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The Willem Poelstra Lecture

Dedicated to the loving memory of our founding father – Dutch photographer Willem Poelstra – Forhanna is proud to announce ‘The Willem Poelstra Lecture’ to be held annually.

Each year, around the anniversary of Willem’s death, we will invite a high-profile speaker from the documentary photography practice. The lecture is dedicated to Willem Poelstra’s legacy.

The aim of the lecture is to invite a person who fits in with Willem’s working ethos: makers who are deeply involved in their own in-depth photography projects.

The Willem Poelstra Lecture 2023

Presented by Jonas Bendiksen


WIllem Poelstra Lecture 2023 Jonas Bendiksen

We are honored to announce that this year’s annual Willem Poelstra Lecture will be delivered by Jonas Bendiksen.

The lecture is part of a thematic program at Pakhuis de Zwijger initiated by VII Insider (a program of The VII Foundation in collaboration with PhotoWings) and Forhanna, scheduled to take place in January 2024.

Read more about the lecture here.

The Willem Poelstra Lecture 2022

Presented by Laia Abril



Laia Abril

LAIA ABRILLaia Abril (1986) is a research-based artist working with photography, text, video, and sound. Her work has been shown widely and published internationally and is held in private collections and museums worldwide. The book On Abortion and the repercussions of lack of access (Dewi Lewis, 2018) was the winner of the Aperture Best Book Award in 2018 as well as a finalist for the prestigious Deutsche Börse in 2019. Abril recently launched the publication of the second chapter: On Rape and Institutional Failure (Dewi Lewis, 2022). At present, she is working on the third chapter: On Mass Hysteria, due 2023.

More about the work of Laia Abril.


Catalan photographer Laia Abril delivered this year’s edition of The Willem Poelstra Lecture, the annual event celebrating the life and work of Forhanna founder Willem Poelstra. Abril’s long-term project A History of Misogyny presents historical and contemporary comparisons of gender violence and access to justice, law and policy makers. She has published two parts of the history to date, ‘On Abortion’ in 2018, and recently ‘On Rape’. Earlier works include projects on Sexuality and Eating Disorders.

In The Willem Poelstra Lecture, held on 7 December 2022 at Pakhuis De Zwijger in Amsterdam, Abril presented her project A History of Misogyny and other projects. She spoke about the process of how she identified her story and message and how she creates across platforms such as installations, books, web docs, and films.

The Willem Poelstra Lecture 2021

Presented by Henk Wildschut


After a break during the pandemic, the Willem Poelstra Lecture is back!

The annual lecture this year it will be given by Henk Wildschut on his photo series Afstand (Distance). 
The exhibition opened last week at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  

Go to ‘Afstand’ at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, January 2022

The Willem Poelstra Lecture 2020

Presented by Simon Norfolk


We are proud to announce that this year’s annual The Willem Poelstra Lecture will be held by Simon Norfolk. The lecture is being organised as part of the Breda Photo 2020 programme.

Norfolk (1963, born in Lagos, Nigeria, living in Hove and Kabul) is a landscape photographer whose work over twenty years has been themed around a probing and stretching of the meaning of the word ‘battlefield’ in all its forms. As such, he has photographed in some of the world’s worst war-zones and refugee crises, but is equally at home photographing supercomputers used to design military systems or the test-launching of nuclear missiles. Time’s layeredness in the landscape is an ongoing fascination of his.

Norfolk’s work has been widely recognised: in 2013 he won the Prix Pictet Commission and he has won multiple World Press Photo and Sony World Photography awards. He has produced four monographs of his work including ‘Afghanistan: Chronotopia’ (2002) which was published in five languages. In 2011 his ‘Burke + Norfolk’ work was one of the first ever photography solo shows at Tate Modern. 

See Norfolk om Instagram.

The lecture was Postponed due to covid

The Willem Poelstra Lecture 2019

Presented by Ivor Prickett

The Willem Poelstra Lecture 2019

Presented by Ivor Prickett


Monday November 18, 2019
Location: World Press Photo House – Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam
Address: Haarlemmerweg 4, Amsterdam.
Language: English

Forhanna is honoured to have Ivor Prickett as our inaugural at ‘The Willem Poelstra Lecture’. Prickett photographed the battle to defeat ISIS and told about the amazing story of Mosul’s
battle grounds, people trapped behind ISIS’s territory, people 
mourning, fighting and fleeing.

Working exclusively for the 
New York Times, embedded with Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish forces,
he has been photographing in depth and for longer periods. 
Returning to this city in ruins frequently. He motivates his work 
as a war photographer close at combat with his commitment 
to civilians: ‘That is where it is most critical for people, right 
on the front line.’ Beautiful hosted and held at the World
Press Photo headquarters at Westergasfabriek Amsterdam.

Ivor Prickett was awarded the first prize in the General News Stories category of the 2018 World Press Photo and was a finalist in the category Breaking News Photography of the Pulitzer Prize.