Multimodality in online communication: Video Calls during the pandemic

clarice image

FRIDAY 12 June 2020

13:00-14:00 GMT+1

Online via Microsoft Teams ( please access the link through registration at


How have the recent restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we communicate? What is the role of multimodal social semiotics in understanding this new communication landscape?

Videocalls have had an exponential growth in the last three months. From workouts and social gatherings to religious services, academic classes, lectures and even Viva examinations. The virtual space of online meetings is the new environment for most our social interactions, whether they are Zoom, Teams, Skype, Google Meet or any other platform.

Dr. Clarice Gualberto, from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, addresses these questions by presenting her initial discussions and results from her recent research on Zoom meetings under a Multimodal Social Semiotic perspective.

Drawing data from video recorded sessions of formal and informal meeting Dr Gualberto explores how the various kinds of online meetings and the extensive use of such platforms have changed communication and transformed social interactions. What are the main resources and affordances provided by online meetings in comparison to physical ones? What are the rules and conventions embedded in such interactions and what are their effects?

Dr Gualberto draws from her extensive experience with research on multimodal communication to reflect on the methodological implications of this research for the study of communication through multimodal perspectives. It further raises questions about identity and self-representation in online interaction.

About the presenter

clarice photoDr Clarice Gualberto is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG, Brazil), in the department of Linguistic and a member of GEMULTE, a research group on multimodality. Her research is focused on social semiotics and it aims to disseminate this theory in Brazil, mainly through papers and books written in Portuguese. She has collaboratively conducted an extensive study of “Multimodality in the Brazilian context: the state of the art”.  Her recent publications include “Contemporary Landscapes of Visual and Digital Communication: The Interplay of Social, Semiotic, and Technological Change” in the second edition of The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods (2019) and “Social Semiotics” (2019) in The International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy.


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