Visual Futures (Book)

Exploring the Past, Present, and Divergent Possibilities of Visual Practice

This edited collection provides an interdisciplinary examination of how we visualize and use visuals to make meaning within our environment. A diverse range of international contributions and perspectives from biology, film, virtual reality, urban graffiti, architecture, critical pedagogy and education. 31 b&w photographs.


In our everyday lives, we navigate across a vast sea of visual imagery. Yet, we rarely consider in any systematic way, how or why we derive meaning from this sea of the visual. Nor do we typically contemplate the impact that it has on our motivations and actions as individuals and collectives. The book proposed here is a collection of thoughtful and incisive examinations of the ways in which we interact and engage with the visual elements of our environments. This edited collection is an outgrowth of an interdisciplinary gathering of academics and practitioners who met in May 2018 at the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto for the inaugural Visual Futures Think Tank. The organizers of the event asked participants to ruminate on two central questions: 1) how are visuality and the visual provoking a new kind of encounter or cultural exchange; and 2) what are the relationships, intersections and collisions between visuality and/or visual practices and one (or a combination) of the following: embodiment, spatial literacy, emerging languages, historical reflection educative practices, civic development and social development? The resulting collection brings into conversation perspectives from biology, film, drawing, urban graffiti, architecture, visual literacy, critical pedagogy and education, in order to innovatively challenge current perspectives, norms and practices.

Tracey Bowen has a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. Her research is situated at the intersection of contemporary hieroglyphics, social justice and visual communications. She teaches in the areas of visual rhetoric as well as experiential education and her research has been published in Visual Communications, Studies in Art Education, Metaphor and Symbol, Studies in Higher Education and Higher Education Research and Development.

Brett Caraway obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin before coming to the University of Toronto where he teaches and researches economics, Marxian theory and sustainability. His research has been published in Environmental Communication, Communication Theory, Information, Communication & Society, Media, Culture & Society and the International Journal of Communication.

Chapter 1 - See and see again: mapping the fractures in visual culture

Brett Caraway and Penny Kinnear


Chapter 2 - In between Whiteness:  Pierre Bourdieu and Rudolph Valentino, an unlikely pairing

Elizabeth Peden


Chapter 3 - Ink to inkling: Artful messages in the visuals of biology

Charudatta Navare


Chapter 4 - Visualizing gentrification: Resistance and reclamation through the writing on the walls

Tracey Bowen


Chapter 5 - Intentional viewing: Decoding, learning, and creating culturally relevant architecture

Matthew Dudzik & Marilyn Corsen Whitney


Chapter 6 - Visualizing art-science entanglements for more habitable futures

Kylie Caraway


Chapter 7 - Seeing, sensing and surrendering the inside: Expressions of the adolescent self in a ‘structured illustrative disclosure’

Edie Lanphar and Phil Fitzsimmons


Chapter 8 - Picturing the state of visual literacy initiatives today

Dana Statton Thompson


Chapter 9 - Afterforward: To visualize the future is political work

Danielle Taschereau Mamers

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