IVLA award recipient Dr T.J Thomson
IVLA award recipient Dr T.J Thomson

ADM+S researcher awarded international recognition for visual literacy research

Author  Natalie Campbell
Date 9 October 2023

RMIT academic at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society Dr T.J. Thomson has been awarded the International Visual Literacy Association’s Distinguished Researcher Award at their annual conference on 7 October 2023 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The IVLA was formed in 1969, dedicated to providing a forum for the exchange of information related to visual literacy and education and training related to this topic.

The Distinguished Researcher Award is bestowed to scholars “who are actively involved in on-going, outstanding, and established research in visual literacy that furthers the cause of the field, who have achieved a substantial record of scholarly publication, and who have significantly advanced knowledge within the field.”

Dr Thomson’s research is united by its focus on visual communication, with a emphasis on visual aspects of news and journalism and on the concerns and processes relevant to those who make, edit, and present visual news.

However, T.J. is committed to not only studying visual communication phenomena, but also working to increase the visibility, innovation, and quality of how research findings are presented, accessed, and understood – for which efforts are recognised with this award.

Dr Thomson, a senior lecturer in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT and an affiliate researcher at ADM+S, is a life member of IVLA and is actively involved in other scholarly associations and initiatives focused on visual communication and visual literacy.

Dr Thomson has been an associate editor of the journal Visual Communication Quarterly since 2017, as well as an officer in the visual communication sections of the National Communication Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and the International Communication Association.

During the conference, Dr Thomson also presented (alongside Dr Shehab Uddin) a research study titled Contemporary Western Ways of Seeing: Exploring how Smartphone Cameras Shape Visual Culture and Literacy, which the IVLA supported in 2022 through a competitive research grant.


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