IVSA 2013 at Goldsmiths

In 2013, the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Sociology Department, Goldsmiths organised the International Visual Sociology Association conference, on the topic of ‘The Public Image’. This post draws together some of what happened at the conference.

Inspired by Michael Burawoy’s concept of ‘public sociology‘, the idea of the ‘public image’ was intended to explore the ways that visual sociology can meet Burawoy’s challenge to bring a sociological understanding of social life to a vibrant, active and diverse public. Public sociology endeavors to bring sociology into dialogue with audiences beyond the academy, an open dialogue in which both sides deepen their understanding of public issues.

Accompanying the conference was an exhibition, Visualising Affect. Les Back discusses his experiences of the exhibition here:


The conference also helped to launch the MA in Visual Sociology, which began in September 2013. Bernd Kraeftner, gave a plenary talk, ‘Incubbating a Syndrome – Crossmedial Sociology?’ which is podcasted here. The session was chaired by Michael Guggenheim and Nina Wakeford.


Michael Guggenheim’s blog post, ‘What was visual sociology?‘, reflects on the status and significance of visual sociology in the context of the conference.

You can find more information on the conference at the CUCR blog, which also includes a lot of work from and relevant to the Sociology Department’s other postgraduate practice programme, the MA in Photography and Urban Cultures.




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