ICA 2020 Pre-Conference: 'Visual Representation and Marginality: Opening New Conversations'

In 2020, ICA travels to the antipodes in Australia, home of the world’s oldest continuous civilization, and, in doing so, presents a unique opportunity to understand how visual representation at the margins has been understood by different groups, for different purposes, and in different ways over time.

The visual representation of marginalized groups has tended to be shaped by dominant groups. Because images are so powerful, memorable and emotionally charged, such representations have historically worked to perpetuate hierarchies, stereotypes and barriers to full participation in the public sphere. De-marginalizing communities, therefore, requires that we investigate the role of visual communication in oppression and liberation. Before pathways can be opened for improved communication, it is necessary to understand the obstacles of the past. In the digital age, participation in the visual public sphere is as critical as ever to the human condition.

The notions of visuality and visibility, too, and the interplay between them, are other key considerations this pre-conference hopes to encourage discussion on, as the struggle for visibility often involves images politics and is inherently connected to marginality, counter-hegemony, resistance, and advocacy. These phenomena can take visual form as images but can also transcend them and manifest more broadly as material culture, performativity, bodily expressions of identity, etc. We conceptualize visual broadly, “from dreams and cognitive theory through gesture and geography, as well as issues concerning visual ethics, visual ecology, representation, visual media in all forms, and visual behavior.”

Call for Abstracts Form

We invite extended abstracts (no more than 1,000) words on, but not limited to, the following topics:

1. Marginalized communities and identities (including Indigenous communities, migrants and refugees, LGBTQ and gender-diverse people, disabled individuals, religious minorities, people of color, and first-generation groups, etc.)
2. Marginalized practices, places, and objects (online dating, hookup culture, non-traditional parenting, non-traditional relationships, de-colonizing processes, non-Western practices, etc.)
3. Key challenges in and ways of conceptualizing “the visual” in research projects and the potentials and limitations of using participatory/collaborative (visual) research methods (community-based research, citizen science) in studying marginality

We are very pleased to be joined at the pre-conference by Dr. Barbie Zelizer, the Raymond Williams Professor of Communication and Director of the Center for Media at Risk at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, who will provide a keynote on invisibility and the news.

We have partnered with the Visual Communication Quarterly journal’s editorial team to dedicate a special issue of the journal to this pre-conference’s theme of “Visual Representation and Marginality” and the top submissions will be eligible for inclusion in this special issue, guest edited by VCS Division Vice Chair Dr. Mary Angela Bock (University of Texas).

TO PARTICIPATE: Upload an extended and de-identified abstract of no more than 1,000 words to this form by 1 Feb. 2020. Outcomes will be communicated by 1 March, 2020. Full-length manuscripts (for discussants to provide feedback on) are due to pre-conference organizer T.J. Thomson (tj.thomson@qut.edu.au) by 1 May, 2020.

Submit full-length manuscripts (of no more than 8,000 words) with any changes made due to feedback at pre-conference to tj.thomson@qut.edu.au by 15 June, 2020, for publication consideration in the special issue of Visual Communication Quarterly, which has been slated for issue 27.4 (December 2020).