Register for the event here
Despite growing attention to the ways that human movement is represented, less work has examined the visual means and modes through which this is happening. Yet the visual has arguably always been fundamental to the ways that humans make sense of the world and their places within it. Cartography, religious iconography, propaganda, photography, and filmmaking are only a few examples that demonstrate the power of visuality for shaping observers’ perceptions and understandings. This is particularly the case for issues relating to migration and (im)mobility, which lend themselves to communication modes and media involving visuals.
Given the growing emphasis on the visual in both academic research and media, the roundtable series “Visualising Migration and Mobility: Perceptions, Practices, and Politics” explores the current state of thinking and practice around visualising mobility and immobility
Format and recommended reading
This series is comprised of two online roundtable events (full details below) which will address respectively the following key issues:
- How the perceived beauty and attractiveness of images matter for the ways political issues such as (im)mobility are visually represented
- How visuals and their creators relate to facts, misinformation, and yet-to-be-realized realities, with what consequences for public scholarship and knowledge about political issues such as (im)mobility
In order to foster and inform discussion, prior to the events registrants are strongly encouraged to read the following short blog article: "Why Visuals Matter for the Politics of Migration—Particularly Now" by the organisers Dr William L Allen (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford) and Dr Marnie Howlett (Departmental Lecturer in Politics, University of Oxford).
Audience, Registration, and Zoom Link
- This series is open to anyone having an interest in the visual means and modes through which migration and im/mmobility are and can be represented.
- We encourage registrants to attend both roundtables. Please register only if you intend to attend as this will allow us to best prepare for the events.
- The zoom link will be sent out via email 48 hours before the events. Please keep an eye on your inbox.
Roundtable 1: Beautiful Images, Contentious Politics: Visual Modes and Representation
Tuesday 15 February, 2022 | 12pm-13.15pm GMT | zoom
- Dr Elsa Gomis (Filmmaker and Doctor in Film Studies)
- Prof Matthew Nicholls (Visiting Professor in Classics, University of Reading; Senior Tutor, St John’s College, University of Oxford)
Moderated by Dr William L Allen (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford)
This roundtable considers how the perceived beauty and attractiveness of images matter for the ways political issues such as (im)mobility are visually represented. While these features may open possibilities for communicating in new and surprising ways, they may also obscure or gloss over difficult and contentious politics that invoke competing perspectives. By considering how (im)mobility is captured and expressed via several media–including film, apps involving virtual reality, and data visualization–this event aims to foreground how beauty matters for public understandings, and what consequences this may have for societies, culture, and politics.
Roundtable 2: Visualising Truths: The Politics of Omission, Manipulation, and Erasure
Friday 25 February, 2022 | 12pm - 13.15pm GMT | zoom
- Anthony Bourached (Co-Founder, Oxia Palus; PhD Candidate in Machine Learning and High Dimensional Neuroscience, UCL)
- Federica Cocco (Journalist, Data Team of The Financial Times)
- Prof Gillian Rose (Professor of Human Geography; Head of School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford)
Moderated by Dr Marnie Howlett (Departmental Lecturer in Politics, University of Oxford)
This roundtable revisits the perceived ‘truthfulness’ of imagery in the face of decisions–intentional or not–that omit, edit, and erase elements. These practices potentially matter for how people make sense of issues, yet are not always apparent in visual outputs’ final forms. By considering the notion of truth-telling via a range of images and settings–including artificial intelligence, urban development, and data journalism–this event aims to highlight how visuals and their creators relate to facts, misinformation, and yet-to-be-realized realities. Moreover, it asks whether and how making such curatorial choices visible might be positive forces for public scholarship and knowledge about political issues such as (im)mobility.
This event was organised by Dr William L Allen (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford) and Dr Marnie Howlett (Departmental Lecturer in Politics, University of Oxford) and sponsored by the University of Oxford's Migration and Mobility Network.