[MaFLa] Pre-call --- Visual Learning Conference, Budapest, April 2018

Kristof Nyiri nyirik at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 09:43:56 CEST 2017

*visual cognition/culture/education/learning*

*8th Budapest Visual Learning Conference, Apr. 26-28, 2018*

*preliminary informal announcement *

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 sending
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 <benedek.a at eik.bme.hu> and/or Kristof
Nyiri <nyirik at gmail.com>. 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

             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:


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

---- 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

---- 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)

László Beke (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

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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