IVSA Conference 2019


IVSA 2019 Annual Conference

Saratoga Springs, New York from June 20-22, 2019
Register now

Visual Imperatives/Visual Uncertainties

The IVSA is pleased to announce that its 37th annual conference will be held at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York from June 20-22, 2019.

The 2019 International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) conference will include, photo essays, posters, and films that explore the theme “Visual Imperatives and Visual Uncertainties.” What should be attended to in visual studies of society, what can be dismissed or discounted, and what lies in-between? Visual sociology, and scholarly visual studies generally, may be understood as restlessly situated between modernist notions embracing science and post-modernist criticisms of that outlook. Can that tension be settled? Should we even try to do so?

Conference Program

As always, the Conference will be an intellectually vibrant, socially lively gathering. Accepted presenters come from more than thirty nations, and all seven continents—even Antarctica—will be represented by attendees or their projects. Along with exceptional paper sessions, we will be presenting films, a poster session, photography exhibits, and plenary workshops on Community Media Organizing and Multimodal Scholarship.

View Program



Registration for the conference is now open!. Note: you have to be a member of the IVSA to register.

Register today

Travel advice

IVSA Conference attendees may find the last leg of their journey to be a bit complicated. However, we have prepared this guide to get you to the conference.

Read guide


Other information

On-campus housing and meals:
If you would like to stay on-campus at Skidmore College, please click here:

Campus housing

On-campus lunch ticket for June 21:
Lunch on June 20 and 22 will be provided for all attendees. If you are staying off-campus and would like to purchase a ticket to eat lunch at Skidmore on June 21, please click here:

Lunch: June 21

Off-campus accommodations and Saratoga Springs information:
If you would like to stay in Saratoga Springs or would like more information about Saratoga Springs, please visit this site:

Hotel recommendations

In the meantime, get acquainted with Skidmore College and its host community by watching this short video produced by our 2019 conference director, Rik Scarce.

  Watch film


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

    Bertolt Brecht

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


    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


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

    Lisa Kristine


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

    James Reston


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

    William S. Burroughs


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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

  • 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


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

    Steve Harp


    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


Routledge Creative Media and the Arts

Visual Studies will be at the IVSA 2019 Annual Conference this year! Get ready for the conference by reading their article on ‘The Politics of Twilights’ with free access here: bit.ly/2JprOx5 #VisualSociology

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