Dr Elisabetta Adami

Dr Elisabetta Adami


I am Associate Professor in Multimodal Communication, specialized in social semiotic multimodal analysis. I am interested in how people use resources such as gestures, face expression, sounds, speech, images, writing and objects, to make meaning of the world, with others and in space. I look at sign-and-meaning-making practices in place, in face-to-face interaction, and in digital environments, with a special attention to inter- cross- and transcultural communication.

I hold a PhD in English Studies and Linguistics at the University of Verona (Italy) and did a one-year Special Research Programme at the Institute of Education (UCL-London), with research on YouTube and mobile technologies. Before coming to Leeds, I worked as a tenured researcher at the University of Chieti-Pescara (2012-2015) and as a teaching fellow at the University of Verona (2009-2012). I was also part of an ESRC/NCRM-funded project on Methodologies for Multimodal and Narrative Analysis of UK Food Blogs (Institute of Education, UCL).

I am a co-founding editor of the journal Multimodality & Society, former editor of Visual Communication, and in the editorial board of the journals Visual CommunicationMultimodal Communication and Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy

I was the coordinator of PanMeMic: Interaction and Communication in the Pandemic and beyond, a collaborative research project gathering academics and non-academics worldwide to develop understanding of how social interaction and communicative practices have been changing during the Covid-19 pandemic.


  • LCS Ethics Lead
  • Lead of Multimodality of Language@Leeds

Research interests

My research adopts and develops a social semiotic multimodal approach for the analysis of representation, communication, and sign- and meaning-making in all forms. I am particularly interested in developing theories and methods for the analysis of intercultural multimodal sign-making. 

My work in funded projects in Leeds includes:

- BA/Leverhulme funded project: Leeds Voices: Communicating Superdiversity in the Market

- Erasmus+ Key Action 2 funded project: EU-MADE4LL European Multimodal and Digital Education for Language Learning

- LHRI Sadler Seminar Series 2017/2018: Signs Beyond Borders: Meaning-Making across Sign and Spoken Languages

- Wold University Network grant: Intercultural Communication in Interaction: multimodal approaches

- EPSRC small grant: Co-DigiTech – Co-designing participatory methods with older people to understand the role of digital technologies in social isolation


Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise the following postgraduate researchers:

- Rebecca Iszatt, on mutlimodal representations of Thainess in social media

- Chun Liu, on the multimodal expression of (im)politeness and the implications for subtitling

- Zhe Liu, on Internet memes and online youth social practices in China 

- Ahlam Almoissen, on COVID-10 cartoons and inter- cross- and transcultural humour

- Sara Aldawood, on localisation of fashion

- Mihui Yu on Chinese video game localisation

I welcome PhD research proposals that want to use in novel ways a social semiotic multimodal approach to analyse sign- and meaning-making in place, in face-to-face interaction and/or in digital environments, with particular interests in aspects concerning the semiotics of intercultural communication.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Higher Education Academy Fellow

Professional memberships

  • British Association for Applied Linguistics

Student education

I teach multimodal analysis, discourse analysis, social media research methods, digital communication, and multimodality for translators at both BA and MA level.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Translation Studies
  • Translation
  • Multimodality
  • Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures
  • Language at Leeds
  • Cinema and Television

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>