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Transcultural Visuality Learning Group

Jul 29, 2012

The 2012 Summer School “Seeing Matter(s): Materiality and Visuality” was organised by an interdisciplinary research project of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context". The "Transcultural Visuality Learning Group", also known under the abbreviation "B4", focuses on the role of visuality and visual culture from a transcultural perspective.

The agenda of this learning group revolves around a systematic follow-up of questions related to the role of visuality and visual culture in the context of transcultural flows and asymmetries between Asia and Europe and within Asia. A core group of scholars from Heidelberg and abroad engage in key arenas of transcultural visual culture in terms of theory and methods within their research fields: "archiving practices" (2009); "icon: affect and spectacle" (2010); "colour: transculturality's sensoriums" (2011). They share an interest in overcoming Eurocentric concepts of looking at and researching ‘visuality’, emphasising the transcultural entanglements of images and image-related practices as they journey across the globe, history, media spaces and social contexts. The idea of the learning group is to address the structural anomaly of visual flows, to enable faculty to thoroughly discuss key issues related to the cluster and to learn from peers as well as experts in the field. Another aim is to engage, beyond the frame of the individual research questions, with given topics of the cluster, addressing concepts of publicity, media flows and shifts, migrating images and people.

The group rests on three pillars. First, it takes the shape of annual workshops at which key issues of transcultural visual culture are addressed in terms of theory and methods within and beyond each member's own research fields. The core members are joined by invited scholars and graduate students from Heidelberg University and elsewhere, and by external experts who attend and stimulate the particular topics of each of the annual workshops. Second, as a reading group, it explores questions of visual flows and asymmetries in such a way that will enable its members to enrich their own research and engagement with visual culture and histories, and to stimulate ongoing discussions among members of the group and the Cluster as well as a larger interested audience from the fields of art history, history, anthropology and area studies. A third core activity of B4 is its contribution to the digital research architecture developed by Heidelberg University (HRA).

The project is particularly committed to building an extensive visual database, the "Transcultural Image Database", to enrich both research and innovative teaching methods related to transculturality and new media technologies. Finally, the Learning Group implements teaching units over the three years of the project phase.

From July 29 to August 4, the group organised the summer school "Seeing Matter(s): Materiality and Visuality" the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies. The summer school was attended by young scholars from all over the globe and from various disciplines.

The "Transcultural Visuality Learning Group" is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius, Prof. Barbara Mittler and Prof. Sumathi Ramaswamy. Project members are Laila Abu-Er-Rub, Cathrine Bublatzky, Dr. Kajri Jain, Prof. Monica Juneja, Prof. Thomas Maissen, Dr. Kavita Singh, Prof. Melanie Trede and Dr. Paola Zamperini.

Learn more about the "Transcultural Visuality Learning Group"


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