Current committee, as of May 2022

Chair: Mary A. Bock (2021-23)

Mary A. Bock


Mary Angela Bock is a former journalist turned academic with an interest in the sociology of photographic practice, the rhetorical relationship between words and images, and digital media. Her previous career was spent primarily in local television news, first as a TV reporter for KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa; then as an assignment editor and field producer in Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV. She has also worked short stints as a newspaper reporter, a radio journalist, and public relations writer.

Vice-Chair: Saumava Mitra (2021-23)


Saumava Mitra is an Assistant Professor at the School of Communications of Dublin City University. Mitra researches on various issues of media’s – particularly visual media’s – relationship with violent and social conflicts. He is interested in both the questions of how socio-economic and political inequities are inscribed into the photographic images of conflicts as well as the effects of these inequities on the lives and livelihoods of those who produce these images. His current research project involves exploring the gendered and geopolitical inequities inherent in photographs of – and acts surrounding photographing – places and peoples embroiled in various violent and social conflicts, based on the perspectives and practices of photojournalists and documentary photographers with ties to the Global South. Mitra’s previous research has focused on issues surrounding safety of journalists and news-workers, and the local-international interactions inherent in foreign news production in conflict-affected contexts. Mitra received his PhD at University of Western Ontario in Canada. His doctoral thesis focused on the working conditions of, and images of Afghanistan produced by, Afghan photojournalists who cater to international audiences. Prior to joining DCU, he worked in journalism, communications and in academia in South Asia, East Africa, North and Central Americas and Western Europe.

Secretary: T.J. Thomson (2022-24)


Dr T.J. Thomson MAIATSIS AFHEA (Indigenous) MQA SFHEA is a senior lecturer in visual communication and media and a chief investigator at the QUT Digital Media Research Centre. He is the author of To See and Be Seen: The Environments, Interactions, and Identities Behind News Images (winner of the NCA 2020 Diane S. Hope Book of the Year Award) and is the 2019 Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year (jointly bestowed by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and the Australia and New Zealand Communication Association).  T.J.’s research focuses on how visual journalism is produced—by whom, in what environments, through which processes, and with what results. He also examines visual self-representation on social media and everyday image-making. His approach is based on a combination of ethnography (both physical and virtual), interviews, textual analysis, and digital media methods. 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.

International Liaison: Anat Leshnick (2022-24)

Email: Anat.Leshnick@Colorado.EDU

Anat Leshnick is a PhD candidate in the Media Studies Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her dissertation research examines how and why militaries legitimize their narratives about war and conflict situations through visual media in an age of information disorders. A recipient of a 2018 Top Paper Award from the Intercultural Communication Division of the International Communication Association (ICA), Leshnick has forthcoming publications in New Media & Society, the International Journal of Communication and Media, Culture & Society. She is the elected international liaison of ICA’s Visual Communication Division (2022-2024). Raised in both Israel and the US, Leshnick holds an MA in Communication from the University of Haifa and a BA in Communication from Sapir College.  

Student and Early Career Representative: Natalia Mielczarek (2022-24)


Natalia Mielczarek is an assistant professor of visual communication in the School of Communication within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her research interests include visual rhetoric, iconicity, Internet memes and appropriation of images in remix culture. She spent 10 years working as a newspaper reporter before returning to academia. 

For previous committee members, see the list of past officers of the Visual Communication Studies division

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