Photo Challenge: Make an ugly and beautiful photograph while you are inside of your lockdown home

During COVID-19 times, many of us are ‘stuck’ inside of our homes, confronted with the same visuals each day.

Perhaps this is an ideal time for a creative challenge that can help us get more insight in photography and aesthetics.

Anyone who is 18 years or older can participate. These are the instructions:

Send me an ‘ugly’ and a ‘beautiful’ photograph.

The only requirement is that you take them while you are inside of your lockdown home.

You are free to make whatever type of photograph with whatever camera or phone and are allowed to edit/post-process your photographs too.

 After you send me your photographs, you will be asked to answer a short 5 minute questionnaire with a few follow-up questions.

        •  Send your ugly and beautiful photograph to
        • with the subject line ‘Lockdown photo challenge for research’
        • and label the photograph as follows: ‘ugly_yourfirstname_yourlastname’ and ‘beautiful_yourfirstname_yourlastname’

 At the end of the lockdown, I will compile and publish the photographs anonymously (or with credit if preferred) in a digital publication, along with the research findings we can draw from them.

Questions can be asked at

PS: You need to be 18 years or older to take part

 We are looking forward to receiving your submissions.

The more people we can reach, the more interesting the insights will be, so please spread this call in your networks too (in attachment you can find an image that you can post on social media, but please include the instructions from this email too; or you can just forward this email to your network).

Kind regards and thanks for your participation!

Nathalie Vissers, PhD student

Johan Wagemans, Professor

VSAC 2019: Visual Science of Art Conference 2019

VSAC 2019: Visual Science of Art Conference 2019
Leuven, Belgium, August 21-24, 2019

Dear colleagues,
It is my pleasure to announce the details regarding this year’s edition of VSAC, incl. the preliminary program and the call for submissions.

Call for submissions

The 7th edition of the Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC) is an interdisciplinary conference intended to bring together vision scientists and visual artists to discuss joint interests in how vision works and how it affects the visual pleasures we get from art and images. VSAC started as a satellite meeting to the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP), but over the years it has gained its own flavor and dynamics. Special effort will be made to also attract academics from disciplines other than vision science (e.g. art history, visual studies, cultural studies, philosophy of art, computer graphics, biology, physics, …) as well as established and young artists and art students. We have added a large number of special events to facilitate cross-talks between artists and scientists (e.g., meet & greet, tutorials, integrated symposia, workshops, arts-science dialogues, and an extensive exhibition program.

For more information on VSAC 2019, visit .

Submission Guidelines

Everyone who wishes to present at VSAC will first need to be registered. Information about registration can be found on the conference website.
The word limit for all abstracts is 250 words. Supplementary material can be uploaded as a PDF (possibly including links to websites, movies, …).
Participants can be the first author of only one abstract of the same submission type.

All accepted abstracts will be published as conference proceedings in the journal Art & Perception (ISSN: 2213-4905). A special issue with a selection of full papers derived from the conference will also be considered.

The following submission types are possible:

Scientific contributions, describing progress in an empirical study on a scientific topic at the intersection between visual science and art. A solid review of a relevant body of scientific literature or a report of substantial progress in a theoretical line of work is also possible.

Artistic contributions, usually in the form of an original piece of visual art such as a painting, lithograph, etching, graphic design, photograph, film, sculpture, digital artwork, cross-media artwork, installation …

Art-Science dialogues, taking the form of a joint submission between a scientist and an artist, ideally presenting work resulting from a close collaboration.

Important dates

The conference will be held in Leuven (Belgium) on August 22-24, 2019.
The deadline for abstract submissions is May 15, 2019, 23:59 CET (i.e., UTC + 1h).
A notification of decision will be provided to first authors by June 15, 2019.


VSAC 2019 topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Visual art
  • Visual perception of art
  • Empirical aesthetics (psycho-aesthetics, neuro-aesthetics)
  • Art history relevant to visual science of art
  • Visual studies relevant to visual science of art
  • Philosophy of art relevant to visual science of art
  • Computer graphics relevant to visual science of art

Submission types

There are 4 types of submissions.

1. TALK preferred

Standard talks are limited to 15 min (12 min talk + 3 min Q&A). Because we can probably not accommodate all requested talks, authors submitting in this category are assumed to be willing to present a poster in case their abstract is not accepted for a talk. Selection is by the Scientific Committee, based on abstract reviews by an official Abstract Review Committee (consisting of a mixture of our own staff, faculty and postdocs, as well as regular reviewers of previous VSAC editions). Selections will be based on the scientific quality of submissions (original research, conducted according to the best methodological standards, interesting findings and discussion) as well as thematic coherence of the session. In addition, we aim to balance age, gender and geographic distribution.

2. POSTER only

Posters are valued as highly as short talks because they are better suited for in-depth discussion and receiving feedback on ongoing research. They will receive sufficient time and space in the program to get the attention they deserve. Poster sessions will be preceded by 1 min blitz presentations in the main lecture hall. Selection is by the Scientific Committee, based on abstract reviews by an official Abstract Review Committee (consisting of a mixture of our own staff, faculty and postdocs, as well as regular reviewers of previous VSAC editions). Selection criteria will be sufficient scientific quality and fit with the aims and scope of the conference. If the budget allows for it, we will provide Best Poster Awards for presenting PhD students (e.g., 1 per session). Award criteria will be scientific quality (original research, conducted according to the best methodological standards, interesting findings and discussion) as well as poster layout (visual efficiency and elegance). Selection will be done by an ad hoc Poster Award Committee consisting of a subset of the Abstract Review Committee.

3. ART contribution

We invite a number of established artists to present their work at VSAC. We have selected several great venues, ideally suited for presentation of artwork, all within walking distance from the city center and from STUK (, the main venue for the scientific program. We will include a short description of the invited artists and art works on the VSAC website as soon as possible. In addition, we invite art contributions through a call for submissions, which is open to established as well as emerging artists. All submissions consist of a short description of the nature of the work and why this would be interesting to VSAC attendees. If artists have specific topics or questions they want to discuss with other artists and scientists during the meeting, they can add these here as well.

In addition, artists can upload a PDF with supplemental material of their art work (e.g., portfolio, website, images or video material).

Finally, artists can specify the desired presentation circumstances in terms of required space, lighting, …

Artworks will be selected based on their quality and fit with the overall aims and scope of the conference, as well as the fit with the other art works presented jointly. The team responsible for the selection consists of two artist-scientists (Stefanie De Winter and Wendy Morris), and Christina Seyfried (Cultural Office KU Leuven), all of whom have considerable experience with art-science cross-over projects and exhibitions. This team can rely on advice from Wim Lambrecht (a highly experienced curator from LUCA School of Arts, Brussels), Geert Bouckaert (President of the Commission of Contemporary Arts, KU Leuven), Stéphane Symons (member of the Commission of Contemporary Arts, KU Leuven, with experience as a curator) and Johan Wagemans (regular VSAC attendee with a lot of experience with art-science projects and exhibitions).

4. ART-SCIENCE dialogue

We will do all we can to foster a continuous dialogue between artists and scientists during the complete program. In addition, we open up the possibility to submit specifically as a pair of an artist and a scientist. The scientist can submit a regular science contribution (talk or poster, options 1 or 2 above) and the artist can submit a regular art contribution (option 3 above). They can refer to each other’s contribution to clarify the connection and we, as organizers, can then ensure that the connection is facilitated by scheduling and organizing the sessions appropriately. Moreover, a specific art-science dialogue session could be organized, if we receive enough high-quality proposals of this type. Here we would require an abstract (submitted as option 1) highlighting the collaborative work, adding supplemental material about the artwork as needed.


For more information on VSAC 2019, visit .
All questions about submissions can be emailed to .

On behalf of the scientific and organizing committee,

Johan Wagemans

University of Leuven (KU Leuven)
Department of Brain & Cognition
Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
Tiensestraat 102, box 3711
B-3000 Leuven

Mark your calendar: VSAC 2019 Leuven August 21-24, ECVP 2019 Leuven August 25-29

The Unification of the Arts: Neurocognitive Perspectives on What the Arts Share and Why

Steven Brown has organized a one-day conference will explore the underlying similarities and differences among the arts, both at the cognitive and neural levels. Such factors permit syntheses of the arts, such as dancing to music, singing words, streaming background music in a movie, or blending sounds and visual elements in multimedia forms. By understanding how artforms are able to combine, we can aspire towards a unification of the arts.

Conference date: Friday, May 11, 2018

Time: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Place: Council Chambers, Gilmour Hall; McMaster University; Hamilton, Ontario


  • Ellen Dissanayake (University of Washington): origins of the arts
  • Raymond Mar (York University): literature/theatre
  • Oshin Vartanian (University of Toronto): the visual arts/architecture
  • Krista Hyde (University of Montreal): music
  • Steven Brown (McMaster University): dance
  • Anjan Chatterjee (University of Pennsylvania): aesthetics
  • Aaron Kozbelt (Brooklyn College, City University of New York): creativity

Organizer: Steven Brown (McMaster University)

Poster session: People are encouraged to present research findings related to cognitive and/or neural aspects of any branch of the arts at a poster session taking place during the lunch break. Abstracts should be submitted by April 20 to Matthew Berry at

Registration cost: $80 ($50 for enrolled students). This includes lunch.

To register for the conference or for more information, please visit: