Visual Research Days with Professor Paul Frosh 8.-9.4.2024

What it means to be a researcher and teacher within the fields of visual studies, visual journalism and related fields?


Monday April 8th:

Where: Joutila, main university building, E-wing, 3rd floor

10.15-11 Getting to know each other: introducing ourselves to others and some reflections from the “Being a researcher -papers” by Asko Lehmuskallio and Jenni Mäenpää

11-12 Prof. Paul Frosh an informal talk on The Truths of Images (see abstract below)

12-13 Lunch at Technopolis, close to the university

13-15 Some informal activity in the city (we will let you know on Monday)

16> To Sport Institute Varala (Varalankatu 36, Tampere), Hirsisauna building.

16.15-17.30 Asko Lehmuskallio will present insights to the theme Being a researcher by introducing practices from the so called Oxford model and Tampere University’s New social research (NSR). 

Tuesday April 9th:

Where: Sport Institute Varala (Varalankatu 36, Tampere) at Hirsisauna building

10-11 Prof. Paul Frosh will present thoughts about being a researcher

11-12 Workshop 1: Discussions in small groups sharing with other group(s) about your own ideas about being a researcher / teacher (possibilities and limitations).

12-13 Lunch at Restaurant Säde (in Varala’s main building)

13-14 Workshop 2: Scientific publishing / exhibition publishing. Discussions in small groups and sharing with others.

14-15 Coffee on the go and Workshop 3: Developing Visual Studies Lab



Paul Frosh

“The Truths of Images”

The relationship between visual images and concepts of truth has a long and turbulent history. Contention among major monotheistic religions over the divinity or duplicity of images; Western philosophical traditions which are deeply suspicious of images but beholden to visual metaphors; the construction of image-based truth in modern science that, through using optical technologies, potentially reduces trust in natural vision; the unresolved tensions between mechanical objectivity and professional artistry in photojournalism; contemporary political strictures against images as spectacles, fetishes, and ideological distractions which veil (another visual metaphor) underlying power relations: these and other disputes about images and truth stretch across millennia of human history, from antiquity to the present. In short, the ‘image-truth problematic’ is among the most persistent of unresolved questions in Western thought, culture and politics.

How does the ‘image-truth problematic’ fare today, in conditions described as ‘post-truth’, and when advanced technologies of image production, distribution and viewing are ubiquitous, almost globally? What becomes of the truth of images given the radical diversification of contexts where images are produced and used, including in historically new kinds of (digitized) everyday interaction, in documenting novel virtual reference-worlds (for instance, via screenshots and in-game photography), and in cases where non-human agencies such as AI image-generators create images? Clearly, very different orders of truth are implied by these increasingly disparate contexts, producing a fragmented epistemic field where there may be no unifying conditions for making judgements. Attending to how such developments impact the ‘image-truth problematic’, this project interrogates the multiple truths of visual images in the contemporary moment.

Paul Frosh is a Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he holds the Karl and Matilda Newhouse Chair in Communications. His research spans visual culture, photography, the aesthetics of television and digital media, consumer culture, cultural memory, media witnessing, and media and moral concern. His most recent book is The Poetics of Digital Media. Other books include The Image Factory: Consumer Culture, Photography and the Visual Content Industry and Media Witnessing: Testimony in the Age of Mass Communication (co-edited with Amit Pinchevski). He is a co-editor of the International Journal of Cultural Studies. In 2023-4 Paul is a Core Fellow of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki, where he is undertaking a project on the truth status of visual images in a “post-truth” culture.