Visualisation in Archaeology Workshop 2009

The call-for-papers for the upcoming, October 2009 Visualisation in Archaeology (VIA) workshop has just been released, and I’ve included a copy of it at the end of this post.


While I’ve admittedly played some role in organising these forums, I think it’s fair to say that last year’s workshop was a very rich, exciting and intellectually-productive experience.  Virtually every contributor to the 2008 event submitted follow-up evaluative feedback which was uniformly enthusiastic and constructive.  Multiple presenters have commented online about the success of the workshop, including Colleen Morgan via her Middle Savagery blog, and Tim Webmoor through the VIA post on Archaeolog.  All of this input has directly informed our final report to English Heritage; but, more importantly, it has been used to shape and critically target this year’s event.

With that in mind, the CFP follows.  Building on the 2008 workshop, of especial significance are specific case studies of visualisation in practice — in the field, in the classroom, in museums, heritage contexts, technical reports and other publications, on the web and within the commercial unit.  The tensions, the taken-for-granteds, the possibilities but also the pitfalls of this practical work are key themes for the 2009 two-day workshop in Southampton in October…


2009 VIA Workshop

Visualisation In Context: An Interplay of Practice and Theory

22-23 October 2009

University of Southampton

Call for Papers

The 2009 VIA Workshop is designed to probe intersections between theory (which might traditionally be represented in terms of critique — linear and written) and practice (which might increasingly be expressed in terms of production — non-linear and visual) within the field of archaeology as well as other disciplines from the humanities and the sciences. Whilst tensions can exist between practice and theory arising from the perceived role of practice as providing a reservoir of images for exploitation, critical engagement with images can provide for the contextualisation of visualisations and the processes linked to their construction. The 2009 VIA Workshop will concern itself with this productive and positive interplay between production and critique.

Against the 2009 VIA Workshop’s overall theme – Visualisation in Context: An Interplay of Practice and Theory — attention will be called to arenas of practice encompassing the commercial, the academic, and the institutional in light of an historic examination of the triangulation between technology, training, and the process of visualisation. Where applicable, sessions will be open to papers featuring a strong project base or by referencing practical case-studies.


Session Information

Session 1:

The Role of Pedagogy and Enskilling in Visual Practice

Chair: Stephanie Moser

This session will explore both the scholarly and the practical provision of visuality-related studies and their relative impact on past, present and future ways of visual-thinking and visual-doing. Contributions may address, but are not limited to, questions such as who undertakes training, what are their competencies, what education/training provision is being offered, why it is being offered, etc; the effects on visualising practice of professional development by way of accredited in-service training programmes; imperatives of identifying skills provision and defining skills levels in the visual domain; and, unravelling tensions between the academy and the workplace.

Session 2:

Toward A Virtual Archaeology?

Chair: Steve Woolgar (tbc)

As the shift in information and communication technologies continues apace, the unimagined possibilities for producing and distributing the results of scholarly research, compared to only a few years ago, demands that the profession examine the rationale and consequences of unanimously adopting technology as an organising principle. Technology is now challenging traditional structures of knowledge production, information exchange, work processes, and educational goals. The likelihood is that we are, all of us, chasing technology — but to what end? Contributors to this session are invited to assess, amongst other things, the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the work place, the academy, and in a wider social setting with particular emphasis on who benefits from the adoption of visual-related digital technologies and why; how visualising technology is actually used and by whom; and, which communities are intended to benefit from the promises of ICT and how is the benefit realised?

Session 3:

Mapping the Effects of Digital Technology on Visualising Process

Chair: Simon James

The digital work environment has profoundly shifted all aspects of working practice, no less so than in the graphics office. This session invites contributions from practitioners and researchers and seeks to examine interactions between image-makers and digital technologies, as well as their resulting effects on the process of image generation; how digital technologies (re)shape our visual engagement with the material world; the impact of theory on the utilisation of digital technology; and, historic perspectives on traditional and digital methods in image-making. Contributors are encouraged to centre their papers on visual material from recent or current projects.

Session 4:

(Inter)Play of Practice and Theory: Case Studies

Chair: Sam Smiles

This session seeks to present papers in the form of case studies which highlight those instances where imaging technologies (whether material or virtual) have been actively involved in shaping comprehension, thus contributing to investigation and analysis in ways that cannot be replicated by other discursive forms (principally textual). Joint papers are invited from contributors who together demonstrate either a practice or a research background, thereby fostering collaborative approaches to the challenges of analysing visual practice and method. An historical dimension to this session will be encouraged by case studies featuring print-based publication and/or digital-based dissemination. Although not a requirement of the session, participants are encouraged to share reflections on their own work and place it in context of their expectations for future developments in the multimedia production of professional and scholarly forms of dissemination.



Thursday 22 October 2009

08.00 — 09.00  Registration and coffee

09.00 — 12.00  Session 1:

The Role of Pedagogy and Enskilling in Visual Practice

chair: Professor Stephanie Moser

12.00 – 14.00  Lunch

14.00 – 17.00  Session 2:

Toward A Virtual Archaeology?

chair: Professor Steve Woolgar

19.00               Evening meal

Friday 23 October 2009

08.00 – 09.00  Registration and coffee

09.00 – 12.00  Session 3:

Mapping the Effects of Digital Technology on Visualising Process

chair: Dr. Simon James

12.00 – 14.00  Lunch

14.00 – 17.00  Session 4:

(Inter)Play of Practice and Theory: Case Studies

chair: Professor Sam Smiles


Abstract Submission

The 2009 VIA Workshop welcomes responses related to the themes identified in our current Call for Papers by providing:

– paper title;

– name and contact details (organisation, postal address, phone number and email);

– 250-300 word abstract;

– session

– brief identifying statement about yourself;

– possible technical requirements for your presentation.


Dates and Deadlines

14 August 2008 – Final deadline for abstracts submission.

25 August 2008 – Notification of acceptance.


Submission Guidelines

Submission of abstracts will be entirely electronic and mailed to:



Workshop participants will be provided with local hotel accommodation. Breakfast, lunch, evening meal and workshop refreshments will also be provided. Transport will be arranged between the hotel and university. Car parking will be available at the hotel.

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