CFP: Visual Activism Conference @ San Francisco

The International Association of Visual Culture (IAVC) invites proposals for its third biennial conference in San Francisco, March 14-16, 2014.

The conference is centered on the concept of Visual Activism.  How can we better understand the relationships between visual culture and activist practices?  There are ways in which art can take the form of political/social activism and there are also ways in which activism takes specific, and sometimes surprising, visual forms that are not always aligned with or recognizable by art-world frameworks.  How can we engage in conversations about abstract or oblique visual activism, for instance as is demanded in conditions of extreme censorship?  How can we approach the complexity of governmental or commercial ‘visual activism’ to better address hegemonies of visual culture (for example, in advertising and the mass media)?  What becomes of the temporal lag that attends such images, when the politics of visual production are only made legible in retrospect, with historical distance?  How does the past become a form of ‘visual activism’ in the present?  To what degree do forms of visual activism travel, and in what ways are they necessarily grounded in locally specific knowledge and geographically specific spaces?

Presentations should respond to these questions or related topics and may take the form of scholarly papers (20 minutes), artist talks (20 minutes), short performances (5 to 30 minutes), or lighting-round interventions (5 minutes).  Proposals should include a 400-word abstract, links to websites with additional publications or relevant images and information, and a CV. Please send proposals to (with ‘visual activism’ as the subject line) no later than October 1, 2013.

The conference is convened by Julia Bryan-Wilson (Associate Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, UC Berkeley), Jennifer A. González (Associate Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, Contemporary Art, Race and Representation, UC Santa Cruz) and Dominic Willsdon (Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs, SFMOMA) and will take place at the Brava Theater Center and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA.

Please email to be added to the mailing list to receive updates about the conference such as registration, the calendar of events and participants.


Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: