Rationale

The International Multimodal Communication Centre brings together scholars working on multimodal analysis across the University of Oxford and beyond. It serves as a hub for interdisciplinary and inter-regional research, facilitates Knowledge Exchange, develops training materials, and supports teaching activities. It holds a weekly seminar on Wednesdays at 2.00 pm, at which speakers present their research on multimodal topics.

The International Multimodal Communication Centre (IMCC) is based within the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA) with support in kind from St Antony's College and works in close collaboration with researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and the Department of Engineering Science.

 

What is multimodal analysis?

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Multimodal analysis is the combined analysis of at least two of the following aspects of human communication: verbal, sound, and visual. It is becoming increasingly relevant to researchers and research students from a wide range of social sciences and humanities disciplines as well as mathematical, physical, and life science disciplines.

Most human communication is more than just words: it is multimodal. How are verbal input, visual input and sound input integrated to generate messages and support their understanding? What do intonation, facial expression, gesture and body language add to the message communicated? How do producers use timing, settings, camera movement, etc. to manipulate their television or cinema audiences? How do media outlets frame the same event from different angles by foregrounding certain aspects of multimodal communication? How do people use multimodal cues to direct the reading of a text in a particular way? How do people use images, emoji, and videos to communicate on social media? How do our understanding of mechanisms and underlying goals of multimodal communication inform research in linguistics, psychology, political science, international relations, sociology, media studies, journalism studies, business and economics, cultural and cognitive anthropology, history of art, archaeology, computer science, mathematics, statistics, and engineering science?

There is a need to develop analytical models and methods for multimodal communication and large multimodal communication datasets on which these models/methods can be tested, as well as the combined pipelines of tools suitable for semi-automatic and automatic indexing, annotation, and analysis of such datasets. There is a further need to develop training and build capacity in research methods suitable for multimodal communication, and a need to provide a multimodal research evidence-base for policy and other knowledge exchange (KE) activities.

Image: Bayeux Tapestry (late 11th century): Latin text, "HIC MILITES EXIERUNT DE HASTENGA", "Here the soldiers left Hastings", and image showing a groom gesturing to an armed Norman soldier. Source