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. As one of the College’s original 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 ubiquitous digital media of the 21st.
Since 1999, a weekly colloquium has hosted presentations by scholars in a wide range of disciplines, including Africana Studies, Biology, Archaeology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, History of Art, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and languages and literatures. The colloquium also features talks by artists, curators, filmmakers, and other practitioners and theorists who work with visual images. In these varied presentations, speakers and audiences come together to exchange perspectives on the vital role of visual imagery in the production of historical and contemporary forms of media and culture.
The Center for Visual Culture provides a forum for a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular events including special lectures, conferences, film series, and exhibitions. The Center sponsors 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.
Through co-sponsored programming, guest speakers, and digital outreach, the Center aims to foster interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration within Bryn Mawr College and the Tricollege Consortium, as well as with academic institutions, art centers, and community organizations in the Philadelphia region and across a wide network of alumnae and affiliates around the world.
Center for Visual Culture