IVSA 2020 Conference Cancelled

Dear Colleague,

Over the past several weeks, the Executive Board of the IVSA, in collaboration with the conference directors in Dublin, have been monitoring and discussing the ever-changing realities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the planning of this year’s annual conference.

For the sake of public health and with admittedly heavy hearts, we have decided to cancel this year’s conference.

We collectively owe a debt of gratitude to the Dublin conference team: Gerry Boucher and Iarfhlaith Watson. Over the past nine months they have worked diligently, efficiently, and creatively to organize this year’s regrettably ill-fated conference. And now they have enthusiastically committed themselves to hosting our conference next year. We greatly appreciate their positive energy, radical generosity, and unwavering dedication to the health and wellbeing of our community’s common good. Many thanks to you, Gerry and Iarfhlaith!

Now, here are some important bits of specific information pertaining to the cancellation of our 2020 conference and the holding of our 2021 conference:

Next year’s annual conference will be held in Dublin from July 5-8, 2021. Please mark your calendars and monitor the 2021 conference webpage for more information.

If you have registered for the 2020 conference, we will refund your registration fee. Please note that refunds must be issued manually, one at a time. It will take us a few weeks to get all refunds issued. Please be patient with us! The same goes if you booked lodging on UCD campus.

We will be “rolling over” all of the 2020 abstracts into the 2021 program. This means that if your paper, film, exhibit, or other work was accepted for presentation at the 2020 conference, it is automatically accepted into the 2021 conference program. If you have already withdrawn your paper and would like it reinstated for inclusion in the 2021 program, please contact the Dublin team (ivsadublin2020@gmail.com).

Obviously, not every scholar in the 2020 program will be able to attend next year’s program. If you are unable to attend the 2021 conference, you may withdraw your submission at any time. To account for attrition and to expand and further diversify the attendance at the 2021 conference, we will be holding another call for papers in the autumn. Please stay tuned for more information on how to withdraw a paper and how to submit a new paper for possible inclusion in the 2021 conference.

Also, on the IVSA 2020 conference webpage we will soon publish a complete list of all presentations that were accepted (titles, abstracts, and authors), so that those who need to get professional credit (e.g., for tenure and promotion, annual performance reviews, etc.) at least have that as evidence of scholarly activity. If you do NOT want your 2020 submission abstract posted on the website, please contact me directly at gscott@depaul.edu and I will remove your abstract from the list.

The 2020 annual general meeting of membership (a.k,a. “Business Meeting” or “AGM”), which is traditionally held over lunch on the last day of the annual conference, will be held this year via Zoom on July 8, 2020. All members in good standing (i.e., annual membership fees are paid in full) are encouraged to participate in this virtual meeting. In early June I will be sending all active IVSA members more information on the AGM, including the time, agenda, and a link to the Zoom video meeting.

That’s all for now. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly by email (gscott@depaul.edu). We wish you good health and peace during these difficult times and look forward to seeing you in 2021. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do for you in the meantime.

Warmest Regards,

Greg Scott
IVSA President



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

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


    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


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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


    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

  • 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


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

    James Reston


    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


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

    Lisa Kristine

  • 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


    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

  • 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


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

    Steve Harp


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

    Steve Harp

  • 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

  • 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


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