From cave art to the metaverse, the visual is fundamental to human cultural experience and has a privileged place in our exploration of our world. Visual culture has been shaped and remade by the possibilities of technology and come to play a key role in how we see and present ourselves as individuals, and communities. Our diverse group of researchers, including practitioners, historians, curators and theorists, explore the richness of the visual world. Their scholarship and thought helps trace and articulate new and complex histories of how art and visual culture is transmitted, connected, interpreted, made, collected and exchanged and to question how, why and what we see.
We are engaged with visual forms as a means of communication, expression and as a way of understanding the world around us. Our work encompasses research into individual and cultural perception; a focus on the social and political contexts of vision in diverse times and places; the multiple forms of social, cultural and political expression to which visual culture gives rise; and the frameworks in which we interact with visual culture, from museums and collections to digital platforms, on our streets and in our homes and workplaces.
Our work highlights the vital role of visual knowledge in cultures and societies across the world. We study the complexity of Indigenous Australian visual knowledge, and its continuing vitality; we explore how seeing can reveal or distort truth; we chart the growth of new visual technologies and we help to place our saturated visual present in helpful and illuminating historical contexts. We work with many partners globally and nationally, to explore how the question of the visual is of continuing relevance not just to art and artists but to science, medicine, engineering and education.
Our current areas of focus include:
Hero image credit: William Hogarth, Analysis of Beauty Plate 1, 1753.