Visual Media Analysis: News Photos, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal Discourses/Frames [Summer School]


Period: 13 – 17 August 2018 (one week earlier than initially announced); Fee: €600; ECTS credits: 2; Program: available by the end of July; Language: English; Application process: Maastricht University; Application deadline: 23 July 2018; Accomodation: Maastricht Housing; Funding: Not available

Media Representations Analysis 1: Texts, Critical Discourse Analysis and News Framing [Summer School]Description
The daily posting of millions of photos on social media, the strong resonance of some magazine covers and efforts by many states to influence the visualization of their foreign military missions underline the importance of visual media analysis. This course teaches you the skills to interpret news images and related sentences, captions and headlines.

What are the possible meanings of newspaper cartoons, magazine covers or photos in the (social) media? How can the juxtaposed texts affect the meaning potential of these images? And what does it take to develop a coherent analytical framework and a decent structure for your paper? In a step by process with daily presentations, you address these questions. You write a paper in which you use a qualitative method to analyse news photos or media representations with both visual and textual elements. Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for the different steps in the writing process. Related Summer School courses from Leonhardt are Textual Media Analysis: Critical Discourse Analysis, News Framing and Qualitative Research Design and Geopolitical Framing Analysis: National Images, World Views and Global Dividing Lines.
▪ Designing an analytical framework to study photos, cartoons and other images in the media, in line with your research objectives;
▪ Applying qualitative methods from social semiotics to study the possible meanings of (textual-)visual media representations;
▪ Understanding the complexities of text-image relations and their role in meaning-making processes;
▪ Developing your critical thinking skills by productively combining knowledge, assumptions and questions;
▪ Boosting your employability by acquiring valuable skills required for positions in business, government and academia.
Course Leader
Leonhardt van Efferink first worked as country risk analyst for 12 years. From 2010 until 2017, he did a PhD that straddles the boundary between geopolitics and media studies (PhD defence in December 2017, final version of thesis due in 2018). Students of his 2017 Summer Schools gave him an average of 9.5/10 for his teaching skills. Former Summer School student Kathleen from Belgium recommends him because “Leonhardt is an enthusiastic teacher with a very personal approach. He made the effort to adapt his lessons and assignments to those present in the course. Moreover, he has extensive knowledge of textual and visual media analysis.”
▪ Strong motivation and good command of English are essential to get a pass for the course;
▪ Basic knowledge of visual analysis is recommended;
▪ Aimed at Bachelor/ Master/ PhD students in Media Studies/ Journalism/ Cultural Studies/ Linguistics/ Political Sciences/ International Relations/ Geography/ History. Professionals with various backgrounds benefitted as well from taking previous editions of the course. If in doubt, please contact Leonhardt for personal course selection advice.
Recommended literature
Media Representations Analysis 1: Texts, Critical Discourse Analysis and News Framing [Summer School]▪ Barthes, J. (1977) Image, Music, Text. Fontana Press;
▪ Bateman, J. A. (2014) Text and Image. A Critical Introduction to the Visual/Verbal Divide. Routledge;
▪ Bateman, J., Wildfeuer, J. and Hiippala, T. (2017) Multimodality. Foundations, Research and Analysis – A Problem-Oriented Introduction. De Gruyter Mouton;
▪ Caple, H. (2013) Photojournalism. A Social Semiotic Approach. Palgrave Macmillan.
▪ Howells, R. and Negreiros, J. (2011) Visual Culture. 2nd Edn. Polity;
▪ Kress, G. (2010) Multimodality. A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. Routledge;
▪ Kress, G. and Van Leeuwen, T. (2006) Reading Images. The Grammar of Visual Design. 2nd Edn. Routledge;
▪ Machin, D. (2007) Introduction to Multimodal Analysis. Bloomsbury;
▪ May, T. (2011) Perspectives on Social Scientific Research. In: Social Research. Issues, Methods and Process. 3rd Edn. Open University Press, chapter 1, pp. 7-27;
▪ Ormston, R., Spencer, L., Barnard, M. and Snape, D. (2014) The Foundations of Qualitative Research. In: Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., McNaughton Nicholls, C. and Ormston, R. Qualitative Research Practice. A Guide For Social Science Students And Researchers. SAGE, chapter 1, pp. 1-25;
▪ Rose, G. (2016) Visual Methodologies. An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials. 4th Edn. SAGE;
▪ Royce, T. (2007) Intersemiotic Complementarity: A Framework for Multimodal Discourse Analysis. In: New Directions in the Analysis of Multimodal Discourse, Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates, chapter 2, pp. 63-109;
▪ Van Leeuwen, T. (2005) Introducing Social Semiotics. Routledge;
You are further recommended to read some of these posts on Leonhardt’s website: Please note that it is not required to do some reading before the course. If you like to read something, select a book that is closest to your research interests or ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice. For more suggested reading materials, check the following reading lists:
Teaching methods
▪ Lectures ▪ Presentations
Assessment methods
▪ Attendance ▪ Final Paper ▪ Participation ▪ Presentation
▪ Analytical Skills ▪ Employability ▪ Qualitative Research Methods ▪ Analytical Framework ▪ Research Design ▪ Research Questions ▪ Positionality ▪ Research Paper Template ▪ Visual Analysis ▪ News Photos ▪ Cartoons ▪ Magazine Covers ▪ Social Semiotics ▪ Multimodality ▪ Multimodal Analysis ▪ Text-Image Relations ▪ Media Representations


  1. Dear Leonhardt,

    I would like to know if you think this summer course is relevant for me. I study videos as I’m a PhD candidate interested in Very Young Learners autonomous and collaborative task designs as sources of learning triggers.
    I use social semiotics as research framework and I would like to work on social semiotics multimodal analysis.

    • Leonhardt van Efferink

      Dear Nathaly,
      Thanks for your question. The course helps you to develop and apply a social semiotic framework to study multimodal representations, so it is valuable for your research. Do you have any more questions?
      Kind regards,

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