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Visual Media Analysis: News Photos, Text-Image Relations and Multimodal Discourses/Frames

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 611 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €600.00 per programme


The daily posting of millions of photos on social media, the strong resonance of some magazine covers and efforts by many states to influence the visualization of their foreign military missions underline the importance of visual media analysis. This course teaches you the skills to interpret news images and related sentences, captions and headlines. What are the possible meanings of newspaper cartoons, magazine covers or photos in the (social) media? How can the juxtaposed texts affect the meaning potential of these images? And what does it take to develop a coherent analytical framework and a decent structure for your paper? In a step by process with daily presentations, you address these questions. You write a paper in which you use a qualitative method to analyse news photos or media representations with both visual and textual elements. Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for the different steps in the writing process.

Course Leader is dr. Leonhardt van Efferink (PhD defence in December 2017). He worked as country risk analyst for 12 years, before doing a PhD that straddles the boundary between geopolitics and media studies. Students of his 2017 Summer Schools gave him an average of 9.5/10 for his teaching skills. Former Summer School student Kathleen from Belgium recommends him because “Leonhardt is an enthusiastic teacher with a very personal approach. He made the effort to adapt his lessons and assignments to those present in the course. Moreover, he has extensive knowledge of textual and visual media analysis.”

Related Summer School courses from Leonhardt: ▪ Textual Media Analysis: Critical Discourse Analysis, News Framing and Qualitative Research Design ; ▪ Geopolitical Framing Analysis: National Images, World Views and Global Dividing Lines

▪ Designing an analytical framework to study photos, cartoons and other images in the media, in line with your research objectives;
▪ Applying qualitative methods from social semiotics to study the possible meanings of (textual-)visual media representations;
▪ Understanding the complexities of text-image relations and their role in meaning-making processes;
▪ Selecting the right number and right sort of images for your assignment;
▪ Developing your critical thinking skills by productively combining knowledge, assumptions and questions;
▪ Boosting your employability by acquiring valuable skills required for positions in business, government and academia.

M.J.M. van Eck
L.A.S. van Efferink
S. van der Laan

Recommended literature
▪ Barthes, J. (1977) Image, Music, Text. Fontana Press;
▪ Bateman, J. A. (2014) Text and Image. A Critical Introduction to the Visual/Verbal Divide. Routledge;
▪ Bateman, J., Wildfeuer, J. and Hiippala, T. (2017) Multimodality. Foundations, Research and Analysis – A Problem-Oriented Introduction. De Gruyter Mouton;
▪ Caple, H. (2013) Photojournalism. A Social Semiotic Approach. Palgrave Macmillan.
▪ Howells, R. and Negreiros, J. (2011) Visual Culture. 2nd Edn. Polity;
▪ Kress, G. (2010) Multimodality. A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. Routledge;
▪ Kress, G. and Van Leeuwen, T. (2006) Reading Images. The Grammar of Visual Design. 2nd Edn. Routledge;
▪ Machin, D. (2007) Introduction to Multimodal Analysis. Bloomsbury;
▪ May, T. (2011) Perspectives on Social Scientific Research. In: Social Research. Issues, Methods and Process. 3rd Edn. Open University Press, chapter 1, pp. 7-27;
▪ Ormston, R., Spencer, L., Barnard, M. and Snape, D. (2014) The Foundations of Qualitative Research. In: Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., McNaughton Nicholls, C. and Ormston, R. Qualitative Research Practice. A Guide For Social Science Students And Researchers. SAGE, chapter 1, pp. 1-25;
▪ Rose, G. (2016) Visual Methodologies. An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials. 4th Edn. SAGE;
▪ Royce, T. (2007) Intersemiotic Complementarity: A Framework for Multimodal Discourse Analysis. In: New Directions in the Analysis of Multimodal Discourse, Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates, chapter 2, pp. 63-109;
▪ Van Leeuwen, T. (2005) Introducing Social Semiotics. Routledge;

You are further recommended to read some of these posts on Leonhardt’s website: Please note that it is not required to do some reading before the course. If you like to read something, select a book that is closest to your research interests or ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice. For more suggested reading materials, check the following reading lists:

Apply now!
Application start
Feb 1, 2019
Application deadline
Jul 24, 2019 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States