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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Updates and news about the IVSA and its membership
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.
Sabina Andron is a cities scholar specializing in creative and transgressive public cultures, with a specific interest in the semiotics of urban walls and surfaces. Sabina’s research focuses on the surfaces of cities as spatial typologies, by examining their material, visual, and legal dimensions. Her areas of expertise include graffiti and street art, public writing and city signage; urban visual culture and geosemiotics; the right to the city, spatial justice and the urban commons; legal geography and urban property regimes; and deviance, disorder and crime as forms of urban citizenship.
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.
Originally from Italy, I am an anthropologist and painter based in South Australia. Over the last years, I have conducted fieldwork in Australia and Nepal, using experimental visual methodologies, particularly drawing and painting. As an artist and researcher, my aim is to translate social interactions, constructions and paradoxes within a decoding and encoding visual language.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Ernesto Noronha is a visual and work sociologist who extensively uses images in his research and teaching qualitative methods.
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…
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).
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’.
Julie Patarin-Jossec is a sociologist by education, a forever field ethnographer, an extreme environment wanderer, and a weirdness enthusiast. After her Ph.D. emphasizing ethnography-based photography and outer space exploration coloniality, Julie started experimenting with filmmaking and photography techniques (including conceptual portraiture, thermal imagery, colour separation and chemical treatment of analog film), which led her to develop original methodologies both within and beyond her academic practice.
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).
I was awarded a PhD in Visual Sociology in 2019. Currently, I hold a Leverhulme grant at Brunel University London to conduct arts-based research on the affective racialization of national identity in Hungary. I have staged a number of participatory and multimedia performances in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Brazil and Bolivia and curated exhibitions in London. I am on the Editorial Board of Qualitative Research.
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.
One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.
Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.
Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.
William S. Burroughs
Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.
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.
Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.
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.
If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.