'Visual Literacy – Visual Democracy'
24.11.2016 / 6pm
Why should we study images which circulate in our everyday environment through the platforms of media, social networks? Or those which are displayed on streets, in textbooks, in scientific research? Or even those which occupy our minds in the form of dreams and imagination? Why should we learn to understand how visual representations communicate with us and how they circulate in our mediated and interconnected world? After all, they seem to be so transparent, expressing themselves so clearly that sometimes they even become 'invisible' thanks to their natural omnipresence in our lives… Why do the images matter and where does our responsibility of being critical producers and interpreters of today’s visual culture lie?
This VALS lecture by our colleague Andrea Průchová introduced the interdisciplinary area of visual culture studies with an emphasis on its relationship to media and memory studies and political sciences. It provided a closer insight into Andrea's two recent visual research projects: 'Visual Traces of the Past: How Do We Remember Our Modern History through Images in History Textbooks?', a doctoral research paper on the relationship of cultural memory and visual representations displayed in the Czechoslovak and Czech communist and post-communist textbooks; and 'How Does Central Europe Imagine a Refugee?', a media research project analyzing visual representations of the refugee crisis in the most popular media platforms, which have been published in the four countries of Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary).
Andrea Průchová is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Sociology at Charles University in Prague and Associate Lecturer at Charles University and Prague College. She is a researcher at the Czech National Film Archive and at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. In the academic year 2015/2016 she was based as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at New York University and Pratt Institute in New York City. She is a founder of visual research platform Fresh Eye and works in the fields of visual culture studies, memory studies and visual sociology. Her research work has been published in Life Writings and Politics of Memory in Eastern Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and in Historiography of National Leaders: Symbolic Representations in School Textbooks from Around the World (2017). She has translated Berger’s Ways of Seeing (2016) and Mitchell’s Picture Theory (2016) to Czech. She has lectured at Columbia University, New York University, Pratt Institute and Cardiff University.
At Prague College Andrea teaches Visual Communication, Professional Practice in Art and Design, Design, Writing, Research (School of Art & Design) and Research Techniques for Creative Media Production (School of Media & IT).
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