Call for Papers: ‘Visual Studies as Academic Discipline’ conference, Centre for Visual Studies, Zagreb, Croatia, November 2013

The past two decades have witnessed a large increase in academic interest in all visual phenomena, including those strictly visual – from painting and film to experimental video and multimedia installations – as well as all the forms of applied arts: graphic and industrial design, fashion and advertising. In many countries, this interest in visual practice is accompanied by the interest in visual theories, primarily in the new discipline of visual studies that keep acquiring academic legitimacy at universities worldwide.

Visual studies have emerged as a result of parallel expansion that occurred respectively in the fields of art history and film studies, whose radical members have converged particular theories of still and moving images, towards an integral science of images. After W.J.T. Mitchell and Gottfried Boehm have sanctioned the pictorial turn as the basic interest of hyper-mediatized society, it became clear that various visual phenomena demand a much wider theoretical platform, one which would take into consideration the definitive erasure of borders between high and low art, between elite and popular culture, as well as between creators and consumers of visual messages.

For the first time in history, the users of images became the producers of images, within an unrestrained circular process, wherein images yield new insights, while insights demand their instantaneous pictorial foundation. The development and expansion of telecommunication technologies have transformed the traditionally understood technical images into a new communication code that is accessible to everyone. However, does this accessibility simultaneously presume that the new communication code is intelligible to everyone using it? Do we really know what are the images telling us, what do they want from us or what is it that we want from them? Do we know in which manner the most recent researches in technosciences prove, by the way of visualization, their radical tenets on biocybernetic complex systems, and how is the notion of image inscribed into the performative bodies of art and fashion today?

The International Scientific Conference Visual Studies as Academic Discipline aims to gather a wide circle of university oriented theorists, so that they can jointly consider the ways in which they deliberate and teach about images, primarily about their overlapping meanings, that arise through the intermedia networking of various visual practices, as well as through the transdisciplinary analyses of contemporary theories. This symposium wishes to examine the theoretical legitimacy of a wide field of visual representations: art, film, photography, design, fashion and performance. It also wishes to consider the disciplinary status of actual visual studies as an (established) scientific paradigm.

We invite all the concerned colleagues to submit their presentations on one of the proposed subjects:

1. The theoretical and disciplinary status of visual studies – two decades after the pictorial turn
2. Visual studies as a “radical” version of art history or a critical detour?
3. The epistemological aspects of visual studies in university curricula
4. The potentials of the applied science of images: interactions between art, film, design, fashion and performance
5. “Non-disciplinarity” as an approach to the multimedia image of the world
6. Fashion studies today: from the theory of fashion to the design of body

Presentations are limited to 20 minutes. In order to participate at the Conference, please send abstract of your paper (150 words) together with short CV to email: and until 21st of July 2013. The scientific board will notify you of the status of your proposal until 25th of July 2013.

Keynote speaker:

W.J.T. Mitchell, University of Chicago, USA

Plenary speakers:

Michele Cometa, University of Palermo, Italy
Marquard Smith
, University of Westminster, London, GB

Members of the workgroup Visual Culture in Europe:

Nina Lager Vestberg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Øyvind Vågnes
, The Bergen Center for Visual Culture, Norway
Joaquín Barriendos
, Columbia University, New York, USA
Ana Maria Guasch
, University of Barcelona, Spain
Safet Ahmeti
, Center for Visual Studies, Skopje, Macedonia
Max Liljefors
, Lund University, Sweden
Almira Ousmanova
, European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Scientific and organisational board:

Žarko Paić, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Krešimir Purgar
, PhD, Center for Visual Studies, Zagreb
Sandra Bischof
, PhD, Dean of Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Katarina Nina Simončič
, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Nikola Petković
, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka
Leonida Kovač
, PhD, Assistant Professor, Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb
Suzana Marjanić
, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore, Zagreb
Goran Sergej Pristaš
, Associate Professor, Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb
Silva Kalčić
, Lecturer, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Petra Krpan
, MSc, Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb
Laura Potrović
, MSc, Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb
Nikola Devčić
, Director of the Association “White Wave”, Zagreb


Center for Visual Studies, Zagreb; Tvrđa – Magazine for theory, culture and visual arts; Croatian Writers’ Society; Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb; Association “White Wave”, Zagreb

The Conference will take place at the Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb, from 7th to 9th November 2013. Details will be regularly updated on the web site

The Conference is organized within the activities of the workgroup Visual Culture in Europe, and is the fourth such event, following previous ones held in London (2010), Barcelona (2011) and Trondheim (2012).

The Conference Visual Studies as Academic Discipline is endorsed by The International Association for Visual Culture.

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