International Visual
Sociology
Association

International Visual Sociology Association

IVSA statement

IVSA Position Statement on Government-Sanctioned and Systemic Racial Violence

The International Visual Sociology Association stands in solidarity with Black and racialized communities in demanding justice and the eradication of the systems of oppression and violence that have inflicted incalculable harm on communities of color in the USA. We stand in opposition to heads of state like U.S. President Donald Trump, who has proven himself to be a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, and violent oppressor. We further decry all systems, institutions, and organizations borne of white supremacy, which continue to perpetuate the violence of White Racism in the USA and beyond.

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The IVSA

IVSA is committed to open and free intellectual discourse surrounding the visual representation of society and culture

The International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) is a nonprofit, democratic, and academically -oriented professional organization devoted to the visual study of society, culture, and social relationships. Our members represent a wide spectrum of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, education, visual communication, photography, filmmaking, art, and journalism. On this site you can become a member of the IVSA, view some of our members work or find out more about our annual conference.

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  • Conference
  • The IVSA
  • Membership
  • Conference

    Conference

    Each year IVSA members gather in a different global location to share their work in visual sociology, visual studies, visual ethnography, documentary film and photography, public art, arts-based research, and visual literacy and education.

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  • The IVSA

    The IVSA

    The International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) is a nonprofit, democratic, and academically -oriented professional organization devoted to the visual study of society, culture, and social relationships.

    Read more

  • Membership

    Membership

    IVSA membership is open to any person regardless of occupation, citizenship, or residence. The organizational membership represents a wide spectrum of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, education, visual communication, photography, art, journalism, and related fields.

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  • Showcase
  • Awards
  • Journal
  • Showcase

    Showcase

    IVSA members are leaders and innovators in art, photography, filmmaking, and image-based research. Check out our member showcase to see examples of our work.

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  • Awards

    Awards

    IVSA administer both the Rieger Award Program for outstanding work by graduate students in visual sociology and the Prosser Award Program for outstanding work by beginning scholars in visual methodologies.

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  • Journal

    Journal

    Visual Studies is the official journal of the International Visual Sociology Association. As a major international, peer-reviewed journal, Visual Studies presents visually-oriented articles across a range of disciplines.

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Latest News

Updates and news about the IVSA and its membership

IVSA Conference 2023: Call For Papers

IVSA CONFERENCE 2023, June 27-29, 2023, Nairobi, Kenya

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 9, 2023

International Visual Sociology Association: Conference 2023

SEEING BEYOND DUALISMS: VISUAL SOCIOLOGY IN LOCAL AND GLOBAL CONTEXTS

The 2023 International Visual Sociology Association Annual Conference invites abstracts for papers, films, photo essays, posters and workshops that promise to engage meaningful dialogue about the current status of visual sociology. As we excitedly return to an in-person conference, we invite submissions that consider places/spaces, considering visual sociology in local and global contexts through an open exchange of scholarship and creative works. IVSA continues to encourage papers, films, photo essays, posters and workshops that examine society and culture from various disciplines and perspectives, and we welcome abstracts that address topics relating to visual theories and methods. Proposals need not specifically address the theme of the conference.

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IVSA Annual Conference 2023: Nairobi, Kenya

After three years of convening solely online, the 2023 IVSA meeting will be hosted by Multimedia University of Kenya (MMU) in Nairobi from 27-29 June. The institution began in 1948 as a telecommunication hub for the East Africa Common Services and was chartered as a public university in 2013. Situated on a serene 76 hectares in the historic Karen area of Nairobi, the main campus is adjacent to Nairobi National Park and home to a colony of baboons, mischievous monkeys, and many grazing warthogs who would love to see you there next June!

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IVSA Membership

  • Annual subscription to Visual Studies Journal
  • An invitation to IVSA’s Annual Conference
  • Shared Resources
  • Participation in IVSA’s Showcase

Join the IVSA today

  • Christine Louveau de la Guigneraye: IVSA Board Member
  • Mariko Smith IVSA Board Member
  • Patricia Prieto-Blanco: IVSA Technology Advisor
  • Han Sang Kim: IVSA Board Member
  • Molly Merryman: IVSA Board Member
  • Susan Hansen: IVSA Vice President
  • Tara Milbrandt: IVSA Board Member
  • Gaby David: IVSA Board Member
  • Greg Scott: IVSA President
  • Wes Shrum: IVSA Treasurer
  • Suezen Salinas: Graduate Student Rep
  • Christine Louveau de la Guigneraye: IVSA Board Member

    I’m associate professor at the University of Evry Paris-Saclay (France), in charge of the Visual and Filmic research focus of the sociological research laboratory (Centre Pierre Naville).

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  • Mariko Smith IVSA Board Member

    I undertake an interdisciplinary practice in academic research and the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) sector, specialising in visual sociology, contemporary art, museology, epistemology, and public history.

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  • Patricia Prieto-Blanco: IVSA Technology Advisor

    I work as a Lecturer in Digital Media Practice at the Sociology department, Lancaster University, UK. I am passionate about all things visual, and especially interested in media practices that involve people interacting with/through images.

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  • Han Sang Kim: IVSA Board Member

    I am an associate professor of sociology at Ajou University, Suwon, South Korea. My teaching interests include visual sociology, qualitative methods, and sociology of film and media. I have conducted research and written on the themes of film archives, ethics of photographic representation, post/colonial visual culture, and mobilities. My most recent book is Cine-Mobility: Twentieth-Century Transformations in Korea’s Film and Transportation (Harvard University Asia Center, 2022).

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  • Molly Merryman: IVSA Board Member

    I am an associate professor of Sociology and the coordinator of the LGBT Studies program at Kent State University. I primarily teach in the Master’s program in Criminology & Criminal Justice, where my focus is in Victimology and diversity.

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  • Susan Hansen: IVSA Vice President

    I am Convenor of the Visual Methods Group and Chair of the Forensic Psychology Research Group at Middlesex University, London. I have a background in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis and a PhD in Social Psychology.

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  • Tara Milbrandt: IVSA Board Member

    I discovered visual sociology at a conference in New York City in 2007 and have been a proud member of the IVSA since this time. I am an associate professor of sociology at the University of Alberta’s liberal arts and science campus, Augustana, which is located in central Alberta, Canada. I teach courses in social theory, visual sociology, sociology of community, media and contemporary culture. I am the editor for ‘Elicitations’, the reviews section of the journal ‘Imaginations: Cross-Cultural Image Studies’.

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  • Gaby David: IVSA Board Member

    I am a researcher and university lecturer. I hold a PhD in visual sociology from the Center for Art History and Theory at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris (EHESS), a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Paris 8 and Master’s degree in teaching English as a Foreign Language (ToEFL).

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  • Greg Scott: IVSA President

    Greg Scott is a visual sociologist, multimedia artist, and filmmaker at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. He is the founding director of Sawbuck Productions, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces observational documentary films, experimental art films, virtual reality experiences, and large-scale public installation art. He is a co-founder of WILD AMERICAN DOGS, an interdisciplinary art duo focused on producing experimental films and performance, and of the Archive of Midwestern Culture, an institutionally recognized scholarly organization that documents creative life and artistic practice among people living in economically impoverished areas of the rural American Midwest.

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  • Wes Shrum: IVSA Treasurer

    I’m a professor at Louisiana State University, a sociologist of science and technology with a primary focus on new communications media and social networks. In 1994, I began my research in Kenya, Ghana, and India where I’ve worked and filmed every summer since then, most recently in the urban slums.

  • Suezen Salinas: Graduate Student Rep

    In taking images, freezing moments, visual methods, as photography, allows us to discover how rich reality truly is. I discovered visual methods at the end of my undergraduate career, through an opportunity to conduct disaster research, and documenting disparities in storm water infrastructure across underprivileged communities…

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  • Christine Louveau de la Guigneraye: IVSA Board Member
  • Mariko Smith IVSA Board Member
  • Patricia Prieto-Blanco: IVSA Technology Advisor
  • Han Sang Kim: IVSA Board Member
  • Molly Merryman: IVSA Board Member
  • Susan Hansen: IVSA Vice President
  • Tara Milbrandt: IVSA Board Member
  • Gaby David: IVSA Board Member
  • Greg Scott: IVSA President
  • Wes Shrum: IVSA Treasurer
  • Suezen Salinas: Graduate Student Rep
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    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

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    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

  • So it is my firm belief, that if you want nowadays, to have a clear and distinct communication of your concepts, you have to use synthetic images, no longer words.

    Vilém Flusser

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    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

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    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston

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    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris

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    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

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    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

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    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

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    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins

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    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine

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