Dr Ségolène Tarte announces new critical visualization network

Dr Ségolène Tarte announces new critical visualization network

The e-Research Centre's Senior Researcher Dr Ségolène Tarte and Pip Willcox, head of Oxford University's Centre for Digital Scholarship and Senior Researcher at the Centre have set up a new Critical Visualization network, funded by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

Visualization is proving to be a key part of research, dissemination, and teaching in the Humanities, supporting innovative endeavours ranging from virtual reconstructions of ancient cityscapes, through analysis of historical, cultural, and social networks, to the use of pattern recognition techniques for searches of image databanks.

The process of creating visualizations involves data collection as much as remediation, processing, and interpretation of the data; yet a visualization is often perceived as a way to present and create knowledge that "simply" makes it more accessible.

TORCH was set up in 2013 to provide an opportunity for Oxford's humanities scholars to collaborate with researchers across other disciplines and institutions, develop partnerships with public and private institutions and bring together academic research, diverse industries, and the performing arts.

The Critical Visualization network proposes to critically explore the foundations, practices, and impacts of visualization, as much from a technological perspective as from a cognitive point of view, reflecting upon questions such as:

• what are the pros and cons of photo-realistic renditions?
• what cognitive assumptions do visualizations rely upon?
• how might one go about encouraging critical viewing as a means of thinking critically about data re-mediation and re-presentation, about visual (and non-textual) data?
• is such "critical viewing" desirable, and in what contexts?

Exploring these questions, Ségolène and Pip hope to foster interdisciplinary resonances and commonalities alongside cordial and generative disagreement that will repay further debate.

The network will support this multidisciplinary exploration by creating a space for sharing and critical discussion of understandings and practices across a range of cross-divisional disciplines.

The network will launch on 13th December 2016, at Oxford University's Radcliffe Humanities Building on Woodstock Road. The afternoon event will feature a keynote by Dr Igea Troiani, a trained architect, academic and filmmaker whose research in architectural humanities explores new modes of architectural scholarship beyond the solely textual.