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[ecrea] CfP: #BreMM19, the 4th Bremen Conference on Multimodality - "Empirical Inroads"

Thu Sep 27 18:15:33 GMT 2018


We are happy to announce that BreMM19, the 4th BREMEN CONFERENCE ON MULTIMODALITY, will be held at Bremen University from September 25th-27th, 2019.

BreMM19 is the fourth in a series of conferences dedicated to bringing together different disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of multimodality. With this series, the Bremen team continues to initiate deeper inquiry into the specific theories and practices of multimodal research: BreMM14 was devoted to building bridges between various multimodality-ready disciplines; BreMM15 concerned itself with theoretical and methodological explorations; and BreMM17 laid foundations for the formation of a standalone discipline of ‘multimodality’. All conferences have resulted in edited volumes that present each event’s strongest contributions and serve as the basis for lasting academic exchange on the ever-new topic of multimodality, both in theory and practice.

The upcoming 4th  Bremen Conference on Multimodality, BreMM19, puts empirical inroads into multimodal research centre stage. That is, it focuses on the study of multimodal artefacts and performances through investigating   (larger collections of) actual data. It seeks to further the empirical validation and evaluation of both widely established and new hypotheses and theories about multimodal meaning-making. Such novel approaches have been in the focus of vivid discussions and have often become complex subjects of inquiry in their own right.

“[W]ith the current state of the art in multimodality research,” as Bateman (2014: 239)points out, “there are far more questions than answers and so there is much to be explored”. These questions address core issues such as the conceptualization and empirical grounding of semiotic modes, the notion of media specificity, the analysis of large corpora of digital and digitized data, or the perception, cognitive processing and reception of specific multimodal artefacts, to name just a few.

The availability of (larger sets of) multimodal data does not seem to constitute a central challenge to multimodal analysis anymore, and methods for recording and transcribing multimodal data have been developed comprehensively. However, tools as well as the knowledge and usage of these tools pose current challenges. To innovate or realize significant research synergies across disciplines via empirical approaches is a crucial next step in advancing multimodality.

BreMM19 seeks to bring together researchers that make empirical interventions  into studying multimodal artefacts and performances. Not only does it invite presentations on recent, empirically-oriented research projects, it also calls for discussions of the problems and challenges in conducting empirical multimodal analysis. Wе also encourage scholars to give demonstrations of newly-developed tools and/or software used to investigate multimodal data and corpora.

As with previous BreMM conferences, we view BreMM19 as an essentially  interdisciplinary endeavor. Therefore, we call for papers from scholars of all disciplines doing empirical analyses of multimodal artefacts and performances. We particularly invite cooperative research projects that involve several disciplines and expertise from various fields, in search of novel mixed-method approaches.

The confirmed keynote speakers for BreMM19 are:

Prof. Irene Mittelberg, RWTH Aachen, Germany

Prof. Barbara Tversky, Teachers College Colombia University, USA

Prof. Ralph Ewerth, TIB Hannover, Germany

Prof. John Bateman, University of Bremen, Germany

For a lively and multifaceted discussion, we encourage proposals that explore a broad range of issues, including but not limited to the sub-themes below. We welcome both theoretical and empirical takes on these general questions, and we particularly encourage proposals which unify several theoretical and empirical traditions and/or particularly provide mixed-methods approaches.


    What are the relevant practices and latest tools for multimodal
    corpus design?


    What will be the particular challenges for empirical work raised
    when we consider an ever broader range of multimodal phenomena?


    How are multimodal corpora then to be conceptualized, and how do
    various definitions of ‘mode’ affect corpus design? What
    aremultimodal corpora?


    How can new corpus methods and research practices be tailored to
    support multimodal work?


    What are the most common disciplinary sources and theoretical
    starting points for large-scale, corpus-based multimodal research


    How may empirical multimodal research intersect with or strengthen
    endeavors in the humanities and social sciences? What are the
    complementarities, limits, and opportunities?


    Can multimodal corpus research be acquired in disciplines not
    traditionally aligned with it? What examples are there of successful
    applications of corpus methods in non-traditional academic
    environments (e.g., design, marketing, advertising, investigative


    How can we make multimodal methods accessible and usable to the
    wider academic and professional public? How do we create multimodal
    awareness with empirical methods?


We invite proposals for three kinds of presentation:

Long paper. This consists of a 25-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. This format is reserved for well-developed projects that present potentially controversial or conceptually complex ideas and results of empirical studies.

Short paper. This consists of a 15-minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. This format is suitable for work in progress or ideas for empirical studies that can be presented more succinctly.

Poster Presentation or Demo. This may be any form of empirical research display or demonstration. Presenters will have the opportunity to present and discuss their work during a 90-minute poster presentation session.

Proposals will be selected according to the following criteria (please be sure to address each one):


    the appropriateness of the topic to the studies of multimodality;


    the conceptual clarity and intellectual rigor of the project;


    the contribution the project makes to advancing current
    understanding of empirical research;


    the content should not have been presented elsewhere in identical form.

Your proposal (350-500 words in length) must include: (1) title of the presentation, (2) name of the  author(s), affiliation, email address, (3) proposal format (long paper, short paper or poster), (4) bibliography of key sources (up to 5), (5) brief biographical statement for presenting author (25-100 words).


Please submit your proposal as an e-mail attachment (Word, PDF) by December 5th, 2018, to <(bremm19 /at/>.

We are committed to supporting the participation of parents and carers of children. Therefore, please indicate in your submission email what you anticipate your childcare needs may be during the conference to help us plan for the best support possible - we will be exploring options and will share them before the registration deadline.

For further information, visit the conference website: <>

Notification of acceptance by the end of December 2018.

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