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Visuality / Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice

 Visuality / Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice

The Royal Institute for British Architects, London, 9th - 11th July, 2009


Professor Gillian Rose (Geography, Open University)
Dr Divya P. Tolia-Kelly (Geography, Durham University)

Plenary Speakers

Professor Elizabeth Edwards
Dr Paul Frosh
Professor Jane Jacobs


Paper Presentations, Visual Art, Film, Workshops, Participatory Methodologies.

Visuality / Materiality attends to the relationship between the visual and the material as a way of approaching both the meaning of visual and its other aspects. The interrogation of image as sign, metaphor, and text has long dominated the realm of visual theory and analysis. But the material role of visual praxis in everyday landscapes of seeing has been an emergent area of visual research; visual design, urban visual practice, visual grammars and vocabularies of domestic spaces, including the formation and structuring of practices of living and political being, are critical to 21st century grammars of living. The relationship between Visuality / Materiality here is about social meaning and practice; where identity, power, space, and geometries of seeing are approached here through a grounded approach to material technologies, design and visual research, everyday embodied seeing, labour, ethics and utility. This conference is aimed at providing a dialogic space where the nature and role of a contemporary visual theory and practice can be evaluated, in light of materiality, practice, the affective, performativity; and where the methodological encounter informs our intellectual critique. The organisers are keen to encourage contributions based on research experience and practice into specific aspects of visuality and visual critique including concern with:

  • What is the relationship between materiality and the visuality?
  • How do we develop new theoretical approaches to new visual practices?
  • What can we learn from everyday visualities?
  • How can we approach ethical practices through visual practices?
  • How are theories of materiality, performance, embodiment employed in research on the visual?


The conference has been generously funded by The Open University, Durham University and The Lived and Material Cultures Research Cluster (Durham University, Geography Department).

The organisers would like to especially thank Jan Smith and Kathy Wood for administrative support, and the generous support of the Cartographic Unit, Durham University, Geography Department.

Contact Details

Durham University
Department of Geography
Lower Mountjoy
South Road, Durham

Tel: 0191 3341800
Fax: 0191 3341801