Eye on Visual Literacy

January 31, 2007

Many students are well educated in reading and writing but are not visually "literate," says Hans van Miegroet, chair of the department of art, art history, and visual studies. To help address the problem, Duke has received a $2.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a Visual Studies Initiative, a broad-based effort to improve how visual images are understood, and to foster research and teaching in this area.

Visual studies was identified as an institutional priority in Duke's recently approved strategic plan, and ties into the university's renewed focus on the arts and humanities. The home of the initiative will be the redeveloped Central Campus, which already houses the Nasher Museum of Art and is envisioned in the strategic plan as a hub for the arts at Duke.

Among other things, the grant will be used to hire five new faculty members, create new courses in visual studies, establish graduate fellowship endowments, and bring scholars to campus for public lectures and events.