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You are invited to the next IM Public Lecture. See below and attached poster for details.
Joan M. Schwartz
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020
Room 3089, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building
6100 University Ave
Abstract: Institutions, under pressure from administrators, from funding sources, and from the user-public, make photographs available online as searchable single items. In the process, meaningful information about the physical and intellectual contexts of creation, circulation, and viewing is sacrificed at the altar of speed, quantity, convenience, and the almighty dollar. In this lecture, I am concerned with troubling changes, subtle and otherwise, brought about by “[presti]digit[iz]ation” -- scanning for ease of access, whereby materiality, context, and meaning are lost. Drawing on professional experience as a photo-archivist and scholarly interests as a photographic historian, I critique examples of digitization and description initiatives, with a view to highlighting those instances for which institutions can justly be accused of "iCrimes and Misdemeanours" and encouraging best practices grounded in a deeper understanding of the nature and power of photographs as a form of visual communication, and in a broader appreciation of the critical differences between search and research, content and meaning underpinning access to and use of online images.
Bio: A former specialist in photography acquisition and research at the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa (1977-2003), Joan M. Schwartz is Professor, Art History and Art Conservation (cross-appointed to Geography) at Queen’s University, Kingston. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the Society of American Archivists, she is co-editor of Picturing Place (with James R. Ryan) and of Archives, Records, and Power (with the late Terry Cook), and has published widely on photography and the geographical imagination, and on archives as spaces of power. Her current SSHRCC-funded research, entitled “Picturing ‘Canada’: Photographic Images and Geographical Imaginings in British North America, 1839-1889”, focuses on the role of photography in the making of early modern Canada. She will be delivering the McKay Lecture in the Department of History on March 5, 2020 based on her research into the life and legacy of pioneer British Columbia photographer, Frederick Dally.
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