Tag Archives: Graz

Knowledge – Cultures

We were thrilled to get confirmation a day ago that our team will have its first common and scientific publication in the journal Knowledge – Cultures. Slated to be included in the journal later this year, the article is based on our presentation at last year’s AVPC 2016:  Visual Pedagogies and Digital Cultures conference in Zagreb, Croatia. See this post for more on the conference. The article was collaboratively written by Marija, Angelos, and David.

The article takes the title “Visual Dimension of Protest: three examples from the Balkans” and sketches out a framework that we are all working within. Our central focus here was to operationalize the term Visual Protest Repertoires (VPR), building on social movement theory (specifically Tilly’s repertoires of contention), visual culture, and performativity.

The article then presents the three cases that are the core of our individual research within the Contentious Images project: Women in Black, political posters, and football fan protests. We felt it was important to bring as much “practical” examples to the paper as we are still defining our theoretical frames, exploring the edges of VPR, and conducting our research. In this way, the paper very much represents a mid-way point in the research, and an initial articulation of our concept and fields.

Focusing on the practice, on the tangiable dimensions that we have thus far recorded and considered makes a “work in progress” paper useful and accessible to readers. Reflecting on our data, field notes and work thus far begins (we hope) a process of discussion with a scientific community about/around our work. Finally, it was also useful as a way for us to take advantage of our support structure through comments from various mentors, particularly Marion Hamm – who also worked out the term VPR together with us.

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TTIP/TISA/CETA Protest, Graz 4.6.2016

A few images of the protest against various free-trade agreements that are being negotiated, coming into effect, at the moment. For some basic information on the free-trade agreements, check this wikipedia page (with the usual caution towards anything on wikipedia).

Research Blog

The Centre for Southeast European studies has a new research blog online. They aim to grow the blog as a space for reflecting on research, and methodological questions and debates. The most recent post is one from our Doc-team member. Take a look here: Visualizing the Field.

 

May First Demonstration

May 1st in Graz was marked by various left wing political parties, such as the Social democrats (SPÖ) and the Communist Party (KPÖ), and leftist groups and unions. While the SPÖ chose to gather for a static celebration in the city center (mit bier und würstl, as one comrade described it), the KPÖ and various unions and activist groups staged a march through city. The weather was a disaster, but non-the-less the turnout was good.

Our first protest video (as a DOC-team) captures some of the sights, color, and sounds of the demonstrations and actions from the day. For a bit of history on the origins of May Day, take a watch of Peter Linebaugh’s interview on Democracy Now.

Collective writing

We are writing our first collective text since putting together the proposal for the DOC-team application back in 2014. Written for the AVPC2016 conference, the text is a reflection on our work since June, taking on board new readings and feedback. The only caveat is that it will not contain any data from our field research since we are only moving to the field towards the end of the summer. It is, however, a chance to get some (very) early clues as to how we might organize our final presentation of the project in a few years’ time. Finally, and this I would like to meditate a bit on here, it is a chance to experiment with collective writing and explore linkages between our works.

Our project is effectively three distinct research fields connected through a common methodological (visual ethnography) and theoretical (social movement theory, visual culture and performativity) framework. At a glance this gives the appearance of a disjointed project. It is certainly not a frame in which our data sets will be building on each other directly. The common work is thus less systematic. Instead, the flow is more like a separating and coming back together. We are constantly floating between our individual research and the common frame.

Our challenge is to find a balance. We don’t want to be too preoccupied with individual components that represent our personal interest and research passions. And yet, we want to have our own voice in the project, not getting lost in the common theories and methodologies. Our voices are our own, but should harmonize as well. This means, of course, that the collective part is transformed through our individual works, and vice-versa, our individual work is transformed through collective work. Importantly, our individual voice is also transformed through the influence of the others’ voices. The distinction remains, we do not become “one voice”, but the interaction changes things – new arguments, approaches, styles, etc., come into the mix.

We want the paper to reflect the same flow as our project, bringing forth this tension between individual and collective dynamics in the research. Our first paper thus takes shape: a common intro (theory, methods), three distinct examples, and a return to the common via a final reflection on the examples we have, and the questions this brings forth for our project. Our writing process has been similar. Common discussions on what we need, individual writing, common review and polishing.

Of course, it was not so linear or so smooth. There was much back and forth, changes to earlier decisions that were not materializing as we hoped, or we just forgot what the agreed approach was, no-one wrote it down, etc. This constant correcting is also a key part of the process of writing the paper, and even the slow cooking of the whole project.

This is, in a sense, an important process of reflection on all levels of our work. “Reflection” is also a key tool in our methodology. Douglas Macbeth (2001) writes: “reflexivity is a deconstructive exercise for locating the intersections of author, other, text, and world…”. We just pluralize all Macbeth’s aforementioned categories, particularly the first one: “authors”.

AVPC 2016: Visual Pedagogies and Digital Cultures

The DOC-team has been accepted for a collective presentation at the first Visual Pedagogies and Digital Cultures conference (AVPC2016) in Zagreb. The conference takes place on the 18-19 of June in Zagreb. This will our first opportunity to present our work collectively at a conference. For more details, check the conference website here: http://avpc.tvz.hr/.

From the call:

During the past decades, traditional media have undergone major transformations. Hierarchical models of one-way dissemination of information, knowledge and culture have been replaced by horizontal models of two-way communication, and everyone has become a producer and a consumer. One by one, traditional media gave in to new modes of production and dissemination.

In the beginning, the Internet enabled people to produce and share text. Soon after,technological development enabled people to produce and share images and music. Finally, following rapid increase in computing power and bandwith, video has joined the long line of digitally transformed media.

The Association of Visual Pedagogies Conference AVPC 2016: Visual Pedagogies and Digital Cultures explores these transformations in the context of human learning around three broad dialectically intertwined themes. The first theme is concerned with practical issues. How to produce suitable video learning materials? When, and under which conditions, can we videotape children? The second theme is related to video pedagogies. What is the role of video in physical and virtual classrooms? How to seize the pedagogical potentials of video? Finally, the third theme is related to digital cultures, politics, and emancipation. What is the new role of video in production and dissemination of culture and knowledge? What are the unique features of video research metodologies? What is the role of visual cultures in new social movements and social transformations at large?

The last question, about visual cultures in new social movements is what interests us the most. We will focus on the visual artefacts we are working with: posters, pictures, videos, and atmosphere generally. These artefacts will be at the center of our presentation and paper.So we are looking to make an applied presentation, focusing on materials gathered, rather than the theoretical core of our collective work. However, from the artefacts, we will make references to the field of visual research in social movement theory as far as they are relevant.

Image

Our project in a poster.

On the 4th of March, part of the DOC-team will travel to Vienna for a two day workshop at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Over those two days we will be taking part in sessions with other DOC-team recipients and presenting our project. As part of that, we developed this poster to visualize our project:

poster_v2a-page-001

Uni.On summer feature

Our project was featured online this summer, in the universities online magazine, uni.on. It features interviews with Angelos and Dr. des. Marion Hamm, who advised the project from its inception.

Text:

Jung-ForscherInnen untersuchen visuelle Dimensionen des Protests in Südosteuropa

Seit dem von der EU verordneten Sparprogramm spiegelt sich die Unzufriedenheit der griechischen Bevölkerung nahezu täglich auf der Straße wider: Heftige Proteste finden ein Ventil in Streiks oder landesweiten Demonstrationen. Unverzichtbar dabei: Poster, Transparente und Plakate, die nicht nur Botschaften auf den Punkt bringen, sondern durch kreative und eindringliche Bilder auch Unbeteiligte ansprechen und mobilisieren sollen. Wie sich diese Politisierung über visuelle Medien im Alltag vollzieht, untersucht der Sozial- und Medienwissenschafter Angelos Evangelinidis. Er dissertiert im Rahmen eines „DocTeams“ an der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Das Besondere an dem international vernetzten Forschungsverbund: Drei NachwuchswissenschafterInnen aus verschiedenen Ländern untersuchen unterschiedliche  Facetten ein und desselben Themas: der visuellen Seite des Protests in Südosteuropa. Die Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW) fördert das Doc Team mit einem dreijährigen Stipendium, das mit 37.000 Euro pro Jahr dotiert ist.

Evangelinidis zieht in seiner Doktorarbeit Vergleiche zu politischen Plakaten im Griechenland der Nuller-Jahre und konzentriert sich in seiner Analyse auf das Athener Studierendenviertel und Szenetreffpunkt Exarchia. „In diesem Teil der Stadt ist die Politik Diskussionsgegenstand Nummer eins“, weiß der Forscher. Welche visuellen Techniken – zum Beispiel Plakate, Graffiti oder Straßenkunst – ineinander greifen, um eine kollektive Identität der AktivistInnen aufzubauen, wird er anhand ausgewählter Beispiele untersuchen. Auch kritisch-oppositionelle Praktiken werden durch den geschickten Einsatz von Postern gestärkt, weiß Evangelinidis: „Das klassische, amerikanische Plakat mit dem Zitat ‘We can do it’ aus dem Jahr 1943 wird heute im griechischen Protestrahmen von Basis-Gewerkschaften genutzt – sie wollen damit ihrem Widerstand gegen die Öffnung von Geschäften am Sonntag Ausdruck verleihen.“

Der Athener Hintergrund ist nur eines von drei Beispielen, an denen das DocTeam die visuelle Protestkultur in Südosteuropa analysieren will. Neben Angelos Evangelinidis untersuchen seine KollegInnen David Brown und Marija Martinovic umstrittene öffentliche Aktionen von Fußball-Fans in Bosnien-Herzegowina und Slowenien sowie Video-Aktivismus in der Belgrader Frauenbewegung. Die NachwuchswissenschafterInnen dissertieren alle an der Uni Graz. Die Koordinatorin des Doc Teams, Dr. Marion Hamm, unterstreicht die Bedeutung des Forschungsvorhabens: „Ob Poster, Menschenkette oder öffentliche Performance: Visuelle Ausdrucksformen sind aus Protestbewegungen nicht wegzudenken. Eine systematische kulturwissenschaftliche Untersuchung dieser visuellen Aspekte von Demonstrationen stand aber bislang noch aus. Diese Lücke füllt jetzt das DocTeam, das weltweit mit namhaften ExpertInnen kooperiert.“

Das Projekt mit dem Titel „Contentious Images – Unruly Practices, An Ethnography of Visual Protest Repertoires in Southeastern Europe“ entstand aus dem interdisziplinären Doktoratsprogramm „Visuelle Kultur“ an der Uni Graz und ist in den gesamtuniversitären Schwerpunkt „Südosteuropa“ der Karl-Franzens-Universität eingebunden.

-Gerhilde Kastrun