CfP: the 8th Budapest Visual Learning Conference, Budapest, 26-28 April 2018

Conferences & workshops


Please find below the 8th Budapest Visual Learning Conference preliminary informal announcement we are sending out into the broad wide world today. Some of you are already informed about our plans, some of you have agreed to participate, but to most of you this will be the first description of our envisaged ambitious April 2018 project. Addressing the latter group: we trust and hope that you will engage in preliminary conversations with us, and, ultimately, decide to visit Budapest next spring. Also, we ask you to forward the text below to colleagues you think might be interested, we really count on your doing this. Thanks, and kind regards,

András Benedek                                     Kristóf Nyíri

With the deadline for submissions still quite some months away, this is not yet a call for abstracts, but rather a call for some preliminary informal exchanges between the conference organizers and those considering to send in submissions. Prospective participants should have a chance to seek added information about scholarly aims and organizational details, and clearly the organizers would like to get an early picture as to the interests of participants, and of course their rough number. At this stage, please just write to Prof. Dr. Andras Benedek <> and/or Kristof Nyiri <>. Our ambition is to organize a really momentous conference, with talks that make a difference, adding up to a recognizable scholarly step forward. Subsequent to the conference we plan to publish a high-quality collection of selected and edited papers — an elegant volume. All perspectives, including historical, philosophical, sociological, etc. are welcome. The conference language — the language of all submissions, talks, and ensuing publications — is English.

In the present announcement, in what follows, you find:

1) The conference title, and the titles of the planned conference sections.
2) A first attempt to formulate the questions we hope the conference will provide  answers for.
3) A preliminary list of invited speakers.
4) The deadline for, and format of, abstracts and bios to be submitted.
5) Information as to the conference site & costs (no conference fees).

But first, let us here list the members of the Honorary Advisory Board of our 2018 conference: Wolfgang Coy (Berlin), Valeria Csépe (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Claire Golomb (Boston), György Hunyady (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), John Jost (New York), András Kertész (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), András Patkós (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Csaba Pléh (Hungarian Academy of Sciences / CEU), Barry Smith (Buffalo, NY), Michael Tomasello (Leipzig). Colleagues of great renown, whose work very much orients the scholarly expectations inspiring this conference.

And now let us come to points 1 to 5.

1) The conference title is: *Visual Learning: COMMUNICATION — CULTURE — CONSCIOUSNESS*

We plan to have the following conference sections:

Multimedia Content Development
Educational Theory and Practice in the Visual Age
Scientific Visualization / Imaging
Visual Culture
The Visual Mind
Sign Languages
Visual Semiotics
New Vistas in Cognitive Metaphor Theory
Art Education
Film Theory
Visual Rhetoric
Reform and Continuity

2) The questions we expect to be answered, or the issues that at least should be addressed head-on, in the framework of the conference sections listed above (but please note that you are free to negotiate with the organizers about alternative topics, too), are:

Multimedia Content Development: Do educationalists by now have a clear idea of what genuine multimedia synthesis means? Do we have a grasp of true *multimedia logic* as contrasted merely to a motley of elements belonging to different media occurring in a common learning environment? —- Educational Theory and Practice in the Visual Age: How far have we progressed from the notion of “visual aids” to the idea of text–image integration? How can we characterize the historical road from Comenius through a perhaps total dominance of text over picture through the rise of the image to contemporary educational theory? Does educational theory today possess the conceptual tools to understand the demands and vistas of visual thinking? —- Scientific Visualization: Is it merely an instrument of popularizing science, or does it belong to the essential process of scientific discovery, or even to the essence of making epistemological and/or ontological sense of scientific theories? What does visual thinking amount to in mathematics, and what is the significance of visuality in the development of children’s mathematical thinking? / Imaging: How far do the various imaging technologies provide objective information or even truth, in what sense are the patterns they create actually images? —- Visual Culture: Are we here experiencing a radically new age in communication and cognition, or are we, rather, witness to a return, at a higher level, to a primordial stage in human development? Is the rise of contemporary visual culture a liberation from the verbal straitjacket of former centuries — or, on the contrary, a spiritual decline? What are the implications for our school system? —- The Visual Mind: Do we possess mental images in any epistemologically significant sense? How do thinking in words and thinking in images interact? Can there be an autonomous visual argumentation? —- Sign Languages: How much is iconic and how much conventional in different sign languages? Does an appropriate study of the workings of sign languages add to our understanding of the visual mind, and/or to our understanding of the origins of verbal language? —- Visual Semiotics: What are the specific additional gains the semiotic approach brings to visual studies? What is Peirce’s message for the 21st century? Does de Saussure still have such a message? Has there emerged a basic paradigm connecting social semiotics to the sudy of visual communication? —- New Vistas in Cognitive Metaphor Theory: How well embedded in cognitive or conceptual metaphor theory has the idea become that sometimes, or often, it is visual mental images that form the background of metaphor? Are there visual metaphors, and what is their relation to verbal ones? —- Art Education: Has it become genuinely affected by the rise of a new visual culture? How is child art affected? How adult education? What difference does the digital environment make, how are motor skills affected, how the grasp on reality? What is the role of art education in reducing social inequality in schools? —- Film Theory: Since the pioneering works of say Münsterberg, Balázs, and Arnheim, film theory has branched out in innumerable directions, has reacted to radical technological changes, and is by now said by many to be more or less inscrutable. Can we, still, grasp some definite contemporary theoretical patterns, define some leading paradigms? And can we, in an all-encompassing online video environment, still articulate some meaningful strategies of bringing together film and education? —- Visual Rhetoric: After centuries of dominance of the printed word, and with the linguistic turn a thing of the past, the study of rhetoric is now once again a well-established branch of learning. Visual rhetoric is the answer to the demands of a visual culture. In what direction(s) however will rhetoric move in the age of online multimodal networked social media? —- Reform and Continuity: Amidst the breathtaking technological changes we experience, what are the inevitable turns educational theory and practice must take, and where are the points continuity rather than reform should prevail? Is there a scope for conservative pedagogy today? How far can the distinction between conveying factual knowledge and teaching competences be upheld? Do we have an idea of what the essentials of a successful school system actually are?

3) Invited speakers (preliminary list):

Petra Aczél (Budapest)
Charles Forceville (Amsterdam)
Cynthia Freeland (Houston) — opening plenary talk
James Katz (Boston)
Zoltán Kövecses (Budapest)
Amirouche Moktefi (Tallinn)
Philipp Stoellger (Heidelberg)

4) The envisaged deadline for, and format of, abstracts and bios to be submitted:

The planned final submission deadline is Aug. 15, 2017, but we will strongly encourage early submissions, and already at the present stage welcome, as explained above, preliminary informal inquiries. We expect a short bio (max. 100 words) stating affiliation and interests, and an abstract (max. 200 words). Please do not add to the abstract a separate list of references. In your submission, indicate the conference section you intend your talk for (while, as indicated above, we are happy to negotiate with prospective participants who wish to go beyond the present sections/topics suggestions). Acceptance notification by Sept. 10, 2017. To each conference section a chairperson, an assistant chairperson, and a technical assistant will be assigned well before April 2018, that is each speaker will receive individual assistance and attention both before and during the event. The envisaged time slot for each talk (presentation + discussion) is 30 minutes.

5) Information as to the conference site & costs:

The conference will take place at the main building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest. The event is planned to begin at midday on April 26, Thursday, 2018, and to end on April 28, Saturday, in the evening. Refreshments and sandwiches will be offered during coffee and lunch breaks. There will be a modest charge for those wishing to join the special conference dinner. Beyond that, no conference fee is envisaged, attendance is free for all, but prior registration is required.

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