When I look, what I see is not simply light but intelligible form: the rays of light are caught in a network of meanings.

--Norman Bryson, "The Gaze in the Expanded Field"

Throughout the 20th century, Bryn Mawr College has been a distinguished site of study of the ancient and modern visual arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture. One of the College's four new Centers for 21st Century Inquiry, the Center for Visual Culture draws upon Bryn Mawr's rich traditions in art and archaeology and augments them with an equally rigorous study of visual media from the invention of photography and film in the 19th century to the proliferation of interactive digital media in the 21st.

Since 1999, a weekly colloquium has hosted presentations in Africana Studies, Biology, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, English, French, German, Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies, Growth and Structure of Cities, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, History, History of Art, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Social Work and Social Research. In these varied presentations members of the community come together to exchange perspectives on the vital role of the visual image in the production of historical and contemporary forms of human culture around the world.

The Center for Visual Culture provides a forum for a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular events such as lectures, conferences, film series, exhibitions, and trips. The Center underwrites travel expenses associated with undergraduate and graduate research, and also supports postdoctoral scholars engaged in projects extending in scope from ancient Constantinople to the Hollywood of today. These visitors enjoy the use of the excellent visual and textual resources of Carpenter and Canaday libraries and also contribute much to the intellectual life of the College through public and more informal discussions of their work.

Among its current projects, the Center for Visual Culture looks ahead to the launching of a new on-line journal in visual culture. The Center also anticipates ambitious joint initiatives with the Center for Communities, Ethnicities, and Social Policy, the Center for International Studies, and the Center for Science in Society.

Center for Visual Culture July 4, 2001