2021 Conference update

As you know, we had to cancel the 2020 Dublin conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that all of the papers accepted into that program are now being rolled over to the 2021 program, which will follow the same theme of “Visualizing Social Changes: Seen and Unseen.” Conference registration will open on February 1, 2021. Fee waiver grants will shortly be available to encourage the participation of members who might otherwise not be able to attend and present their work.

In order to honour the papers that have waited a year for presentation, we will not accept a new round of submissions. However, we will shortly be issuing a call for posters and innovative visual or multimedia contributions. These will be a cornerstone of the conference programme.

We have designed a number of innovative modes of participation and are excited to share the experience with you. We strongly encourage everyone to attend the 2021 conference and to participate in our live events, workshops, panel discussions and social events. Please do get in touch (IVSA2021@gmail.com) if you are interested in participating as the moderator of a panel, discussion forum, or special event.

Our 2021 conference will be entirely virtual, and will combine live events with asynchronous content. Video presentations will be available to all registered members from mid June, giving delegates ample time to watch, learn, and prepare for lively real-time interaction during the synchronous engagement in July. Prior to the live period of the conference (5-8 July) attendees will be able to engage with presenters via feedback forms that appear alongside the video presentations.

The synchronous (“live”) portion of the conference will feature a number of exciting engagements, including a headline keynote, “how-to” workshops on visual methods, tutorials on visual analysis techniques, practical panels (e.g., how to get published in Visual Studies, how to navigate the job market as an early career visual scholar, etc.), a forum for the discussion of ethics in visual research, virtual poster sessions, online digital image exhibits, a panel on visual pedagogy and teaching practices, happy hours and other opportunities for informal socializing, and a series of Discussion Forums in which attendees will be able to interact with each other and workshop and paper presenters.

The final event in the live segment of the conference will be our Annual General Meeting (AGM), a 90-minute gathering of IVSA members and leadership to discuss the current state of the organization and its plans for the future. Most live events will be recorded for later viewing by members who are unable to attend.

We are so looking forward to seeing everyone virtually in July 2021, and in person next year at our 2022 conference in Dublin!



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

    Steve Harp

  • 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


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

    James Reston

  • 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


    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


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

    William S. Burroughs

  • 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

  • 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


    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

  • 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


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

    Pierre Bourdieu


    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

  • 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


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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


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

    Lisa Kristine


    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


Dr Dawn Mannay

RT @VisualScholars: Looking forward to this event! A few of our members have contributed to this volume and the discussion will surely tack…

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