What’s Up With the IVSA April 2020

IVSA Members receive a monthly newsletter called “What’s Up” because we want to support the wider community at this time we are sharing this to none members as well this month. Please consider becoming a member today.

Dear Visualistas,

Of all the “What’s Up with IVSA” we have written in the past couple of years, this is probably the most peculiar. For the first time, most of us no matter where we are, are doing the same thing … staying at home. Confinement, though, cannot take away our visual curiosity about the world. We just have to put in practice what Charles Wright Mills suggested back in 1959: to trigger our sociological imagination, to scape our own circumstances and look at the wider picture.

That´s right: even if we are confined, we are not alone. Our experience is, now more than ever, the experience of millions of people, and as researchers, scholars, artists, and activists, we have a unique opportunity to navigate what we are living at this moment, put it in conversation with what we already know about the world, look for alternative perspectives, and then link it with the broader society. This simple, yet elaborated, process is what the sociological imagination is about.

What can visual research offer at this time? We see visual imagination as an intrinsic part of Wright´s concept. We can use images, whether mental or real, to stimulate negotiations between us and society, to design new research questions, to awaken memories and fuel new ones, to envision our future, to see what we cannot physically see at this moment, to see differently what we see in our everyday routine, and, above all, to transgress our confinement through intellectual visual actions. For instance, I have never observed my city from the roof of my home in the same way as I do it now. My neighborhood and its people are acquiring new meanings. All of a sudden, I am seeing with new eyes something that was always there.

Resources have been shared by scholars around the world supporting each other in these difficult times. In the context of our association, we have many members who face extraordinary challenges right now, and the uncertainty of knowing whether they will still have positions to return to in the fall, as well as the question of what will happen with course work, not to mention the tragedy of loved ones and colleagues who lost their lives to Covid-19. In solidarity we have gathered some messages of reflection on, and support for, different aspects of what many are living through. We are not alone, though it may seem dark, we need to reach out to each other and hold onto our communities. This will end.

IVSA Dublin postponed until 2021: Reminder

We were very sad to have had to postpone the IVSA 2020 to July 5-8, 2021 in Dublin. And we would like to reiterate that if your paper, workshop or film was accepted for presentation at the 2020 conference, it will be automatically accepted into the 2021 conference program.

Additionally, we will run another call for papers in the fall. However, if you are not able to attend next year´s meeting or you decide to change your presentation, you may withdraw your submission at any time. For questions regarding refunds, resubmissions, and more, please, contact our Dublin team at ivsadublin2020@gmail.com 

With this in mind, we are sure that our next conference will have an incredible amount of contributions regarding engaging the senses in times of social emergency. But you do not need to wait until 2021 if you don´t want to. You can always submit your paper to our journal Visual Studies. Remember to subscribe to our organization to receive the journal issues, and all the resources available in our website.

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Call for proposals: IVSA conference hosting 2022, 2023 and 2024

We would like to take this moment to remind members that we are accepting proposals to host IVSA’s annual conferences in 2022, 2023, and 2024. Please see the call page.

Visual Studies journal: Embarking on a new era

Visual Studies has a new Editorial Team in place!

Our plan was to create an Editor Team to help to distribute the editorial work on the journal; to form a non-hierarchical team comprising of members with a range of skills, experience and ideas; and, to put in place a dynamic team of Editors to collaborate, consult and work as a highly effective and democratically organized operation. Please join us in congratulating the new editorial team members:

  • Gary Bratchford, Co-Editor
  • John Grady, Specialist Editor: Film/Video and Multimedia

  • Susan Hansen, Specialist Editor: Visual Essays and Images
  • Derek Conrad Murray, Co-Editor
  • Julie Patarin-Jossec, Specialist Editor: Special Issues and Book Reviews

Taking Time to Look Back

Innovative, international and interdisciplinary from the beginning, IVSA began with a small group of visionary scholars. In 1983, during the American Sociology Association national meetings in Detroit, a few sociologists responded to a query for those interested in visual sociology to cross the border into Canada to meet at the University of Windsor. At the meeting, the group developed a minimal organizational structure to advance what was then a non-existent field, and the IVSA was born. Within a few years, IVSA held their first conference in 1986, and published the proceedings in their journal, Visual Sociology (later renamed Visual Studies).
When did you discover the IVSA?  What part of our history can you share? IVSA’s visual archivist, Xavia Karner (txkarner@uh.edu), is collecting stories, memories, photographs, artifacts, etc. of IVSA history. A lot has happened in the 37 years of IVSA’s existence, and we are asking for your help to document our organizational history. We hope to create a digital IVSA archive and want to include your IVSA experiences. Please send your contributions to Xavia at txkarner@uh.edu . 

Finally, we are having vivid conversations in our Facebook group page, which we invite you to visit! Stay strong, visualistas! We will see each other again very soon in Dublin!!!!

Peace and Seny*
Yole and CC

*Seny: common sense and good judgment in Catalan


It´s Not The Same

It´s Not The Same

Unexpected Landscapes

Unexpected Landscapes

Smile With The Eyes

Smile With The Eyes

CC 2

CC 2

CC 1

CC 1


  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


    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


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

    Bertolt Brecht

  • 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


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

    James Reston

  • 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


    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


    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.

    Steve Harp


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

    Lisa Kristine


    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


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

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • 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


Katy Wareham Morris

RT @sociologyworc: ‘Parts of town are just destroyed’: the ghost shops of Kent in pictures #VisualSociology theguardian.com/artanddesign/2…

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