Applied Linguistics@MQ: Visual conversations online

By February 14, 2012News

The first seminar of the 2012 series of Applied Linguistics seminars at Macquarie University will be held next week:

Visual conversations online: New uses of photo, video and graphics in evolving digital genres

Prof. Martin Englebretsen, University of Agder, Norway

Abstract: We can observe a visual turn in many contemporary text genres, driven by both cultural and technological changes.  The visual turn affects both professional genres (like PR and journalism) and everyday, social genres (like Facebook, blogs) and it affects our worldviews and our patterns of interaction in various ways.

At the seminar I will present an ongoing project, asking how the visual modes actually are used in certain selected formats of digital communication, and how they interact with other modes of utterance. The project further aims at describing how these uses represent genre development and – in a broader perspective – cultural change.

The main part of the presentation is dedicated to the analysis of a soundslide story documenting the situation of Congolese children escaping from war and abuse. In the story, published  on the website of the major Norwegian tabloid VG, still photos are combined with written text and a soundtrack.

Drawing on genre theory, multimodal theory and  the concept of aesthetic journalism I will show how this audiovisual work creates a broad specter of meanings and how it interacts with its readers on the outskirts of the realms of journalism.

Time and vennue: Tuesday, February 21, 11am-noon, Macquarie University, Building C5A, Room 565.

Martin Engebretsen is professor of  language and communication in the Department of Nordic and Media Studies at the University of Agder, Norway. His research interests include visual and multimodal discourse analysis, digital textuality, journalism studies and rhetorics.