The Fourth International Conference on Visual Methods was hosted by the University of Brighton in September 2015. It brought together many imaginative and hugely productive collaborations between academics, practitioners and community groups from various cities and regions of the UK, Europe and beyond. Like most conferences, our programme consisted of presentations and keynote speeches, but we also included screenings, exhibitions and workshops. Much of this took place in the University but we extended our reach by opening the doors of the University to the local community and holding screenings and exhibitions in public spaces across the city. This special edition of Visual Methodologies strives to capture the richness and diversity of the programme; it offers some detailed first hand accounts of projects and papers presented at the conference, as well as exploring the wider role of visual methods in contemporary research practice. Our cover features one of Ray Gibson’s iconic pebble faces taken on Brighton Beach and used as part of the Great Pebble Dash, one of the projects which took conference delegates out of the University and into the city.