IVSA Conference 2023: Call For Papers

IVSA CONFERENCE 2023, June 27-29, 2023, Nairobi, Kenya


International Visual Sociology Association: Conference 2023


The 2023 International Visual Sociology Association Annual Conference invites abstracts for papers, films, photo essays, posters and workshops that promise to engage meaningful dialogue about the current status of visual sociology. As we excitedly return to an in-person conference, we invite submissions that consider places/spaces, considering visual sociology in local and global contexts through an open exchange of scholarship and creative works. IVSA continues to encourage papers, films, photo essays, posters and workshops that examine society and culture from various disciplines and perspectives, and we welcome abstracts that address topics relating to visual theories and methods. Proposals need not specifically address the theme of the conference.

The 2023 IVSA conference is hosted by the Multimedia University south of Nairobi, Kenya, and will be entirely in person. (There will not be a hybrid option.)


Submission deadline: March 1, 2023


All presenters should submit abstracts of no more than 250 words through the EasyChair conference management system. Prior to submitting, you will need to create an EasyChair account if you do not already have one. The submission deadline is February 1, 2023.

Abstracts submitted through EasyChair must include the following:

  • Title of presentation
  • Name of presenter(s) as it will appear in the program
  • Organization/Affiliation of presenter(s)
  • Email address of presenter(s)
  • Type of submission (paper, film, poster, workshop etc.) at the top of the abstract
  • Abstract text (250 words, maximum)
  • Keywords (three or four)
  • Filmmakers should include a link to their film file within their abstract (and a password to access, if protected).

All submissions, regardless of their central medium (text, film/video, photography, illustration, web-/app-based, etc.) will be evaluated on their scholarly, artistic and scientific-analytic merit.

All conference presenters and attendees must be members of the IVSA. Participants can only be a lead author on one presentation. In the case of multiple authored papers, all authors must be members of the IVSA and pay conference fees to be listed on the program.

The Conference Committee will select submissions for inclusion in panel and poster sessions. Video- and film-based presentations may include works-in-progress as part of panel presentations, in addition to screening completed works. Abstracts for these works should be submitted in the same manner as paper presentations with the expectation that screened excerpts will be included in the presentation. Completed films can be entered into the peer-reviewed film stream, which screens films. (Filmmakers should include a link to their file (along with the password, if protected) within their abstract.)

The Conference Committee will also evaluate and select workshops during the conference. Workshops at previous IVSA conferences have included on-site photo and film assignments and editing workshops. Workshops normally take place during the three days of the conference, and can include include a one- to two-hour session on the first day, and session on the final day for participants to present their work.

Submit via EasyChair

If you have any questions, please email the conference team: ivsaconference2023@gmail.com



    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

  • 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

  • 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


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

    Bertolt Brecht


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

    William S. Burroughs


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

    James Reston


    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


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

    Lisa Kristine

  • 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 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


    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


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

    Pierre Bourdieu


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

    Steve Harp

  • 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


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