The Visual and Material History Working Group is a researcher-led presentation and discussion forum set up to interrogate how historical research relates to the issues of visuality and materiality.
How do historians engage with visual and material sources? What specific challenges do they raise?What are the different methodologies and theoretical approaches available to historians using images and objects as sources?
This group aims to discuss a wide range of visual and material sources, including paintings, drawings, objects, popular artefacts, photographs, cartography and architecture. The topics broached by the working group are not bound by chronology, and include topics as far reaching as cultural propaganda, arts and politics, the exploration of taste, visual styles, cross-cultural exchanges of images and objects, material culture and the construction of landscapes.
The working group encourages discussion among researchers through a variety of session formats, which will be published here on our blog. Some sessions offer researchers the opportunity to present and receive feedback on their questions, challenges and preliminary findings. In other sessions, key academic, visual or material works, selected according to an interdisciplinary criterion, will be discussed. Other meetings may focus on specific thematic questions where researchers are encouraged to bring their own images or materials for discussion.
Finally external speakers are regularly invited to share their own research and insights with our research group as part of talks, workshops or conferences.