Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria
26th Annual Graduate Student Conference


January 20 4PM-7PM
January 21 9:30AM-4:30PM


Visual Impetus 2023 can be attened over Zoom

Please Click to Register.



The Art History and Visual Studies Graduate Association (AHVSGA) is pleased to welcome you to the 26th annual graduate student conference, Visual Impetus (VI). This signature event is a multi-day conference at the University of Victoria that aims to promote inclusiveness among a range of departments across the university and beyond.

VI provides a unique opportunity for the unification of graduate candidates at both the MA and PhD level to present their research. This year we are pleased to present Visual Impetus’ 2023 theme: Patterns of Resistance: Art as Revelation.

Art has the power to reveal radical new ways of understanding the human condition. Whether it be through entirely original insights or the reinvestigation of culturally held truths, creative representation is a tool that change-makers and thinkers harness to challenge hierarchies of power. However, artists are still subject to the same hegemonic structures they seek to oppose. Often, they too are challenged to create new meaning within the epistemological and cultural systems that precede them.

We suggest that art exposes patterns of resistance and allows viewers and scholars alike to visualize the systemic inequalities and inequities that permeate our lives. However, artists can also represent the values of the state or of powerful elites drawing attention to the complexities of these relationships. Art can picture imagined illusory worlds or dystopian visions, bringing into relief the realities of everyday life. In this way, creative works across media go beyond envisioning a change by making the need for change visible.

This year, we ask our colleagues, graduate students, and early career researchers to reflect on these ideas. How do artists picture resistance within the systems that may privilege, disadvantage, or define them? How can artists make innovative use of the tools, materials, and languages they inherit for new purposes? How do artists picture their revelations? And what can their work reveal about the human condition?

On behalf of the VI Planning Committee, we would like to thank the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Office of the Dean of Fine Arts, the Graduate Students’ Society, and the Department of Art History and Visual Studies for their continued support. We would also like to recognize all those who contributed to Visual Impetus including: Our wonderful speakers, the VI Committee, volunteers, and our community partners. Lastly, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all of the participants and attendees—for the last 26 years, you have made this conference possible!

– Visual Impetus 2023 Planning Committee