What place do visual objects have in our society?
Paul Sandby: Roslin Castle,1780 (detail). Lady Frances Scott operating a camera obscura (Public Domain)
About the group
The Visual Studies Research Group takes a comprehensive look at a broad range of visual artefacts and phenomena, including popular imagery, scientific visualizations, and the built and natural environment.
Simultaneously, the group seeks to develop new theoretical tools to embrace the multifarious worlds of images we live in and have always lived in, reflecting developments in recent scholarship where the nature of images and their place in culture and society have been widely debated.
The Visual Studies research group focuses on three specific areas:
- We approach the making, transmission, and reception of images as techniques by means of which the articulations, divisions, and associations, both material and symbolic, defining a culture at any given moment are brought into being. Images are ways of world-making, and this necessitates research, not only on the ontological status of images, but also on their pragmatics—how images have shaped, and continue to shape, the practices of doing, inhabiting, and thinking.
- We pay special attention to the politics of images, seeking to come up with an in-depth, historically nuanced understanding of how the politics, and the power, of the visual should be understood and conceptualized in the age of global capitalism.
- We study how images reflect and participate in environmental changes that take place across multiple scales and that are perhaps best understood through the term medianatures.