CfP Visualizing Sustainability


The International Visual Sociology Association invites abstracts for its 34th annual meeting, to be held at Lillehammer University College, Norway, June 22-24, 2016.

Abstracts may address general topics relating to visual methods, theories, and other aspects central to visual sociology and the visual analysis of society and culture, as well as the general theme of the conference, “Visualizing Sustainability. Imagined Futures.”

We encourage submissions from those interested in the visual research and thinking from sociology and related social sciences; communications and media; cultural studies; film and photographic studies; photojournalism and related practices. We encourage those unfamiliar with visual methods and analysis to visually innovate and experiment in their respective substantive specializations. The IVSA is rooted in the discipline of sociology but welcomes participation from a wide range of disciplines.

Preference will be given to presentations that use visual material (images or video).

Specific themes may include but not be limited to the following:

visual methods in the study of sustainability
the visual study of nature and human presence in the world
the visual analysis of environmental problems and crises
the visual dimension of social movements for human sustainability
the visual imagination of a sustainable ecological world

Please note: the list above is suggestive and not exhaustive. As the first conference to address this important theme, we expect a wide range of creative approaches, ideas and presentations, including papers with images, videos, photo essays, multi-media, fine arts and other modes of visual expression.

Information on how to submit is forthcoming on Deadline is January 15, 2016. If your proposal is accepted you will be invited to join the IVSA in order to participate in the conference.


Visualizing Sustainability: Imagined Futures

IVSA 2016 Annual Conference

June 22-24, 2016 in the town of Lillehammer, Norway. The Conference will be hosted by the Faculty of Social Science at Lillehammer University College.

During the days of June 22 – 24, visual scholars and artists from around the world will gather to share their research and network in paper sessions, workshops, film sessions, exhibitions and social events.

The theme for this conference will be “Visualizing sustainability: Future imaginations.” The conference will take place at Lillehammer University College. Lillehammer is less than two hours by train from Oslo International Airport with direct flights from many cities in and outside Europe.

For this year’s event we ask the visual sociology community and related disciplines to problematize and challenge the concept of environmental sustainability. How can we visualize what sustainability is and what it is not; what are its signs and characteristics? We ask you to use your visual imagination to explore the issues related to sustainability on a local and a global scale.

As is our practice in all IVSA conferences we also welcome generalist submissions dealing with visual methods, theories, and other central issues in visual sociology, as well as visual analyses of society and culture.


More information here

on-line journals

Two new journals exploring (and expanding?) the ‘open’ possibilities of writing (visual) social sciences (on the web).

CCC  (critical contemporary culture)

The on-line journal “envisions an alternative cultural-intellectual public space. In our contemporary moment, the combination of theoretical reflection with engaged cultural practice is as important as ever. CCC is committed to re-imagining, cultivating and supporting such work and their alternative public spaces.”


The on-line journal’s motivation is “to create a community of like-minded people, whose academic interests extend beyond the bounds of university or conventional scholarship, whilst drawing inspiration from a range of contemporary discourses within the academy.”

Introducing an Organization

Denise, our Peruvian colleague, has sent us this piece of information on a project which could be considered as a sort of “photo voice”. The organization, in charge of this project, provides equipment, initial training and follow up workshops and presentations to the marginalized communities in Peru. As the you tube video demonstrates, the participants document their perspective of community, environment, life standard, etc through the cameras provided. Thus, the subaltern part of society is offered a way to represent and communicate their ignored life. The visual outcome claim to be reflecting the immediate experience of the participants.

Seeing the video and photos, a crucial question arises: can the subaltern speak? or in other words: do the photos reflect an immediate experience of the participants or is it already coded within our aestheticism and symbolism (as the participants have gone through workshops)? Are the participants attempted to put their experience in the already existing system of concepts and sign provided by training?

Nonetheless, this project depicts an unseen aspect of economically oppressed communities. And its presentation is privileged through the fact that it is constructed not by a passive observer ( a stranger photographer) but by actively engaged members of the community. It signifies a desire to change and an act towards a change.


The vision of the social actors

The organization “Iniciativa Social Blanco y Negro” generates visual information based on the viewpoint of the social actors themselves. To that end, the organization provides cameras and training. The objective is to produce and spread images that reflect the reality and the vision of people who live in a context in poverty, discrimination and/or exclusion. The images incite a process of reflection and promote change among the communities and social actors who participate in our projects.

To achieve our objective, we develop training workshops in photography. Examples are our workshops with an Awajún community in the Amazon region, to contribute to the preservation of their culture; with health promoters, to create images that are to be used in their educational and health management tasks; or with teachers, inhabitants and park keepers in the high jungle of Peru, to promote photography as a tool for education and surveillance of the environment. We have also worked with adolescents, to continue the graphic history of their community and to value the contribution of its founders; with elderly people, to promote their memory, concentration and coordination capacities; and with children, to promote their concentration and verbalization capacities and to produce graphic material for learning in the class room.

One of the most important results of the workshops consists of the collections of digital images produced entirely by the participants. They are a real visual -social and institutional- memory. In that way, we intend to contribute to the processes of affirmation and recognition of the institutions and individuals who participate as representatives of their community and as co-managers of the photographic projects.

We give sustainability to our projects as we donate the cameras to the local institutions or individual participants. In addition, we provide follow-up and support to the photographic production after the workshop, which progressively enriches the collections of images.

Our initiative has led to the production of numerous photographs and to interesting individual as well as social processes of identification, reflection and discussion on the registered topics. This happens not only among the participants but also among those who organize and visit the public expositions that are organized after each workshop.

These experiences affirm and value photography as an important social document. As the possibilities and problems of a community are visualized, processes of reflection and education are supported and valuable information promoting participation, management and surveillance is created.

We believe that these images taken by the social actors themselves on inequalities and gaps as well as on the great possibilities of our society will make the people who see them reflect on pending issues and problems in Peru. In addition, they should stimulate the engagement by institutions and authorities to resolve the serious and enormous challenges posed to our development.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to upload the video so please visit the link:

Experimental Research Network

The Experimental Research Network is a space for academics, artists and anyone else who has an interest in creative experimentation with research practice. Currently, the network includes academics using experimental audio and visual methods in their research, researchers using experimental narrative, textual and print-based methods, sound artists, avant-garde film makers, photographers, performance artists and musicians. The Network was initiated in 2010 by Dr Michael Gallagher and Jonathan Prior, both based at The University of Edinburgh, Scotland.