Visual Practices Across the University - a lecture by James Elkins

This lecture and cocktail function marked the launch of the VC strategic initiative in Archive and Curatorship, ARC: the Visual University and its Columbarium

23 August 2011

Hiddingh Hall, UCT's Hiddingh Campus, Orange street, Gardens

Today's university employs a wide range of image-making and image-interpreting practices: doctors, lawyers, scientists of all sorts, engineers, humanists, and social scientists all produce images and make arguments about them in different ways. This talk assessed the state of scholarship on links between art and science, arguing that it is possible to consider images in various fields without using tropes from the humanities or social sciences as explanatory tools -- in other words, by letting the different disciplines speak in their own languages. The talk also explored the model of a university-wide course on visual experience, which would act as a corrective to the almost exclusively humanities-based perspective of existing "visual culture" courses while also acknowledging the visual nature of much of contemporary research and experience, over and against the emphasis in most curricula on words and equations.