Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News Frames [Summer School]


Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News FramesThe rise of social media, the use of propaganda tactics by various governments and the further sophistication of corporate marketing efforts underline the continued importance of multimodality in the news. The “Media Representations and Multimodality” Summer School helps you to better understand how textual and visual elements interact in the news. The opening lectures teach you how to structure your research and provide insights into social semiotics, semiotic modes and multimodality. Then you learn how to analyse multimodal representations in a step-by-step process, focusing on the texts and images in the news. The lectures contain many eye-opening examples and offer ample room for discussion. You are encouraged to choose a theme and method for your coursework that are both relevant to your research interests. You write a paper in which you use a qualitative method to analyse a news article that contains textual and visual elements, and give two talks. To acquire more skills in this field, our related course “Media Representations and Research Methods” could be beneficial to you as well. [Click here to apply for course]

Course Program

  • Course period: 8 – 12 August 2016
  • Course language: English
  • Full course program: available as pdf file at the GeoMeans website
  • Course sessions: Lectures, roundtable discussions and student presentations
  • Special features:
    • focus on long-term skills development instead of knowledge that is quickly forgotten
    • interactive setting in which everyone is encouraged to participate in the discussion
    • direct and constructive feedback to enrich the collective learning experience
    • focus on exchanging views and disagreeing in a friendly atmosphere
    • stimulating balance between knowledge, assumptions and questions (i.e. critical thinking)
    • advice on your employability skills, internship/PhD opportunities and career options
  • Extra options:
    • After-class tutoring in person and by e-mail
    • Facebook Group of this Summer School to share ideas and links with current and former students
    • Informal drinks and dinners with other students and course leader
  • Recommendations from former students:
    • “Unlike many other teachers, Leonhardt made sure that the curriculum matched the needs of each individual student by providing individual feedback and additional reading material.” — Nicole, Master student, The Netherlands
    • “Leonhardt made the effort to adapt his lessons and assignments to those present in the course.” — Kathleen, PhD student, Belgium
    • You can read the recommendations from 30 of Leonhardt’s former Summer School students in a pfd file on the GeoMeans website

Course Fee, Special Offer, Funding and Accomodation

Application Process

  • You can apply for the course on the Maastricht University website
  • Within a week after your application, you will be informed on the result
  • Application deadline is 18 July 2016. Applications hereafter are considered on a case-by-case basis
  • If the course is fully booked, applications are considered on a case-by-case basis as well and priority is given to paid-for applications

Learning Objectives

  • Applying qualitative methods from critical discourse analysis, social semiotics and framing analysis to study the possible meanings of multimodal media representations
  • Designing an analytical framework to study media representations that have both visual and textual features in line with your research objectives
  • Understanding why multimodal representations can have multiple conflicting meanings and how to deal with this in your research

Course Participants

  • Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News FramesTarget audience:
    • Bachelor/Master students who need to analyse multimodal media representations for their course work or dissertation
    • PhD students who want to operationalise concepts, theories and methods related to multimodal media representations and/or need support with their research methodology
    • Professionals who need a deeper understanding of why and how media representations reflect and affect society
  • Number of participants: 7-15

Course Exam and Certificates

  • Exam: one paper and two presentations
  • Required in order to pass your exam: high attendance rate and active participation during plenary sessions, strong motivation and good command of English
  • ECTS: 1.5 (for students who pass their exam; other students and professionals get a certificate of attendance)

Course Literature

  • Media Representations and Multimodality: Semiotic Modes, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal News FramesPlease visit the GeoMeans website for recommended literature
  • You are advised to read one of the recommended books before the course
  • You don’t need to buy and read all recommended books
  • During the course, you can borrow most recommended books from Leonhardt
  • Please ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice if you do not know what books suit your learning objectives the best

Course Leader

[Click here to apply for course]

[Click here for “Media Representations and Research Methods” Summer School]

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  1. Hi,

    I’m interested in discourse analysis in advertisements. Is it useful to take your course for my research related to critical advertisement analysis (text and images)?

    • Leonhardt van Efferink

      Dear Nihan,
      The course should be useful for your research as well, since it focuses on general analytical tools that can be applied to many genres. Moreover, you can choose many different kinds of sources for your short assignment, and those include multimodal ads as well.
      Kind regards,

  2. Hi,

    I find this course very interesting, but unfortunately my working schedule overlapes with the cours date.

    I wonder if there is any chance to join you in the near future.

    Best regards,


    • Leonhardt van Efferink

      Dear Itsaso,
      The next course will be organized in Summer 2017 (as discussed over e-mail).
      Kind regards,

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