Multimodality Talks Series: The Kinesemiotic Body: an empirical approach to investigating the multimodal discourse organization of dance

Day:  14 January 2022

Time: 12:00 – 13:30 GMT

Place: online

Speaker: Arianna Maiorani, Loughborough University, UK. John A. Bateman, Bremen University, Germany

To watch the recorded talk see here:


The Kinesemiotic Body project is an interdisciplinary project drawing on linguistics, multimodal semiotics, empirical human-motion studies, and dance. It is being carried out in collaboration with professional dancers from the English National Ballet and is jointly funded by the AHRC in the UK and the DFG in Germany. The project aims at evaluating the extent to which an explicit, linguistically-motivated formal and functional notion of multimodal discourse can deepen our understanding of how the movement-based medium of dance communicates. In our presentation, we will introduce the basic tenets of the project and show the theoretical and practical contributions that are being combined in the work programme, relating this both to the theorization of ballet introduced in Maiorani (2021) and to the general treatment of materiality and multimodality developed in Bateman/Wildfeuer/Hiippala (2017). 


Bateman, J. A., Wildfeuer, J. & Hiippala, T. (2017). Multimodality – Foundations, Research and Analysis. AProblem-Oriented Introduction . Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton. 

Maiorani, A. (2021). Kinesemiotics: Modelling How Choreographed Movement Means in Space. London: Routledge.


Arianna Maiorani is Reader in Linguistics and Multimodality in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough University, UK, and a former professional ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer. Her research focuses on Multimodal Semiotics, Multimodal Discourse Analysis and the application of the Systemic Functional Linguistics and Social Semiotics frameworks to the study of socio-cultural phenomena and multimodal communication. Her most recent books are Kinesemiotics: Modelling How Choreographed Movement Means In Space (Routledge 2021), which features her Functional Grammar of Dance model, and Space and Place as Human Coordinates: Rethinking Dimensions across Disciplines (Cambridge Scholars 2021).

John Bateman, professor of English Applied Linguistics, Bremen University, Germany, has been investigating the relation between language and other semiotic systems for many years, focusing on accounts of register, genre, lexicogrammatical description and theory, multilingual and multimodal linguistic description, and computational instantiations of linguistic theory. Current work involves multimodal semiotics and theories of discourse as well as the development of empirical methodologies for robust multimodal analysis. Publications include works on multimodality and genre (2008, Palgrave), text and image (2014, Routledge), and a textbook on multimodality (2017 in English and 2020 in German, de Gruyter, with Janina Wildfeuer and Tuomo Hiippala).

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