History of Art and Architecture

Visual Media Workshop

The Visual Media Workshop is a humanities lab focused on the investigation of material and visual culture—whether historical or contemporary—in an environment that encourages technological experimentation. This unique pedagogical workspace facilitates collaborative undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research, and is a forum for exploring real-world challenges in a digital milieu.

The work we do in the VMW is designed to be as self-reflexive as possible, using agile and iterative approaches to our humanities research in order to refine questions and respond productively to new findings and realizations. We also take the time to think about our tools, and to reveal the cultural and historical dimensions of the digital information practices we use on a daily basis. As a constantly-evolving laboratory, the VMW continues to challenge notions of isolated scholarship, and strives to mobilize a community of researchers committed to addressing pervasive conceptual concerns in the humanities.

We currently have three, large, lab-based research projects underway. They are each managed collaboratively, with graduate students from both the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Computing and Information taking the lead.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the VMW, or if you would like to see how you might become involved, please feel free to contact the Director, Alison Langmead, at adlangmead@pitt.edu.

Sustaining MedArt

The Sustaining MedArt project considers the socio-technical history of a scholarly website, “Images of Medieval Art & Architecture” (http://www.medart.pitt.edu), commonly known as “MedArt,” as part of a broader exploration of recordkeeping practices and preservation plans for digital projects. Read more

Decomposing Bodies

Decomposing Bodies is a project of the VMW focused on the creation, curation, and management of a data-rich digital collection of archival objects dealing with representations of human bodies and the history of identity, identification and incarceration in late 19th- early 20th-century America. Read more


Itinera is a project of the VMW that visualizes the travels and social networks of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European intellectuals and artists, as well as the objects they made and encountered. Enabled by the interactivity of the interface, the user may toggle between agents, maps, and chronology, each of which visualizes the relationships each agent has with other agents and places at a given time. Read more