Counter-Image International Conference 2022 and Photo Impulse Final Conference: Decolonizing visuality

Teresa Mendes Flores's picture
July 13, 2022 to July 15, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Archival Science, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Communication, Race / Ethnic Studies

Decolonizing visuality: working towards sustainable sociocultural practices



This edition of Counter Image International Conference (CIIC22) proceeds the work of unveiling the ways in which images operate within the power and knowledge structures and systems of truth which tend to constitute hegemonic historical narratives and marginalize or erase those that are conflicting or minoritarian. This originates not only “centres” and “margins” but also tends to silence voices and invisible people, making certain ideias unpronounced. Being a historical process, it demands continuous criticism in line with the many scholars and artists working in Visual Culture, Gender Studies and Cultural Studies traditions in the various disciplines. Establishing counter narratives, counter archives and counter images is then a challenge to hegemonic social, cultural and political systems and a contribution to a much needed dialogue around themes that are difficult and complex, in view of a pluralist, diverse and balanced society.  

In a world still deeply marked by colonial images and worldviews, in which the production and mass distribution of visual technologies has contributed to the naturalization of oppressive systems, making the underlying visual codes almost unnoticed, this edition wishes to debate colonial visual heritage and how it impacts the world today.

This edition of the Counter Image International Conference is an association with Photo Impulse research project, funded by FCT (PTDC/COM-OUT/29608/2017). Photo Impulse investigates the photographic and film productions of the geodesic, geographical and anthropological missions to Portugal’s formerly occupied territories in Africa and Asia. The collections being investigated are curated by the Museum of Natural History and Science of Lisbon University, a partner of the project.

 (more information at the project’s website in (Here) 


The final results of the project will be presented at the conference. The project raises many of the questions we wish to discuss: from the centre of the “Metropolis” to the periphery of the “Colonies”: how did images, in particular photography and film, reinforce these unbalanced places and disseminate within them? How do images  contribute to shaping the past and the present? What can be done to decolonize the archives, museums and centres of knowledge? How is it possible to integrate other forms of knowledge and knowledge production? What is the role of the arts and artistic practices? Which were the visual practices of those who were colonized? How are the contemporary visual practices of postcolonial authors shaping societies? How important are vernacular images to this discussion? What is the role of global media systems such as social media, television and journalism? How can images contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world? The writer Chinua Achebe spoke of a “balance of stories”, we ask how important is a balance of images and what are their affordances in relation to textual accounts?


In short, the scope of the conference includes, but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Colonial visual cultures and strategies for decolonization
  • Colonial and postcolonial photography and film
  • Museums and colonial heritage
  • Social sustainability and image practices
  • Counter-hegemonic narratives 
  • Visual Culture of the “colonial sciences”
  • Colonial cosmoramas, panoramas and other “ramas”
  • Archive dynamics in relation to counter-power and counter-memory
  • Artistic practices as resistance 
  • The use of vernacular images and processes in artistic production
  • Ecocriticism in visual practices



Abstracts are due by March 31st 2022. Portuguese and English languages are accepted. 

We encourage proposals that are ACADEMIC, ARTISTIC or HYBRID in nature.  

Proposals will be for 20 minute time slots and must be sent through our Easy Chair Account, here ). After creating a login, write a proposal with no more than 500 words, with 5 key-words and no more than 5 bibliographic references. Artistic/hybrid presentations should be time-based, including audiovisual or sound-based works, or performance-based actions. These proposals should be accompanied by a short 3-4min. sample and/or an illustrated description,  along with the summary, key-words and bibliographic references (when relevant) previously mentioned.

 In all cases, a separate biographical note should be uploaded. Please make sure your name is not mentioned anywhere in the abstract. Proposals will be selected through a double blind referee system. Sessions will be organized based on thematic kinship, regardless of practices (academic/artistic/hybrid); all works will be considered equally valid scholarly outputs. Successful applicants will be contacted by April 30th, 2022.


Contact Info: 

Teresa Mendes Flores

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Investigadora do Instituto de Comunicação da Nova -ICNOVA

Contact Email: