks, she’s currently working to recruit new faculty to the department in addition to helping develop a possible new graduate program at the university. She also hopes to revamp and relaunch Webster Leiden’s LLC art gallery.

“It’s a wonderful space,” Tuminas said. “But it hasn’t received proper attention for a long time. I’m planning to take over and create a new program for it. I have a lot of ideas. We will use it for exhibitions and invite artists from outside the Webster Leiden campus to present their work and help organize workshops for students. But that’s just the start, await the launch in 2018.”

By Brandon Hartley