The 48th Annual Conference of the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA) will be held on October 5-8, 2016 at Concordia
University, Montreal, Canada. The conference will be hosted by the Concordia Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society
and Culture in collaboration with the Department of Art Education, the Department of Design and Computation Arts, and the
Centre for Sensory Studies.
IVLA’s annual conference provides scholars and researchers, teachers and students, artists, and other professionals with interests
and activities relating to the multidisciplinary field of Visual Literacy, an opportunity to present their work and interact
with peers. It also features keynotes by three luminaries.
Theme: Engaging the Senses
Visual Literacy is already a field of multidisciplinary investigation. How might it also become a field of multisensory and/or
intersensory investigation? For example, how does seeing as a way of sensing and making sense of the world differ from reading,
or touching, or dancing? As Isadora Duncan famously remarked: “If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point
in dancing it!” ? Or, how can the insights derived from the study of Visual Literacy be extended to other modalities of sense,
such as sound studies?
In asking these questions, the conference seeks to revisit and recuperate the original definition of “Visual Literacy.” In
the words of John Debes (Co-founder of the IVLA), Visual Literacy refers to “a group of vision competencies a human being
can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences” (1969). More recently, Brian
Kennedy (Director of the Toledo Museum of Art) proposed that “Visual Literacy is the key to sensory literacy” (2014). This
suggests that the past and future of Visual Literacy lies with engaging the senses.