SCI 5 Ongoing Activities
Visual Studies (2007): Networking Visual Culture
Following SCI 5, a group of scholars began planning for a networked virtual center to advance scholarship and teaching in visual culture studies. Supported by a year-long planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the scholars are developing a strategy for a virtual center to support the growth and maturation of a new and rapidly growing discipline. The aim of this project is to integrate visual culture scholarship and digital technologies to create new collaborative formats for research and teaching.
Visual culture is a necessarily interdisciplinary field which is expanding at a significant pace, in part as a result of visualization technologies and multimedia formats widely used on the Web, cell phones, and other mobile devices. The uptake of these digital telecommunications technologies is generating new questions, methods, and approaches that are engaging the attention of humanists across many disciplines. Scholars are challenged to keep pace with these changes and, in the case of visual culture scholars, to take advantage of the very transformations they study in their work. While new media studies often are narrowly focused on technology and the present day, visual culture studies is distinguished by its engagement with the social and historical dimensions of visual culture. A key goal of this project is to advance and promote visual culture as a dynamic site for the intersection of theory and practice, as well as to integrate visual culture and new media studies. At the same time, the resulting collaborative strategies may well serve as models for other humanities disciplines as they, too, integrate the best of these new technologies into their work.
The steering committee for the Networking Visual Culture Project is convening meetings across the country to receive in-depth critical appraisal of this project and to refine its development. The groups being consulted are: peers from the field of visual studies; scholars and expert practitioners in collaborative research initiatives and virtual organizations; and an array of noted leaders with expertise in higher education administration, organizational cultures, librarianship and archival practices, and publishing. The planning process will result in a refined and well articulated proposal for moving the idea of a networked virtual center for visual culture studies into implementation.