The George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture is based in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen in Northeast Scotland. The GWW brings together researchers from across the University with an interest in visual culture broadly defined, including film, photography, art history, anthropology, music and sonification and museum studies. Its members share a common concern in investigating visual culture: what it is; how it functions across different times, places and contexts; how we encounter or understand it.
GWW’s main output is the VIEW series of events, a range of activities that take place throughout the year which promote research and discussion about all things visual culture, including public talks and seminars, interviews and round table discussions, exhibitions, performances and workshops for all ages, including young people. We also work with local and regional partners, including the Anatomy Rooms, Deveron Projects in Huntly, as well as local artists.
Our mission is to showcase the visual and performing arts happening both locally and globally, placing the artistic and creative output of the Northeast of Scotland within the context of global developments in art. We aim to provide a platform for local artists to show their work and discuss it with audiences, as well as bringing artists, researchers and practitioners in the arts from elsewhere to Aberdeen, to participate in the creative discourse of our community.
The Centre aims also aims to promotes engagement with the University’s important photographic collections, most notably that of George Washington Wilson himself, from whom the Centre takes its name. Former GWW Director Ed Welch discussed the work of the Centre and the Washington Wilson archive in a recent interview with our friends at Art in Scotland TV:
At the University, GWW acts as a hub for a thriving community of researcher staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students involved in visual culture. Our students are keen contributors to our blog, and play an active role in the GWW’s activities.
Co-Director, Dr. Silvia Casini, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture. Silvia Casini lectures in visual culture and film. She studies the aesthetic, epistemological and societal implications of scientific visualization. Her work has been published in journals such as Configurations, Leonardo, Contemporary Aesthetics Nuncius, The Senses and Society. Her first monograph Il Ritratto Scansione (in Italian) was published by Mimesis in 2016. Thanks to a Leverhulme Research Fellowship she has completed the book Giving Bodies back to Data (MIT Press Spring 2021).
Co-Director, Dr. Katya Krylova, Lecturer in German, Film and Visual Culture. Katya Krylova is the author of two monographs: Walking Through History: Topography and Identity in the Works of Ingeborg Bachmann and Thomas Bernhard (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013), and The Long Shadow of the Past: Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film, and Culture (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2017).
Co-Director, Dr. Áine Larkin, Senior Lecturer in French. Dr. Larkin is the author of Proust Writing Photography: Fixing the Fugitive in ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’ (Oxford: Legenda, 2011). Her research interests include text/image relations, Proust studies, literature and medicine, and the literary representation of music and dance.
Associate Director, Dr Suk-Jun Kim is Senior Lecturer in Sonic Arts and the founder of the sonADA annual sonic arts festival in Aberdeen. He is also a founding member of SERG. He is the author of Humming: the Study of Sound (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Coordinator of the MMus in Sonic Arts at the University of Aberdeen.
Professor Edward Welch, Carnegie Professor of French. Professor Welch’s research focuses on the cultural history of post-war France, as it lives through the twin dramas of modernisation and decolonisation. His work also engages the nature of the photographic image and its role as part of a visual economy of meaning. Prof. Welch is the founder of the GWW Centre and was its first Director, from 2014-2016.
Professor Alan Marcus, Professor and Personal Chair in Film and Visual Culture. His research interests include representations of the city in film and visual culture; history and methodologies of documentary film; practice-as-research in documentary film; and representations of the Holocaust and sites associated with Jewish identity. He is the author of 15 practice-as-research films since 2006 and founder of the Director’s Cut series at the University of Aberdeen.
Mr. Alan Macpherson, PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow. Based between the English department and Film and Visual Culture, Mr. Macpherson’s research is in space, place and intermediality in contemporary ecopoetics. He is currently working on the Scottish poet and essayist Kathleen Jamie, and the interrelations between text and image in her recent essays, poetry and collaborative work.
Professor Pete Stollery is Professor of Electroacoustic Music and Composition and one of the founders of the SOUND Festival, a “new music incubator based in north-east Scotland encouraging new music creation and discovery.” He is also one of the founding members of SERG, a sound art and electroacoustic music research group in Aberdeen.
Mr. Neil Curtis, Head of Museums. Mr. Curtis’ research focuses on a critical study of museums and archaeology. This has included young children’s learning in museums, considerations of the social and cultural roles of museums today, including repatriation and the treatment of human remains, and studies of Scottish museum history.
Dr. Chris Heppell, PhD 2016. Dr. Heppell’s work considers contemporary film and photography in relation to ecologically informed aesthetic theory. Chris also works as a photographer and has held three exhibitions of his work, most recently at the 2013 Haddo arts festival. His work has been published in Frieze magazine and by zer0 books.
Dr. Clémence O’Connor, Lecturer in French. Dr. O’Connor is interested in visual-verbal dynamics in contemporary French poetry, in particular the attraction of many bilingual or bicultural poets to the idiom of visuality as a regenerating resource for language. She has published on new ekphrastic forms and is currently working on colour.
Dr. Alejandra Rodríguez-Remedi, independent scholar and teaching assistant at the University of Aberdeen. Dr. Rodríguez-Remedi specialises in Latin American cultural studies. Her research currently focuses on the works of Chilean filmmaker and theorist Raúl Ruiz.
Affiliated Postgraduate Students
Eimear Kinsella is a PhD candidate in Film and Visual Culture, an artist and bio-imagineer.
Jasmina Založnik, PhD Candidate. Ms. Zaloznik’s field of research interests include recent histories of performing art; contemporary dance; choreography; and Continental Philosophy. Her doctoral research considers historical notions of movement in relation to underground culture in Slovenia, Serbia and Bulgaria from the 1970s on.
Denisa Tomkova was a PhD Candidate in the Film and Visual Culture department, researching Participatory and Socially Engaged Art in Eastern Europe since 1989. Her research interests include topics like contemporary art, participation, community, biopolitics, national identity, and post-communism.
Barbara Barreiro León is a PhD Candidate in History of Art. Her lines of research correspond to the philosophy of art and contemporary aesthetics. Moreover, her doctoral thesis is focused on the aesthetic and theoretical relationship between Surrealism and American postmodernism. She is currently working on the creation of postmodern cities and their link with Visual Culture and the philosophy of perception.
Alison Metoud is a PhD student in Film and English. Her research project arises from a competition call to interpret the theme of ‘Wild Places’ primarily in the context of the North East of Scotland. This research will be based on a consideration of how natural and synthetic systems such as the Scottish North East offshore oil industry, technology, nature, the oceans, humans and nonhumans interconnect in the language of the screenplay.
Deveron Projects, Huntly
SERG – Sound Art and Electroacoustic Music Research Group in Aberdeen
Crow House Projects, Aberdeen
Tern TV, Aberdeen