Keynote Speakers

Giorgia Aiello
University of Leeds, UK

The Politics of Texture in Contemporary Capitalism 

As a semiotic resource, texture is widely used by global corporations and other institutions to infuse a variety of media and artifacts with connotations like authenticity, locality, intimacy, and diversity. However, little has been said on texture’s relationship with key semiotic demands of contemporary capitalism such as the need to communicate distinctive identities within generic formats and to foreground difference within homogeneity.

Drawing from scholarship on the semiotics of texture (Djonov and Van Leeuwen, 2011), in this keynote I therefore address the politics of texture. I focus specifically on how different kinds of visual and material texture are mobilized in four contemporary sites of semiotic production…  (more) 


Robert Hodge
Western Sydney University, Australia

Tasting excellence: serial multimodality and metamodal strategies in Noma’s presentation of self

This presentation combines two concepts, serial multimodality and metamodality, developed through an analysis of textuality surrounding NomaDenmark’s most famous restaurantNoma as a site poses some interesting challenges for multimodal practice and analysis. How can Noma use multimedia resources to communicate what can be supposed to be the essence of its message, excellence as an attribute of something eaten and tasted? What kind of multimodal analysis can identify these strategies and their possible effects?  (more)


Anna-Malin Karlsson
Uppsala University, Sweden

Multimodality – a theory-dependent standpoint or a common sense view on communication? 

Social semiotics has a proud tradition of multimodal analysis and theorizing, based partly on Halliday’s systemic-functional model of language and grammar. Whether this results in a language-biased approach to multimodality can be (and has been) discussed. However, it is clear that a systemic mindset, where meaning-making  is construed as organized by strata, metafunctions and more or less distinct modes, differs from a more purely interactional and emic approach, such as the ethnomethodological (eg. Goodwin 2000, Mondada 2007)…  (more)


Gunther Kress
University of London, UK

Stepping back to look ahead. Speculating on developments and uses of Social Semiotic Multimodal theory 

The framing paragraph that prefaces the announcement of this conference suggests that things in this corner of the academic world have developed with remarkable speed. It may be useful, maybe necessary  – still barely two decades into this form of work – to pause for a moment and to look at the social environments and the prompting occasions that have framed and continue to frame that still very brief history. It will reveal similarities as well as decisive differences even in that brief period, and these can be helpful in speculating about the short to medium term future of the field…  (more)


 Louise Ravelli
University of New South Wales, Australia

Organization/s and intersemiosis: a plea for the old; a pitch for the new 

While the various theoretical frameworks and approaches to the description and analysis of multimodal communication each offer their own insights, social semiotics offers a particular focus on social aspects of meaning which has proven to be highly productive. Social semiotic approaches themselves can vary, but they are largely underpinned by an understanding of meaning as being metafunctional, following Halliday’s linguistic model. This paper aims to push forwards, by going backwards a little, revisiting the metafunctions and how they mean in multimodal contexts… (more)


Theo van Leeuwen

University of Southern Denmark

Networks – A Social Semiotic Approach 

Departing from the theory presented in Reading Images (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006), this lecture will outline and exemplify the basic ‘narrative’ and ‘conceptual’ models that underlie contemporary visualization – linear processes, cycles, flowcharts, analytical models, classification models (including lists and trees), tables and networks. 

It will then present a social semiotic history of the network model, showing how it evolved from a 1920s American approach to the quantitative analysis of social relations which replaced the ‘social’ with the ’interpersonal’ and saw society as a community of equals in which status derived from popularity, to an all-encompassing approach to visualizing the relation between items of information on the basis of the frequency of otherwise meaningless associations, rather than on the basis of semantic relations… (more)