CANCELLED: Wednesday 07 March 2018 – Lunchtime Seminar with Professor David Machin (Media & Communication at Örebro University, Sweden)

Picture of David Machin and logo of Örebro University Sweden

Unfortunately the lunchtime seminar with Professor David Machin has been cancelled due to illness. This seminar will hopefully be rescheduled for a future date.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.


Speaker: David Machin, Professor of Media & Communication, Örebro University, Sweden

Title: How teachers and researchers lose control of their own work in marketized education: A multimodal analysis of documents in educational institutions

Hosted by: Dr Anandi Ramamurthy

There has been much international scholarly discussion about the marketization of universities and of education more broadly. We know that academic work has become increasingly reoriented to corporate style aims where teachers and researchers are appraised on multiple levels as regards teaching, research output and pressures to work towards student recruitment and generating external funding. This has been part of a drive towards ‘quality’, ‘excellence’, ‘value for money’ and public accountability, which can be measured through statistics and displayed in the form of a range of league tables. Yet often such criteria are defined by managers and not by the professional expertise of professional teachers and researchers.

Yet there has been much less research on the kinds of documents, databases and meetings through which this marketized form of organization is transmitted throughout, and embedded within, institutions. It can often appear bewildering simply due to the language which is used which is filled with abstractions and managerial terms. But it can also appear hard to challenge as it appears somehow also to have its own logic, somehow be internally coherent, although at the same time impenetrable. One reason for this is the way that such documents work. Whereas formerly institutional documents would use running text to explain and manage processes, they now often use those where language is broken into chunks, were it becomes integrated into visual designs, used in tables and as part of charts and mixed with data presentation and images.


Image provided by David Machin


In this talk Professor Machin looks at some examples of a chain of such documents which implement a number of targets in an institution and shows how the kinds of causalities, identities and complexity of processes become abstracted and completely lost, often being replaced by the symbolism of graphics and the logics created by certain forms of information presentation such as lists, tables and flowcharts.

The seminar will form part of C3RI’s Visual methodologies series, and is in collaboration with the Language and Literacy Research Group and the Multimodal Discourse Analysis Group at SHU.

Professor David Machin has published widely in the areas of Critical Discourse Analysis and Visual Communication. His publications include, Doing Visual Analysis (2018), How to Do Critical Discourse Analysis: A Multimodal Introduction,(2012), The Language of Crime and Deviance (2012) and Visual Journalism (2015). He is co-editor of the international peer reviewed journals Journal of Language and Politics and Social Semiotics.


See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email the C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.