Program activities include: regular seminars; master classes for early career researchers; training sessions for our media lab and for computational methods to analyze images; opportunities to make the best out of our rich archives and museums; and an international symposium on interdisciplinary visual methods.  There will also be workshops organised around the pilot projects designed to open up opportunities for early career researchers and to bring together scholars from different parts of HASS and beyond. 

The projects and their coordinators are: 

New Computational Methods for Visual Politics  (Coordinated by Dr Daniel Angus)

The aim of this project is to advance the analysis of visual social media using advanced computational methods.  Social media platforms are primarily visual, yet the development of analytic tools and research is overwhelmingly focused on textual content. The focus on the textual over the visual skews the development of insight and theory about the uses and applications of social media within public life.
The project develops a methodology and a software platform that have significant applications for research on the links between images and political phenomena.  The project involves members from HASS as well as from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, which has agreed to provide the project with access to their Tesla K40 Supercomputer.
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How Images Shape Responses to Humanitarian Crises (Coordinated by Prof Roland Bleiker)

This project examines how images, and the emotions they engender, shape responses to humanitarian crises. Scholars largely recognize that images play a key role in communicating catastrophic events to distant audiences, but we still lack a precise understanding of various important issues involved, including why we react differently to different humanitarian crises. 

By comparing media representations of a genocide, natural catastrophe, refugee crises and pandemic, our project offers both scholarly and policy-relevant insight about how exactly images procure a willingness to alleviate human suffering.  We then establish collaborative links with Humanitarian Non-Governmental Organizations explore the effectiveness of images in raising awareness of humanitarian crises.


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Australian Indigenous Art and Global Black Power (Coordinated by A/Prof Sally Butler)

This project examines Australian Indigenous arts’ involvement in a global Black Power movement from the 1970s to the present. It advances understanding of how the arts act as visual politics networks that can advance radical political thinking and action. The interdisciplinary industry-engaged research team includes art historians, political scientists, artist/activists, curators, and scholars in Indigenous and theatre studies.

We examine the impact of this Black Power arts movement on the present through collaboration with two prominent artists who played a key role in the struggle for African-American and Aboriginal rights respectively: USA’s Emory Douglas and Australia’s Richard Bell.

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Politics, Ethics and Aesthetics of the New Visuality (Coordinated by Prof Tom O’Regan)

This project builds on several ARC funded activities (Jacobs on “The Persistence of Television;” O’Regan on “Media Transformations” and Nannicelli on “Television Aesthetics and Ethics”) to explore how contemporary changes in media production, reception, distribution create a new “politics of visuality.”  We now witness a rapid fusion of traditional media and interpersonal communication.  Viewers are no longer solely spectators and consumers but have become active contributors to an increasingly interactive and global media-landscape. 

The project examines the profound political, aesthetic and ethical consequences that emerge from these transformations.  

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Media Lab: Covering Conflicts and Disasters (Coordinated by Dr Martin Weber)

This project makes use of a state of-of-the-art Media Lab, which was established through a UQ Major Equipment Gant. The lab monitors worldwide television coverage at several key channels simultaneously.  While offering immense potential this lab has so far been underused because researchers have not been trained how to use it. 

Rectifying this shortcoming, this project has two purposes:

  1. to make the media lab available to scholars across the faculty and to offer corresponding training sessions;
  2. to establish a team of interdisciplinary scholars who will analyse the so-collected data to examine how conflicts and disasters are visually depicted and what kind of political and ethical consequences follow. 
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Living Archives (Coordinated by Prof Gillian Whitlock and A/Prof Graeme Were)

The objective of this project is to integrate the archival collections in HASS – the Fryer Library, UQAM and the Anthropology Museum – in to a research culture.  HASS archives have unique resources for research on campaigns for social justice in the Asia Pacific region, for example on indigenous peoples, asylum seekers, and genocide.  

The project focuses on links between visual and material culture, generates collaborative partnerships with these repositories, and develops new methodologies in scholarly communication and digitisation.  

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Visualizing Korea (Coordinated by A/Prof David Chapman)

This project brings together half a dozen scholars from multiple disciplines to analyze the political visualization of Korea over the past 150 years.  Key questions are: How did visual and textual representations influence the material, social, political and cultural transformation on the Korean peninsula over time? How were the processes of modernity and colonization debated and shaped by such representation?   What were the key differences in political visualizations between pre-colonial, colonial, postcolonial and the contemporary context of a divided peninsula?  What part has been played by Japan, America, China and Russia in this context?

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