Visual Culture Studies in Europe

This project is a collaboration between established and emerging scholars, curators, educators, and editors from across a number of European universities and cultural institutions with a commitment to Visual Culture Studies in Europe, and the study of visual culture. The project aims to:

  • track the ongoing, uneven emergence in Europe of Visual Culture Studies as a field of inquiry across the Arts and Humanities.
  • explore the ways in which these diverse trajectories in the emergence of the study of visual culture are historically and theoretically distinctive because of the unique characteristics of a specific country, location, language, peoples, their histories of migration, governmental policies, and the contexts within which universities function as sites for interdisciplinary learning.
  • interrogate some of the hazards of this distinctiveness –around, for instance, the hegemony of the Anglo-American, English as the lingua franca of the academic humanities, and questions of publishing and dissemination.
  • discuss how the advent of Visual Culture Studies, with its new ways of seeing, knowing, understanding, and participating might (1) extend our studies beyond the university (2) generate particular kinds of cultural practices, and (3) be itself responding to activities in anything from art and curating to policy making and industry initiatives.
  • inquire into the economic imperatives (university priorities, increases in student numbers, government policy, etc.) that are playing a part in embedding Visual Culture Studies as a paradigm for research, learning, and making in universities, art colleges, and cultural institutions.

Visual Culture Studies in Europe hosted a conference 5thFebruary, 2010.

Friday's international conference entitled 'Visual Culture Studies in Europe', hosted by the Institute, was a huge success. A stella cast of leading academics, curators, and editors from Austria, Spain, Croatia, Norway, Belarus, Italy, England, and France including Iain Chambers, Oliver Grau, and Adrian Rifkin came together to discuss the study of visual culture within the context of European universities, art colleagues, and cultural institutions. The audience, a talkative mix of staff and students from Westminster as well as welcome guests from elsewhere in London, Brighton, and as far away as Lithuania, had a day to remember. The conference speakers, members of the Visual Culture Studies in Europe Network, plan to meet again next year, this time in Barca!

Participants included:

Joachin Barriendos, Curator, Santa Monica Art Centre, Barcelona, Spain

Professor Jose Luis Brea, Editor of Estudios Visuales, Madrid, Spain

Professor Iain Chambers, University of Naples, Italy

Professor Anna Maria Guasch, University of Barcelona, Spain

Professor Oliver Grau, Danube University Krems, Austria

Dr Joanne Morra, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, England

Dr Almira Ousmanova, European Humanities University Belarus/Lithuania

Kresimir Purgar, Center for Visual Studies Zagreb, Croatia
Dr Vivian Rehberg, Parsons The New School for Design, Paris, France

Dr Marquard Smith, University of Westminster, England

Dr Oyvind Vagnes, University of Bergen, Norway

Dr Nina Lager Vestberg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway


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