Intersemiotic Translation: London, 1 July 2016

Intersemiotic Translation: Words, Brush-strokes and Dancing Shoes–a symposium on translatability across invisible borders

King’s College London, 1st July 2016, 11am – 5pm, Strand Building, Room S3.05

Communication happens on many levels, the gestural, the olfactory, the visual, the linguistic etc. As Walter Benjamin wrote, “communication in words [is] only a particular case of human language” (1916). While word-based languages are confined to linguistic borders, which often coincide with national or even regional borders, non-word-based forms of communication can transcend such borders, while, of course still being influenced by cultural traditions. Intersemiotic translation (e.g. the translation of a poem into dance, or a short story into an olfactory experience, or a film into a painting) opens up a myriad of possibilities to carry form and sense from one culture into another beyond the limitations of words. At the same time, such processes impact on the source artefact enriching it with new layers of understanding.

This symposium seeks to bring together academics, translators, curators and artists, who have explored intersemiotic translation in their practice. It is an opportunity to present individual projects and research, exchange experiences and explore potential new partnerships and collaborations.

Part of the workshop will be dedicated to the Special Interest Group “Intersemiotic Translation and Cultural Literacy”, which has been set up by Madeleine Campbell with initial support from the Cultural Literacy in Europe Forum. We would like to discuss what the group could do for you/us/intersemiotic translation, e.g. provide a framework for joint funding applications, international networks, or future collaborations between individuals/institutions, etc.

The symposium is led by Ricarda Vidal ( and Madeleine Campbell (

Symposium: Intersemiotic Translation

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