The Visual Culture program is organized by the cooperative effort of the NCTU Film Studies Center, the NCU Visual Culture Research Center, and the NYMU Visual Culture research team. As a vital part of cultural studies, this comprehensive research field interprets various visual culture texts, such as art, photography, film, television, advertisements, fashion, digital images, image narratives and so on, from the perspective of culture and society. Combining the research methodologies and practices of art history and film studies, visual studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to encompass related fields such as critical theory, gender/sexuality studies, globalism, post-colonialism, new media studies, history, and so on. From a cultural and global perspective, the program puts Taiwan, Northeast Asia, and Asia on the international map and explores the aesthetics, historical meaning, and social practice of visual culture.
The National Chiao Tung University Film Studies Center was established in 2003. The center frequently promotes film screening events and research, and hosts discussions with scholars and film makers to exchange ideas. Furthermore, the Film Studies Center aims to bolster the status of Taiwan films in international academia and increase the possibilities for Taiwan to communicate with the world via images.
The National Central University Visual Culture Research Center was established in 2008. Besides hosting the annual International Conference on Visual Culture and publishing academic books, Journal of Art Studies published by the Graduate Institute of Art Studies, which is formed by many of the center’s faculty members, has been included into the Taiwan Humanities Citation Index Core journals by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The NCU Film Studies Center manages the 107 movie theatre, hosts annual College Film Festivals with other universities, and has received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the 2012 Taipei Film Festival. In addition, the Research Center for Theater & Performance Studies has established the Performance Center in the NCU campus, which puts on professional stage performances in the Black Box Theatre.
National Yang-Ming University began to assemble a visual culture research team in 2010 and they officially established Taiwan’s first Graduate Institute for Studies in Visual Cultures in August of 2013. The research team has hosted many international conferences, workshops, camps, and invited international visiting scholars. They frequently host visual culture forums to promote international, domestic, and inter-university academic exchange, and they edit and publish books with the collaboration of other universities.
The visual studies program is currently led by NCTU. They are responsible for planning the visual culture courses in the International Program in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (University System of Taiwan) and for combining the teaching resources and faculty members of the four universities to organize and promote international, domestic, and inter-university academic events.
The five-year plan designed by the research team：
- To explore the identity issues within art history and film studies:
- With art history and film studies as our focus, we hope to examine identity issues in contemporary visual culture, including race, gender, class, sexual orientation, diaspora and so on.
- To use a global perspective to view the cultural exchange
- between Europe and American visual cultures and Taiwan/Sinophone visual cultures: With a perspective based in Taiwan but linking together Northeast Asia and examining Europe and America, we hope to bring Taiwanese/Sinophone visual culture to the international stage largely dominated by Europe and American visual cultures and to educate students to research and analyze visual art with a global perspective.