IVSA AGM Thursday, 23 July, 2020

Dear Visualistas,

What a year this has been. And we’re just barely past the halfway mark! Time likely feels very weird right now. Yet no matter how strange its current behavior (or rather, our perception of its behavior), there’s no question that it’s doing what it’s always done: passing. It’s also still doing its main job of preventing everything from happening all at once, but that’s another discussion for another … time.

At this moment, absent the present circumstances, more than 200 of us would be convening together in Dublin for the annual conference of the IVSA, the intellectual home that many of us have chosen. Of course, these times are extraordinary, and so we do what humans typically do. We adapt.

As many of you know, on the final day of each year’s conference, we customarily hold the annual general meeting (AGM), known more casually as “the business meeting.” This is the meeting in which the IVSA Board of Directors meets with all active members who choose to attend. Over a box lunch, we typically discuss the previous year’s activities and events, the organization’s present and predicted health (financial and otherwise), strategic decisions and directions, and so forth.

Since we can’t hold the AGM in person this year, we have decided to host the meeting online, via Zoom. All active members of the IVSA are invited to join us to discuss the life of the IVSA. We’ve tried to find a time that will work with most time zones, but we will record the meeting and make it available to everyone in the “Members Area” of our website. All members in good standing are welcome to attend the AGM. So please be sure that your membership dues are paid in full so that you can attend the AGM and continue to support the IVSA.

The 2020 AGM will be held on 23 July from 10 am to 11:30 am CDT (UTC-5). Go here if you want to convert this time to your time zone.

A rough draft of the meeting agenda appears below. On July 22, all active members in good standing will receive an email with the Zoom link to the virtual AGM. We look forward to seeing you!

Greg Scott, IVSA President





  • Approve minutes of 2019 business meeting
  • Brief introduction of all Board Members and Board Members-Elect
  • 2019 Election Results
  • Acknowledging Board Members at the end of their terms
  • Upcoming elections (late autumn 2020)
  • New Technology Advisor — report
  • Newly re-appointed Graduate Student Representative
  • Report from Graduate Student Representative on Early Career Scholars Advisory Committee
  • Rieger and Prosser Award Winners
  • Report from Visual Archivist of IVSA
  • Statement of Mission, Vision, and Values (2019-2020) – report from committee
  • Bylaws – forthcoming proposal for additional changes to bylaws (2020)
  • Financial report from Treasurer
  • Equality and Diversity Report
  • Changes to Visual Studies editorial staffing structure
  • Report from Visual Studies editorial team representative
  • Travel grant program review/reminder
  • Proposals to host future conferences
  • 2021 annual conference announcement (#ivsa2021)
  • Inauguration of new Board Members
  • Q&A with members
  • Adjourn



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

    William S. Burroughs


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

    Lisa Kristine

  • 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


    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


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

    Steve Harp


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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


    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


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

    Bertolt Brecht


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

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • 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


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

    James Reston

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


    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

  • 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



Ready 4 more #IVSA2022 keynote speakers? 。^‿^。 Ace Lehner, University of Vermont - Trans Representations: Decolonizing Visual Theory in Contemporary Photography #visualsociology #photography #translivesmatter @ICAVisComm @isa_visual @CTSG_Brighton @bsavissoc @PhotoEthics

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