8th Budapest Visual Learning Conference, Apr. 26-28, 2018
preliminary informal announcement
With the deadline for submissions still quite some months away, this is not yet a call for
abstracts, but rather a call for some preliminary informal exchanges between the
conference organizers and those considering sending in submissions. Prospective
participants should have a chance to seek added information about scholarly aims and
organizational details, and clearly the organizers would like to get an early picture as to
the interests of participants, and of course their rough number. At this stage, please just
write to Prof. Dr. Andras Benedek <email@example.com> and/or Kristof Nyiri
<firstname.lastname@example.org>. Our ambition is to organize a really momentous conference, with
talks that make a difference, adding up to a recognizable scholarly step forward.
Subsequent to the conference we plan to publish a high-quality collection of selected and
edited papers -- an elegant volume. All perspectives, including historical, philosophical,
sociological, etc. are welcome. The conference language -- the language of all
submissions, talks, and ensuing publications -- is English.
In the present announcement, in what follows, you find:
1) The conference title, and the titles of the planned conference sections.
2) A first attempt to formulate the questions we hope the conference will provide
3) A preliminary list of invited speakers.
4) The deadline for, and format of, abstracts and bios to be submitted.
5) Information as to the conference site & costs (*no conference fees*).
But first, let us here list the members of the Honorary Advisory Board of our 2018
conference: Wolfgang Coy (Berlin), Valeria Csépe (Hungarian Academy of Sciences),
Claire Golomb (Boston), György Hunyady (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), John Jost
(New York), András Kertész (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), András Patkós
(Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Csaba Pléh (Hungarian Academy of Sciences / CEU),
Barry Smith (Buffalo, NY), Michael Tomasello (Leipzig). Colleagues of great renown,
whose work very much orients the scholarly expectations inspiring this conference.
And now let us come to points 1 to 5.
1) The conference title is:
Visual Learning: COMMUNICATION -- CULTURE -- CONSCIOUSNESS
We plan to have the following conference sections:
Multimedia Content Development
Educational Theory and Practice in the Visual Age
Scientific Visualization / Imaging
The Visual Mind
New Vistas in Cognitive Metaphor Theory
Reform and Continuity
2) The questions we expect to be answered, or the issues that at least should be addressed
head-on, in the framework of the conference sections listed above (but please note that
you are free to negotiate with the organizers about alternative topics, too), are:
---- Multimedia Content Development: Do educationalists by now have a clear idea of
what genuine multimedia synthesis means? Do we have a grasp of true *multimedia
logic* as contrasted merely to a motley of elements belonging to different media
occurring in a common learning environment?
---- Educational Theory and Practice in the Visual Age: How far have we progressed
from the notion of “visual aids” to the idea of text--image integration? How can we
characterize the historical road from Comenius through a perhaps total dominance of text
over picture through the rise of the image to contemporary educational theory? Does
educational theory today possess the conceptual tools to understand the demands and
vistas of visual thinking?
---- Scientific Visualization: Is it merely an instrument of popularizing science, or does it
belong to the essential process of scientific discovery, or even to the essence of making
epistemological and/or ontological sense of scientific theories? What does visual thinking
amount to in mathematics, and what is the significance of visuality in the development of
children’s mathematical thinking? / Imaging: How far do the various imaging
technologies provide objective information or even truth, in what sense are the patterns
they create actually images?
---- Visual Culture: Are we here experiencing a radically new age in communication and
cognition, or are we, rather, witness to a return, at a higher level, to a primordial stage in
human development? Is the rise of contemporary visual culture a liberation from the
verbal straitjacket of former centuries -- or, on the contrary, a spiritual decline? What are
the implications for our school system?
---- The Visual Mind: Do we possess mental images in any epistemologically significant
sense? How do thinking in words and thinking in images interact? Can there be an
autonomous visual argumentation?
---- Sign Languages: How much is iconic and how much conventional in different sign
languages? Does an appropriate study of the workings of sign languages add to our
understanding of the visual mind, and/or to our understanding of the origins of verbal
---- Visual Semiotics: What are the specific additional gains the semiotic approach brings
to visual studies? What is Peirce’s message for the 21st century? Does de Saussure still
have such a message? Has there emerged a basic paradigm connecting social semiotics to
the sudy of visual communication?
---- New Vistas in Cognitive Metaphor Theory: How well embedded in cognitive or
conceptual metaphor theory has the idea become that sometimes, or often, it is visual
mental images that form the background of metaphor? Are there visual metaphors, and
what is their relation to verbal ones?
---- Art Education: Has it become genuinely affected by the rise of a new visual culture?
How is child art affected? How adult education? What difference does the digital
environment make, how are motor skills affected, how the grasp on reality?What is the
role of art education in reducing social inequality in schools?
---- Film Theory: Since the pioneering works of say Münsterberg, Balázs, and Arnheim,
film theory has branched out in innumerable directions, has reacted to radical
technological changes, and is by now said by many to be more or less inscrutable. Can
we, still, grasp some definite contemporary theoretical patterns, define some leading
paradigms? And can we, in an all-encompassing online video environment, still articulate
some meaningful strategies of bringing together film and education?
---- Visual Rhetoric: After centuries of dominance of the printed word, and with the
linguistic turn a thing of the past, the study of rhetoric is now once again a wellestablished
branch of learning. Visual rhetoric is the answer to the demands of a visual
culture. In what direction(s) however will rhetoric move in the age of online multimodal
networked social media?
---- Reform and Continuity: Amidst the breathtaking technological changes we
experience, what are the inevitable turns educational theory and practice must take, and
where are the points continuity rather than reform should prevail? Is there a scope for
conservative pedagogy today? How far can the distinction between conveying factual
knowledge and teaching competences be upheld? Do we have an idea of what the
essentials of a successful school system actually are?
3) Invited speakers (preliminary list):
Petra Aczél (Budapest)
László Beke (Budapest)
Charles Forceville (Amsterdam)
Cynthia Freeland (Houston) -- opening plenary talk
James Katz (Boston)
Zoltán Kövecses (Budapest)
Amirouche Moktefi (Tallinn)
Philipp Stoellger (Heidelberg)
4) The envisaged deadline for, and format of, abstracts and bios to be submitted:
The planned final submission deadline is Aug. 15, 2017, but we will strongly encourage
early submissions, and already at the present stage welcome, as explained above,
preliminary informal inquiries. We expect a short bio (max. 100 words) stating affiliation
and interests, and an abstract (max. 200 words). Please do not add to the abstract a
separate list of references. In your submission, indicate the conference section you intend
your talk for (while, as indicated above, we are happy to negotiate with prospective
participants who wish to go beyond the present sections/topics suggestions). Acceptance
notification by Sept. 10, 2017. To each conference section a chairperson, an assistant
chairperson, and a technical assistant will be assigned well before April 2018, that is each
speaker will receive individual assistance and attention both before and during the event.
The envisaged time slot for each talk (presentation + discussion) is 30 minutes.
5) Information as to the conference site & costs:
The conference will take place at the main building of the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences, Budapest. The event is planned to begin at midday on April 26, Thursday,
2018, and to end on April 28, Saturday, in the evening. Refreshments and sandwiches
will be offered during coffee and lunch breaks. There will be a modest charge for those
wishing to join the special conference dinner. Beyond that, no conference fee is
envisaged, attendance is free for all, but prior registration is required.