OCA study visit to Arles

© Wolfgang Staudt 2008

In September 2013 the OCA will cross the Channel and travel to the Rencontres d’Arles. It was only a mater of time before we agreed to add an international photography festival to our calendar of visits. The overwhelmingly positive feedback on our study visits that we had in 2012 encouraged us to expand the geographical boundaries of our visits and go international. Read on and find out what the plan is.

Why Arles? As the very first photography festival in the world, founded back in 1969, the Rencontres d’Arles has been a point of reference in photographic practice over the last 40 years. It has a reputation for showing primarily new, un-exhibited work from contemporary practitioners. Over the last four decades Rencontres d’Arles has managed to keep a marked ‘fringe’ character that differentiates it from the media magnet that is Paris Photo. The theme of next year’s Rencontres d’Arles is ‘New visions of the Arab world”. Ambitious and highly political, the festival will show work produced by photographers from the Mediterranean basin.

Over 60 exhibitions will be shown in Arles, most of them in museums and ancient buildings of the UNESCO-listed historic quarter, renowned by its Roman and Romanesque heritage. Next year there will be the added interest of Marseille-Provence being the 2013 European Capital of Culture, with a wealth of cultural events happening through the summer.

We will post more details on WeAreOCA when the full festival programme is available in April 2013.


Arles study visit in a nutshell

5th-8th September 2013 (including travel to/from Arles)

3 nights in Arles

2 full days visiting exhibitions (6th & 7th)

30 students maximum


Travel & Accommodation suggestions

Students will be required to make their own travel arrangements and book their accommodation.

The OCA team will be most probably flying to/from Marseille with Easyjet (outbound afternoon 5th Sep, return morning 8th Sep) then travelling on the train to Arles – check timetables on the SNCF website.

The OCA team will be staying at Hôtel Porte de Camargue, which is an affordable option within walking distance of the historic quarter of Arles and the festival venues.


Festival tickets & student-led OCA regional workshops

There is a £25 non-refundable booking fee for this study visit. The OCA will cover the festival entry fee for attending students – in Sep 2012 it was 27€ .

We will also be asking for volunteer workshop facilitators amongst attending students. This is a new ‘viral feedback’ initiative intended to make this study visit as inclusive as possible by involving other OCA students not able to join us in Arles. We want to encourage attending students to share their experience of the Arles visit with their local OCA community.

To book please ring the OCA office during office hours (0800 731 2116).

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107 comments for “OCA study visit to Arles

  1. 13 December 2012 at 11:34 am

    have reserved my place .. !!

  2. 13 December 2012 at 12:12 pm


  3. 13 December 2012 at 2:40 pm

    likewise—and done the hotel.

    • 13 December 2012 at 10:33 pm

      I tried the hotel but could not book … !?
      Shall try again

      • 20 December 2012 at 6:35 pm

        finally … net did not work so telephoned … am booked in!

        • Stephanie Hollis
          20 December 2012 at 6:45 pm

          Where are you staying Amano?

        • 20 December 2012 at 6:46 pm

          Hotel de Camargue

        • Stephanie Hollis
          20 December 2012 at 6:49 pm

          Moi aussi, je pense. I’m sharing a room with Anna.

  4. 13 December 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Just a note – not many rooms left at Porte de Carmargue – I assume the OCA staff have taken their quota. At least, that’s how it seems booking through an intermediary site – I couldn’t book online using the hotels own site. I’m in though.

  5. 13 December 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Had online problems too—on a Mac—whether that made a difference I don’t know—or if I had something blocking pop-ups. But managed—tried Ctrl+click on book; then all the other special keys and eventually we were in. Did not opt for the breakfast—presuming can make a decision when there? Booked a twin, have offered the bed to someone who is not yet sure if coming—but if anyone wants to be on waiting list—shout.

    Now to look at trains, planes and automobiles…

    • 13 December 2012 at 4:18 pm

      The bed has been taken—so no longer available

  6. 13 December 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I’m booked in as well. Seems ages away but I guess that time will fly!

  7. 13 December 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Booked as well. I have gone for the ‘lit matrimonial’ option as there were no other rooms left !!!!

  8. 13 December 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Heh – I’ve booked the hotel, but travel looks like something of a pain in the …. Plenty of time to sort it out though.

    • Jill Willis
      26 December 2012 at 5:28 pm

      I live in the East Midlands so Stansted is more convenient than Gatwick. I’ve booked with Ryanair (I went to Marseille with them last year and was surprised how painless it was apart from a VERY long wait for luggage after we arrived at Marseille). The flight is late on Thurs a.m., returning Sun p.m., so I get a few more hours in Arles than the Easyjet people!

      • ThomasG
        26 December 2012 at 9:22 pm

        Hi Jill,
        I’ll be travelling on the same flight (I’m coming from Ireland), not sure if the train in Marseilles is direct from the airport, but happy to share the trip up to Arles if you want some company.
        Now back to my learning blog…

        • Jill Willis
          1 January 2013 at 8:59 pm

          Hi John, The company would be good – will look forward to meeting you. I splashed out an extra 10 quid to book a seat in the front row on the plane as I get panicky waiting to get off! Might be able to bag the adjacent seat for you unless one priority-boarder puts coats on every front row seat as I’ve seen happen before. I gather the train is a short shuttle-bus ride from the airport. Am booked in at the Belvedere.

  9. 13 December 2012 at 4:54 pm

    What I am seeing is either easyjet or BA into Marseille and then a shuttle to train station and a 30min (?0 train trip to Arles. Ryanair is also listed—but not my preference ever…!

    • 13 December 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Priceless John – very funny!

      • Stephanie
        14 December 2012 at 4:56 am

        Feckin funny, thanks John.

        I would love to have joined you but couldn’t face the hassle of booking everything else to go with it :(((

    • 20 December 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Ah .. so that is why you are the new OCASA secretary!

      • 27 December 2012 at 11:51 am

        Just saw this Amano – Very funny!
        I am sorry not to be joining you, but I have booked an apartment for a few days in Arles in order to take a more leisurely view at the event; and then I plan to spend a week or so touring the area, it has been such a long time since I was down there. I’ll hopefully see the study visit schedule and make sure that I view what you lot do in order to compare notes.
        Happy New Year!

        • Stephanie Hollis
          27 December 2012 at 4:59 pm

          I’m sorry you’re not coming with us John.

  10. 13 December 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Think I got the last double room.

    I’m with you on avoiding Ryanair Vicky. I can’t forgive them for their treatment of people in wheelchairs.

    Squeezyjet wouldn’t be a first choice for me either but could go with that (or maybe use some of my Avios on BA). I think it would be good to have the option to meet up and travel as a group. Company for any nervous travellers, and adds to the fun of the trip also. It’s a long way away but will try to set something up – perhaps a time and place to meet at the airport – so those who want to can travel together from there.

    • Jose
      14 December 2012 at 8:25 am

      That’s a great idea Eileen. Go for it.

      • 14 December 2012 at 9:48 am

        I agree! I’m a little bit of a nervous traveller!

      • 14 December 2012 at 9:50 am

        Let me rephrase that—not a nervous traveller—just fearful of getting lost in strange countries! I have no sense of direction—and am not allowed out the village without a GPS. One trip (2.7 miles) took me 105 minutes because I kept taking the wrong turning—people in local pub still laugh about it—14 years later!

        • 14 December 2012 at 9:58 am

          It’s much more fun being lost if you’re not alone, I think. ; -)

          Around March/April we should be able to book travel so we can pick up this thread then.

    • 27 December 2012 at 11:54 am

      I don’t mind Sleazy, their seats are comfortable and their staff smile (usually) and they don’t seem to penny pinch as much as their ‘Cheap-flights, Cheap-flights’ rivals.

  11. 13 December 2012 at 6:27 pm

    looks like it might be a shuttle down to either London or Paris, then another down to Marseilles… I’ve not booked yet – waiting to see if the other half wants to come too.

    • Jose
      14 December 2012 at 8:26 am

      Rob, please let us know details of the train option, or share them on the blogs if you don’t mind; other students might find it helpful.

      • 14 December 2012 at 8:40 am

        No details available yet, it’s just too early. I guess details will become available March-ish (maybe 6 months in advance)

  12. Shaun
    13 December 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I would love to go, just need to square it with Heidi. I’ll call the office tomorrow and put in a provisional booking. Will be nice to be on my side of the channel. Travel is less of an issue, trains, planes, or automobiles – however, long drive from Munich…

  13. Gareth
    13 December 2012 at 8:47 pm

    At least for those based in London and the South East, I wouldn’t rule out the train. It is too early to book, but in March the best single I can find on the SNCF website is 33 Euros, with a journey time of less than 4 hours.

  14. Hazel
    13 December 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Hope to be able to go. Went on train this year to Holland – found it really easy – used Railbookers.

  15. Paul Fisher
    14 December 2012 at 9:06 am

    As I only live a couple of hours away from Arles will hopefully join up with you on a non res. basis.It’s certainly a great show and well worth the visit, though I was disappointed in this year’s effort, compared with 2011 which I found inspirational . Apart from anything else the venues themselves are great photographic subjects – especially the Parc de Ateliers which is an old factory site formerly owned by SNCF (French Railways) and converted , graffiti and all in to an exhibition centre. Look forward to seeing you there…

  16. ThomasG
    14 December 2012 at 10:22 am

    I’m in too. I found a room in Le Belvedere fairly close in price to the Porte Camargue, it’s 10 min walk from railway station and 5 mins from amphitheatre. It’s fairly close to the Porte Camargue too so meeting up with the folks staying there should be easy.
    Now to figure out how to get there from Ireland!

    • ThomasG
      17 December 2012 at 7:16 pm

      inspired by Mirjam – I’ve moved from Le Belvedere to the Porte Camargue. I did spot a fairly cheap single on booking.com at Le Belvedere earlier today if anyone is looking

  17. 14 December 2012 at 10:38 am

    I have booked my place and a twin room – does anybody want to share?

    • Stephanie
      14 December 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Yes please, if it’s nearby Anna. Thank you 🙂
      Stephanie Hollis (student number 507165)

  18. Hazel
    15 December 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I’ve booked my place – but not a room yet – if anyone wants to share I’m happy to
    Tel 01522 532309

    • 17 December 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Sorry, Hazel. My spare is taken. Bonne chance!

  19. Mirjam
    17 December 2012 at 9:53 am

    Hi, I have just booked my place and will be joining you from Zürich… I had no problems booking a room at the Porte de Camargue hotel through their website (on a Mac….) I am looking forward to this visit and to meeting up all of you.

  20. Stephanie Hollis
    17 December 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I’m coming too and looking forward to it.

    • 19 December 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Congratulations Stephanie !!

      • Stephanie Hollis
        20 December 2012 at 5:21 pm

        Thanks Amano. I’m glad you’re coming too 🙂

  21. Hazel
    17 December 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Have just booked Porte de Carmargue direct – double room for 1 on their website.
    They still have some other rooms left – twins, triples

  22. Stan
    19 December 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve just booked my place and this is going to be my first study visit so far. It is a bit too early to feel exited about it, but…
    Need to book a hotel yet and find a way to get to Arles from Moscow, but that should not be much of a problem.

  23. Brian
    21 December 2012 at 10:54 am

    Just booked! Will sort the hotel out later. Traveling by motorbike I think so will see you guys there!

  24. 21 December 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Would be good to know more about this …
    “We will also be asking for volunteer workshop facilitators amongst attending students. This is a new ‘viral feedback’ initiative intended to make this study visit as inclusive as possible by involving other OCA students not able to join us in Arles. We want to encourage attending students to share their experience of the Arles visit with their local OCA community.”
    Looks like there are three of us from SW-OCA already !!

    • Stephanie Hollis
      22 December 2012 at 2:27 am

      Is John coming? If not who is the other from the South West?

      • 22 December 2012 at 11:42 am

        Not sure Anna Goodchild is actually part of SW-OCA but she has attended meetings in the South West .. !!? Over to you Anna?!

        This does not really answer my question though which concerns “volunteer workshop facilitators” and what their expected role is … !?

        • Stephanie Hollis
          23 December 2012 at 7:09 pm

          Yes it’s a bit vague.

        • 20 March 2013 at 9:30 am

          Hi Amano, I have just read this so I hope you don’t think I was ignoring your question. As Jose says, we’ll wait & see. I am booking my tickets in about 3 weeks’ time after which I am off to Kathmandu which I have wanted to do since 1972! I know you have been there so I shall greet Annapurna for you! I shall look into signing up for the SW OCA group.

        • 20 March 2013 at 10:02 am

          Hi Anna

          I went to Kathmandu in 1978 – quite an experience – have returned many times since but not for a few years now – the city has become polluted.

          The Tibetan community are interesting – please contact me directly if you want an introduction or two to locals.


    • Jose
      31 December 2012 at 10:50 am

      All in good time Amano 🙂

      • 31 December 2012 at 10:56 am

        OK .. no hurry, no worry!

  25. Dave
    30 December 2012 at 1:39 pm

    The other option to flying is by train from London, change at Lille to a TGV to Marseille

  26. Linda
    8 January 2013 at 11:03 pm

    There are more trains if you change in Paris, it’s an easy change.

    • 8 January 2013 at 11:08 pm

      Thanks for that as I was wondering about Lille V Paris!

    • 9 January 2013 at 1:52 pm

      One platform change at Lille?
      Eurostar comes in at Gare du Nord, then metro to Paris Gare Lyon for Marseille St Charles?

      • Stephanie Hollis
        9 January 2013 at 2:42 pm

        Is this my friend Dave Hinns?

  27. 13 January 2013 at 11:49 pm

    It might be the occasion for me to attend my first study visit!I’ll probably be in Berlin next year, closer to Arles than Chicago… As soon as I know,I’ll call the office to book for the study visit if there are still places available. Hope so…

    • Sues
      11 February 2013 at 11:32 am

      I live in the Middle East and am visiting France in August so decided to extend visit and attend my first ever study visit, hope you can make it

  28. Rob
    5 February 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I have booked this visit. Just wondering where everyone is staying as I now need to book a hotel room.
    Not checked the OCA forum recently but is there a thread on there regarding this visit, that we can share ideas about travel etc.

    • 6 February 2013 at 11:32 am

      There’s no thread yet—I think people were letting it lie until March April [ish]. Most of us are at the Camargue mentioned in the post. But not sure if there are still vacancies

      • 7 February 2013 at 8:32 am

        Yes, the plan is to wait a little. Some journeys can’t be booked more than six months in advance. It seems likely that there will be two or three main options for travelling and possibly a few groups.

        • Rob
          7 February 2013 at 9:32 pm

          Thank you both for replying. Will check the hotels mentioned in the previous posts and wait to make travel arrangements. I was thinking of staying for a few extra days in Arles, need to make my mind up about this.

  29. Sues
    11 February 2013 at 11:30 am

    I have just seen this and managed t get a place on this study visit, this will be my first study visit so excited but apprehensive. Will be travelling from France, as I will be visiting my home, have still to find a room somewhere. Any suggestions anyone, don’t fancy being on my ownsome. May stay on a few days extra and make a break of it.

  30. 26 February 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I am in!
    This will be my first study visit. I was wondering if somebody was still looking for someone to share a room?

    • Sues
      26 February 2013 at 2:25 pm

      My first study visit too, I may be going a day early, just to look around, where are you planning on staying, I am happy to share.. will be in UK from 10th March, you can reach me on 07814035446 from 10th to 25th March, lets chat about it.

    • 26 February 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Brilliant—see you in September!

  31. 26 February 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Sue, could you give me your email address?

    • Stephanie Hollis
      26 February 2013 at 7:56 pm

      two Stephanies on the trip then 🙂

      • 26 February 2013 at 7:57 pm


        • Stephanie Hollis
          26 February 2013 at 8:01 pm

          Hello stephanie. How did you get your name in red?

      • Stephanie Hollis
        20 March 2013 at 10:13 am

        only one Stephanie now as I am pulling out

    • Sues
      27 February 2013 at 5:20 am

      Hi Stephanie, my email address is

      Would love to make contact, and if still available share a room, makes for a better value experience. I can skype you if you give me a telephone number. I am in the Middle East at moment but will be in UK from 10th March. Hope that I hear from you today…….

  32. 28 February 2013 at 9:07 am

    I am stayin in hotel Saint trophime which is on Rue de Calade. Rue De Calade is right in the centre, 2 mins walk from the square pictured above. The hotel is nice, old, quaint with lots of character. I stayed here two years ago and really enjoyed it.

  33. Hazel
    7 March 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Can you keep me in the loop with when you book transport as I don’t fancy making the journey on my own.

  34. 2 August 2013 at 6:44 pm

    If anyone is interested—Photographer’s Gallery [London] has stock of the English catalogue for £45. Might be worthwhile getting it before you go to plan what you want to see. I, unfortunately, ordered mine from France and am awaiting its arrival.

  35. 3 August 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Cost of catalogue from The Photographer’s Gallery is £45 plus £8 p+p …. !!?

  36. 6 August 2013 at 9:27 am

    you know you can buy it in Arles, in English, for €46? It’s over 500 pages yes, but they are usually around A5 size and easy to carry.

  37. Brian Lavery
    8 August 2013 at 7:51 am

    Catalogue is €46 in English, in Arles. They are usually around A5 size and easy to carry.

  38. 8 August 2013 at 10:17 am

    Anyone know where I can get a beret … !?

    • sues
      8 August 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Amano, I live in France, If serious I can get you a beret…they are sold in all French markets. They come in various colours and sizes, here in Haute Pyrenees red or black are the most popular colours. Just let me know, before Saturday I can go to my market before I leave for Spain and Portugal. I am arranging to go to Arles on the Wednesday, I need a day to get my bearings.
      As you are aware I am up for the meal on the Thursday. See you very soon

      • 9 August 2013 at 10:44 am

        Thanks for the offer .. I was being flippant but would like a beret … trouble is size … so probably I need to look around Arles … likewise for a striped shirt! As for the meal on thursday evening, I shall send out a post probably on the day before as to where we might meet … so check your mails then if you can!

  39. 9 August 2013 at 11:31 am

    Much as I would enjoy that sight I doubt it would go down well in Arles 🙂 A bit racist maybe?

    • 9 August 2013 at 12:06 pm

      People probably don’t wear beret and striped shirts in Arles as a rule but to do so would be to show some awareness of French culture rather than imposing one’s own.

  40. 9 August 2013 at 1:42 pm

    You’ll need a pair of loons to complete the outfit, and don’t forget the Breton must have exactly 19 hoops.

  41. 1 September 2013 at 3:38 pm

    31 degrees in Arles today and a mistral was blowing full force earlier. You can see why it drives people mad, but they probably didn’t have waiter service beside the pool.
    There are quite a lot of free photo exhibitions around town to fill in any spare time you may have after seeing 45 paid-for shows.
    Today’s tip – buy wine by the glass or by the bottle, the 1/4 and 1/2 are measured with a length of string in some places. I won today (almost 1/2 for the price of 25cl) but would be easy to lose..

    • 1 September 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Have you seen any exhibitions yet !?? Would be good to hear about that.

      • 1 September 2013 at 6:35 pm

        I did, but having been to an outstanding show at the Norman Foster gallery in Nimes yesterday where I saw Gursky, Richter, Rothko, and Turner, I need to return with a more balanced view before doing any write-ups. I saw two exhibitions today and wondered if they were brought in just to make up the numbers, they were so lacking in imagination or creativity, with no captions to explain, and nothing useful about them in the catalog. They’re both on your list of “must-see’s” and I’ll be interested in comparing notes later.

        • 1 September 2013 at 10:41 pm

          not sure which list you refer to (BJP or mine) but am interested in hearing more … feel the need to be selective while at Arles as there is so much to see!

        • 2 September 2013 at 1:46 pm

          You may have less than 20 hours to spend on up to 45 exhibits in different parts of the town so I agree that forward planning could be useful, but we’ve been visiting shows as we walk past and finding those unplanned visits very rewarding. Sugimoto for example, I thought would be dull, but it’s been the highlight of my visit so far. (Sugimoto and Bourdin in the same building took up about 90 minutes.) We’re going down to the main venue tomorrow and that will be tough because with my health problems I can only last about three hours per day. I’ll post my thoughts on my notable shows as I go over here –

          IMHO, even though I’m currently working on Landscape, I shouldn’t have wasted any time on Guiseppe Penone which I didn’t understand, and I thought his printing was very poor on A3-ish images. However the Lee Ufan work in the same gallery is quite interesting, and it may be worth the walk over to the Mejan by the river for the thousands of photographic books on sale. They also have a decent restaurant and a Hammam if you need a rest.

  42. 2 September 2013 at 9:49 am

    One photographer/artist at Arles whose work intrigues me is Gilbert Garcin … http://www.gilbert-garcin.com/ Well worth a look!

  43. 3 September 2013 at 8:23 am

    I am intrigued to look at Penone’s work because I saw his installations in Turin in 2006 and thought they were very engaged with contemporary environmental issues and beautifully exhibited and executed. Here, however, we need to look at him as photographer, so perhaps vatlvry’s comments might be valid.

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