Dr Silvia Casini

Dr Silvia Casini



Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272161
The University of Aberdeen School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
Old Brewery, n°14
Aberdeen, AB24 3UB


Queen’s University Belfast, Ph.D. in Film and Visual Studies (2008). 

Dissertation: “The Aesthetics of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Setting MRI in Motion from the Scientific Laboratory to an Art Exhibition” (funded by AHRC)

Ca’ Foscari University, M.A. and B.A. in Philosophy with honors, cum laude (2001).

Memberships and Affiliations


Film and Visual Culture Undergradute Programme Coordinator (2018-2019 and 2020-2021)

Open Day Coordinator (2015-2017)

Undergraduate Dissertation Coordinator (2016-2017)

Co-director GWW Centre for Visual Culture (2020-2021)

Coordinator of the MLitt in Film, Visual Culture and Arts Management (2018-2019)


Expert evaluator for the projects Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies (FET Open CSA)

Co-chair of the art exhibition Cities of the future: living together part of the Creativity&Cognition 2021 Conference: https://cc.acm.org/2021/artworks/





Research Overview

My main research strand focuses on the aesthetic, epistemological and societal implications of scientific visualization, particularly in the case of emerging technologies. I deploy visual culture, science and technology studies (STS) and critical theory to explore how images and perception work within systems of knowledge. In my scholarly and curatorial work to date, I am committed to study art-science cross-fertilization projects in their material environments (museums, laboratories, cities), to assess how they reconfigure existing forms of visibility, thinking and agency. I am interested in supervising research students in this research area.

I have two other research strands:

1. The first one uses Giorgio Agamben's philosophy to explore the ways in which an image (still or moving) makes meaning and the conditions under which power is to be found in each medium, thus binding the aesthetic to the political. The question of the status of a certain subject/object is one of the chief preoccupations in Agamben’s interventions in the fields of aesthetics and art, as in his reflections on politics. When it comes to aesthetics, I am interested in exploring how Agamben tackles the question of status in a literal sense: how do objects (e.g., images) come to acquire the power and authority they have? How can another object/subject/event disrupt this authority?

2. The second concerns the relationship between cinema and science beyond the paradigm of science fiction. Through the lens of the cinematic medium I analyse the categories of exploration, transmission and reconfiguration of scientific knowledge, using methods and approaches coming from film theory, visual culture and science and technology studies (STS).

Current Research

During my Leverhulme Trust fellowship grant, I have completed my second book entitled "Giving Bodies back to Data. Image-makers, Bricolage and Reinvention in Magnetic Resonance Technology", an examination of the bodily, situated aspects of data-visualization work, looking at visualization practices around the development of MRI technology. The book is forthcoming with MIT Press, Leonardo Book Series (Spring 2021), series editors Sean Cubitt and Roger Malina.





Research Funding and Grants

Leverhulme Research Fellowship, June 2019 - May 2020, £ 54.652, project "From where do we see? Centre-Periphery in Biomedical Visualisation"

Kias Cluster Application, June 2020-2023, project "KNOW THYSELF AS A VIRTUAL REALITY", participation in the symposium and writing up the contextual essay for the project exhibition and the web platform. PI: Marilène Oliver, University of Alberta, Canada.

Aberdeen Humanities Fund Development Trust Research Awards, 2019

Brain Gain Fellowship at IUAV University (FSE Grant), 2019

Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant, 2017, project "Visualising Data: A study of biomedical imaging practices in Scottish MRI innovation, past and present"

Scottish Crucible grant, 2016, project "Harvesting Collections for Social and Scientific Benefit: Hidden
Stories at the Herbarium of RBGE" in collaboration with Glasgow University and RBGE

National Science Foundation grant, CNS-ASU, 2013
Grant to attend the Winter School on Anticipatory Governance of Emerging Technologies, Phoenix, USA

Italian Society for the Study of Science and Technology, 2011
Travelling and Accommodation grant to attend the PCST Conference, Florence, Italy

Summer School in Medicine and New Media, 2008
Travelling and accommodation grant, Centre for the History of Medicine, Warwick, UK

European Science Foundation, 2006
Travelling and accommodation grant for the conference Reading Images, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Wassennar, The Netherlands

Research Grant Queen’s University, Belfast, 2006
Research grant for a 3-month-stay at the University of California, San Diego, Department of Communication, USA

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), 2004
Scholarship to undertake research at doctoral level, UK


Teaching Responsibilities

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Courses taught since January 2015:

Introduction to Visual Culture (sub-honours course)

Introduction to Film (sub-honours course)

Honours Seminar: The Visual Culture of Medicine: Imaging the Body in-between Art and Science (open to medical humanities students)

Honours Seminar: Cinema and Science Beyond Fiction (open to medical humanities students)

MLitt in Film, Visual Culture and Arts Management

Contributing to the MLitt course Critical Approaches to Literature, Science and Medicine

Contributing to Visualising Revolution and Cinema and Modernity (sub-honours courses)

UG Dissertation Course

Supervision of Doctoral Students:

I am currently supervising the following doctoral students:

Eimear Kinsella (first supervisor)

Camilla Salvaneschi (co-supervisor)

Brian Keeley (co-supervisor)

Lee Hentze (second supervisor)



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  • Nuove cartografie corporee: Dal molare al molecolare, dal corpo trasparente a quello potenziale (New body maps: From molar to molecular, from transparent to potential body)

    Casini, S.

    Elephant&Castle Laboratorio dell'Immaginario, no. 22, pp. 4-26

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • The Culture of Experimentation: Fiction, Craftsmanship and Imagination (La cultura della sperimentazione: finzione, maestria e immaginazione)

    Casini, S.

    Altrove. New Fictions. Mudu, S. (ed.). Edizioni Bruno, Venezia, pp. 19-32 , 14 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • The Material Site of Abstraction: Grid-based Data Visualisation in Brain Scans

    Casini, S.

    The Iconology of Abstraction: Non-Figurative Images and the Modern World. Purgar, K. (ed.). Routledge, pp. 221-234, 14 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)

  • From Where Do We See? Opening Up The Black Box of Biomedical Imaging

    Casini, S.

    Immobile Choreography. Grampian Hospitals Art Trust, pp. 31-66, 36 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • What Counts as Data and for Whom?: The Role of the Modest Witness in Art-Science Collaboration

    Casini, S.

    The Routledge Handbook of Art, Science and Technology Studies. Rogers, H. S., Halpern, M., Hannah, D., de Ridder-Vignone, . (eds.). Routledge, 20 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)

  • A Phenomenological encounter with MRI

    Casini, S.

    Becoming Image. Medicine and the Algorithmic Gaze. Orton, L. (ed.). London: Digital Insides pp. 17, 28 pages.

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings

  • Synesthesia, Transformation and Synthesis: Toward a Multi-sensory Pedagogy of the Image

    Casini, S.

    Senses and Sensation: Critical and Primary Sources. Howes, D. (ed.). Bloomsbury Academic

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)

  • Scanning, Framing and Close-Up: Reimaging the Brain in 265 Looping Snapshots

    Casini, S.

    Leonardo, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 127-131

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

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