The Visual and Critical Representation in an Age of Impact

Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

Friday 6th March 2020, 9.30am-5.15pm

The event has been funded by the Sociological Review Foundation and the Faculty of Education (University of Cambridge) and organised by The Politics of Representation Collective.

This seminar engages with the politics of representation in an increasingly accelerated, regulated, metrics-driven, and marketised academic environment (Black et al 2015; Vostal, 2016) directed by the demands of REF. One outcome of REF and its requirement to demonstrate research impact is a growing reliance on social media metrics to achieve this goal (Jordan & Carrigan, 2018). 

To what extent does this emerging trend for social media presence consume our attention to the point of neglecting how those whom we research are represented, or misrepresented? As researchers, are we in danger of losing sight of our reflexive responsibilities as ‘knowledge’ producers (Burawoy, 2004) and as ourselves (and our research) as meaning makers in the world?

This seminar seeks to build on our conference on ‘Ethical Debates on Representation in Research’ and special collection for The Sociological Review Blog ‘The Politics of Representation’ in which contributors expressed concerns both about representation in research processes and during dissemination. The seminar will consider the drawbacks and possibilities of visual research dissemination through social media pathways using the lens of representation in a distracted-spectatorship culture (Nichols, 2017). The goal is to strengthen participants’ awareness of themselves (and their work) as public-facing social actors, and their ethical responsibility towards those with whom they work and research. To inform conversations during the day, we will draw on learning from other sectors with extensive experience in visual communication such as journalism and the NGO sector and translate these into conversations on research dissemination and public engagement. Workshops on visual and alternative dissemination practices will demonstrate the revolutionary potential of ethical visual representation.


  • Opening Talk: ‘Framing the Conversation: Understanding the Challenges of Representation in Research Dissemination within the Neoliberal University
    • Mark Carrigan
  • Panel: ‘Learning from other sectors: Competing Aims and Goals in Representation’
    • Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin III
    • Consuelo Dieguez
    • Kalifa Damani
  • Workshop: ‘Resisting Managerialism: Collaborative Dissemination
    • Soofiya
  • Workshop: ‘The Visual in Research’
    • Savannah Dodd, the Photography Ethics Centre
  • Talk and Discussion: ‘Reframing Research for the ‘Public’
    • Chantelle Lewis and Tissot Regis, Surviving Society Podcast

You can find further details on The Politics of Representation Collective’s website.


This conference is free, and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Places are limited, so registration is essential. Registration will open on January 27th 2020.

Delegates are responsible for their own travel, accommodation and dinner expenses unless they are bursary awardees. Details on how to apply for a bursary are below.


As with all of our events, we are making a number of bursaries available on a competitive basis to facilitate the attendance of those who might otherwise struggle to meet the costs of attending. 
Bursaries are available for unfunded postgraduate research students and early career research in precarious positions as well as others on the grounds of need. Bursary support available to apply for include; travel funds (limited to £70.00) and support with childcare (£50.00).

Please note, bursary awardees will be expected to attend the whole day of the event.

Application for bursaries are available via this form. Deadline for bursary application is 7th February 2020. Decisions will be communicated by the 10th February 2020.  

Venue Information and Directions

This event will take place at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. The Faculty is a 10-15-minute walk from Cambridge station. Detailed directions can be found here.

For more information about travelling to Cambridge, please see here.


The room will be fully accessible. Information about access at the Faculty of Education can be found here.

For any questions of the event accessibility, please contact the Politics of Representation Collective


If you require a visa to enter the UK for this event, it is your responsibility to check visa requirements and organise one within sufficient time to attend the event. If you require a letter of proof of event registration and/or bursary awarded, please allow a minimum of two weeks’ notice for us to produce this. For more information on UK visas, please see here

Contact Details

All enquiries related to the event should be directed to The Politics of Representation Collective (

Event Code of Conduct

We expect all attendees to adhere to our Code of Conduct.

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