Visuality, Culture, Methods PhD School: Exploring visual cultures, when you can’t really trust your eyes. In collaboration with the TRAVIS project

Interested in exploring the complexity of visual culture as platformed interactions collide with generative AI? Curious about how to take an interpretive, reflexive, and qualitative approach to studying trust and authenticity in the age of algorithmic media? Join us for the 2024 edition of Visuality, Culture, and Methods, a week-long intensive course May 6-10 at University of Tallinn, Estonia.


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How do we study visual cultures, phenomena and visuality, when everyday life continues to be platformed and networked, online experiences are increasingly multimodal and visual, and generative AI keeps adding complexity to already-sophisticated photo and video editing capabilities? As the world shifts further away from the supposed sanctity of visual realism, or the idea that photos are proof of real events, how might visual studies also shift?  What happens to questions of information, legitimacy, trust, authenticity and intimacy? 

The course focuses on creative, yet pragmatic approaches to analysis and interpretation of visual cultures and multimodal practices. Together, we will examine, discuss, and experiment with qualitative techniques and reflexive interpretive epistemologies with a particular focus on enactments and experiences of trust with and within the visual.  Following ignite lectures and examples from the instructors, teams are assembled to explore a particular context. In addition, participants will have space to share key concerns around their own research projects and receive direct feedback from experts as well as their peers. 
The course is suitable for any level of researcher, particularly targeting PhD candidates and postdocs (under special circumstances, advanced masters level students will be considered). 


Katrin Tiidenberg
Professor of Participatory Culture
Tallinn University

Annette Markham
Professor of Media Literacy and Public Engagement
Utrecht University

Maria Schreiber
Postdoctoral Researcher
Paris Lodron University of Salzburg

Asko Lehmuskallio
Professor of Visual Studies
Tampere University

Gillian Rose
Professor of Human Geography
University of Oxford, UK






The course fee is 295 Euro (a limited number of needs-based fee waivers are available)
Apply by December 15, 2023 (BY CLICKING APPLY HERE)
Notice of acceptance: January 5, 2024
Registration: January 31 - March 1, 2024 

This PhD school represents the fourth edition of the international Visuality, Culture, Method PhD Summer School, launched in 2012 by Annette Markham. This year’s edition is a joint collaboration with the international Trust and Visuality in Everyday Digital Practice research project (TRAVIS, supported by the Estonian Research Council, Academy of Finland, Austrian Science Fund, FWF, Economic and Social Research Council under CHANSE ERA-NET Co-fund programme, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement no 101004509). 

For organizational questions about the course, please contact 

Katrin Tiidenberg is Professor of Participatory Culture at the Baltic Film, Media and Arts School of Tallinn University, Estonia. She is the author of multiple books on social media, digital visual cultures and digital research methods, including, most recently “Tumblr” (2021,co-authored by Natalie Ann Hendry and Crystal Abidin) and “Sex and Social Media” (2020, co-authored by Emily van der Nagel), “Selfies, why we love (and hate) them.” As well as the co-editor of award-winning “Making sense of the Datafied World: a Methodological Guide”(2020, in Estonian, co-edited with Anu Masso and Andra Siibak) and “Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity” (2020, co-edited with Annette Markham). She is currently wrapping up a research project on platformization of sexuality and on the role of the internet in young people’s political participation and starting a project one on visual digital trust (TRAVIS). Her research interests span social media, digital cultures, networked visuality, internet governance and self-care.

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Annette Markham is Professor of Media Literacy and Public Engagement at Utrecht University. She is a pioneering researcher of digital culture and has been researching the impact of digitalization on identity and organizing practices since 1995. Annette holds specializations in the lived experience of human/machine interactions, impact of datafication and algorithmic logics on social practices, and critical approaches to digital and algorithmic identity. She is one of the world’s top experts in ethical frameworks for digital social research and is well known for her longstanding work to develop innovative methods for mixed-method and ethnographic research in digitally-saturated contexts. Annette created and directed the international Future Making Research Consortium in 2016, a collaboratory to bring together scholars, artists, and activists, particularly early career researchers, to study the intersection of digital technology, ways of being in the world, and future possible meanings, practices, and social structures. She regularly hosts post-graduate workshops, an annual Skagen Institute Conference on Transgressive Methods, PhD summer schools, and special interest masterclasses. Annette’s writing can be found in a range of international journals, books, and edited collections.

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Maria Schreiber is a Post-Doc Researcher at the Department of Communications at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Her work focuses on visual and digital media cultures and qualitative methods. Previously, she worked at the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna, investigating ‘Visual Biographies in a networked lifeworld’. Maria was a visiting researcher at the University of Potsdam’s center on ‘Visuality and Making Visible’ and at the Digital Ethnography Research Center at RMIT in Melbourne. She held a scholarship of the Austrian Academy of Science as part of the DOC-team ‘Pictorial Practices’. She is part of the interdisciplinary DFG-network ‘Transformative Visuality’.

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Asko Lehmuskallio is a scholar working at the intersection between visual studies, social sciences and media theory. He is particularly interested in the interrelations between bodies, networked cameras and the social practices within which these are enmeshed, particularly as they relate to images and knowledge. Lehmuskallio serves as Professor of Visual Studies at Tampere University, Finland and directs the Visual Studies Lab. After his PhD, he has held several positions abroad, including as Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, US, and the Sussex Humanities Lab, UK, as Rudolf Arnheim Guest Professor at Humboldt - Universität zu Berlin and as Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and
Political Sciences. Lehmuskallio has published widely, including work on non-professional camera use, interpersonal boundary regulation in digital environments, the history of the passport, photography and migration, and the notion of the camera.

Publications and more about his work and Twitter @verlook

Gillian Rose is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Academy of Social Sciences; she has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Pretoria and Karlstad. She is the author of Feminism and Geography (Polity, 1993), Doing Family Photography (Ashgate, 2010) and Visual Methodologies (Sage, fifth edition 2022). Edited collections include Women Writing Space: Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies (with Alison Blunt, Guilford,1994), Visuality/Materiality (with Divya Tolia-Kelly, Ashgate, 2012) and most recently, Seeing the City Digitally, available open access from Amsterdam University Press here. She has also written many papers on images, spatialities, visualising technologies and ways of seeing in urban, domestic and archival spaces. Her current research interests focus on contemporary digital visual culture and how cities are seen and experienced.

Find out more about her work here and follow her on Twitter @ProfGillian. She is also trying to restart her blog here.