The seminar will open with a brief lecture consisting of two parts:
1.An explanation of the three basic dimensions of social semiotic practice: systematically inventorizing semiotic resources and understanding their histories; studying how semiotic resources are used in specific practices and how these practices are regulated; exploring how new semiotic resources, or new uses of existing semiotic resources, might be developed.
2.A brief introduction to earlier work on the visual representation of social actors, with special reference to the visual representation of groups of social actors. Participants will then be given an opportunity to discuss some data (a collection of group portraits) in small groups, and in the light of three questions: 1.How can we classify group portraits so as to develop a useful analytical framework (and what would ‘useful’ mean here)? 2.Can we relate specific kinds of group portraits to specific practices, and how is the production of group portraits regulated in these practices? 3.Can we identify new developments in group portrait making (whether current or past) and why these came about?
The seminar will end with a joint discussion of these questions (and of the question why it is of interest to analyze group portraits at all). Bio: Theo van Leeuwen worked as a film and television producer in his native Holland and Australia. Later he studied linguistics and semiotics in Sydney and Paris, and variously taught film production, media studies and semiotics at Macquarie University, the London College of Printing and Cardiff University. Between 2005 and 2013 he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney, and since September 2013, he is Professor of Multimodal Communication at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, and Honorary Professor at Lancaster University, the University of New South Wales and the Australian Catholic University. He has published widely in the areas of social semiotics, critical discourse analysis and multimodality. His books include Reading Images – The Grammar of Visual Design (with Gunther Kress); Speech, Music, Sound; Introducing Social Semiotics; Global Media Discourse (with David Machin); and Discourse and Practice – New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis and The Language of Colour. With Carey Jewitt, he is a founding editor of the international journal Visual Communication.