“Always Higher”: the creativity of Maria Lamas

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To mark International Women's Day, this conference will be held in which researchers will show the areas in which Maria Lamas worked throughout her life.


On March 8, International Women’s Day, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is holding the Conference Always Higher: the creativity of Maria Lamas, an event associated with the exhibition The women of Maria Lamas, dedicated to her photographic work. This exhibition is curated by Jorge Calado and shows, for the first time in Portugal, a set of photographs that Maria Lamas took for her book The women of my Country (1948-1950). 

In the words of Jorge Calado, “Maria Lamas (1893-1983), journalist and writer, educator and researcher, translator and photographer, fighter for human and civil rights in times of dictatorship, was perhaps the most remarkable Portuguese woman of the 20th century. While there is a certain memory of her political affirmation and action during the Estado Novo (1930-1960, which led to her imprisonment in 1949, 1950–1951 and 1953) and her exile in Paris (1962-1969), her literary and journalistic work is practically forgotten. Very few of her books – more than twenty works including poetry, fiction, children’s literature, social anthropology and translation – are available on the market.”

With a title based on the motto of Maria Lamas’ ex-libris – Always higher – this conference will feature contributions from various researchers in some of the areas in which Maria Lamas worked throughout her life.

In the morning, the emphasis will be on the dimension of the photographic work, with approaches that also include a contemporary testimony of photographic practice and an evocation of an artist who, like Maria Lamas, was a victim of the persecution of the Estado Novo. In the afternoon, the papers will focus on the journalistic and literary dimensions and the struggles in favour of civil and women’s rights in which Maria Lamas was involved throughout her life.

The talk will be followed by a screening of the film Mulheres do meu país (2020), directed by Raquel Freire, and a conversation with the director and the person responsible for editing the film.



10:00 / Opening session

Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

10:15 / Maria Lamas photographer

The photographic modernity of Maria Lamas
Jorge Calado
Teresa Arriaga (1915-2013): an artist at Fábrica da Marinha Grande
Raquel Henriques da Silva— Intermission —
Maria Lamas, photographer, and photo editor: her work and its critical reception
Alexandre Pomar
“The images cross my eyes and walk beyond me” — Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen
Luísa Ferreira

12:30 / Debate

João Vieira – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation— Lunch break —

14:30 / Maria Lamas, a life of writing and causes

Journalism, the "school of life" of Maria Lamas
Joana Pereira Bastos
Maria Lamas, a polyhedral portrait
Eugénia Vasques
Title to be announced soon
Helena Neves

16:00 / Debate

Ana Barata – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us through the Information Request form.


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