Call for Papers – IVSA Annual Conference

Lisa Petheram and I will be co-chairing the panel Who, when & why: Critical perspectives on (new) visual methods at the 2013 International Visual Sociology Association (IVSA) Annual Conference in London from 8 – 10 July 2013.

The full call for papers and details about the conference are available on the conference website

Abstracts are due 31 March 2013

Who, when & why: Critical perspectives on (new) visual methods

Visual methods are now accepted across a range of disciplines and seem to be attracting the interest of a growing number of researchers. Reflecting on these developments, Pauwels[1] has recently suggested that there “should definitely be room for more experimentation” in visual research, further specifying that “audacious” experimentation must always be accompanied by an explanation of what the audience is looking at.

We welcome this invitation to explore the validity and potential of innovations in visual methodology. When writing up their use of visual techniques, however, researchers commonly prioritise the what (i.e. type of visual material) and how (i.e. approach) of their work. As new visual methods emerge and existing methods are adapted, the whowhen, and why of visual research demand critical reflection. Is it appropriate, for instance, to use visual methods with all potential research participants?  How might contextual factors influence the ultimate success or failure of a visual research project? Researchers adopting visual methods could also be more open about the limitations of their approaches and the potential dangers of implementing existing visual methods in new contexts. This panel will critically reflect on these less-discussed aspects of new visual methods and practice.

We are particularly interested in papers that:

  • Explore the limitations of new visual methods or innovations on established visual techniques;
  • Challenge established parameters of visual research;
  • Problematize the process of integrating visual materials and methods with other research techniques;
  • Investigate the replicability of visual methods with different types of participants, in new contexts or for novel research purposes;
  • Emphasise the importance of (researcher and participant) reflexivity in the development and implementation of new visual methods;
  • Reflect on the production and use of visual products as a way of representing findings (derived from visual research) to stakeholders, decision-makers and other audiences.

Paper proposals can be sent to l.hinthorne [at] and Lisa.Petheram [at]

[1] Pauwels L (2012) Contemplating the State of Visual Research: An Assessment of Obstacles and Opportunities. In: Pink, S. (ed) Advances in Visual Methodology. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 248-264.


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