New materials for VisMet

The Metaphor Lab research assistant, Esther van den Berg, and the VisMet research assistant Romy van den Heerik have been involved in the VisMet project, to help the project coordinator, Marianna Bolognesi, with the implementation of the corpus.

New materials have been collected, ranging from advertisements to artworks and political cartoons. Below, a few examples of items that will be included in the corpus. On the other hand, also the process for acquiring reprinting permissions from the copyright holders is proceeding well.

We hope to release a first version of the corpus (VisMet Baby, containing 500 images) around the end of April. Marco Otte from the Tech Labs (Network Institute, VU University Amsterdam) is currently involved in the implementation of the VisMet website.

BoliganCENSURA2erlich12  Jaksa8 Kuczynski4

Censura.                             La nueva salud                           Duel                                                    Facebook

Artist: Angel Boligan     Artist: Bernardo Erlich         Artist:  Jaksa              Artist: Pawel Kuczynski

Posted January 16, 2014

VisMet project, the first corpus of visual metaphors


An international collaboration between Metaphor Geeks and the Metaphor Lab at VU University Amsterdam.

The funded research project VisMet, coordinated by dr. Marianna Bolognesi and prof. Gerard Steen, aims to investigate the possibility to create a repository of visual metaphors (still images such as those below) that can be accessed by academic researchers under specific regulations, for scientific and educational (non-commercial) purposes. The envisaged repository aims at fulfilling the dimensions of portability that define the reliability of well-established verbal corpora (Bird, Simons 2003).

Project description and workplan.

"what lies under" by Ferdi Rizkiyanto   Kuczynski9  vangelis2

author: Ferdi Rizkiyanto                              author: Pawel Kuczynsky    author: Vangelis Pavlidis

“what lies under”


Posted December 8, 2013

Visual metaphors at University of Turin


The talk that Marianna Bolognesi delivered at Università di Torino last tuesday was attended by the international master students in International development, the Italian master students in Foreign languages education, and Italian Foreign Language acquisition and teaching, and by some PhD students from the humanities department.

The main differences between visual and verbal metaphors were outlined, as well as the status of the scientific literature focused on the visual modality of expression of metaphor. The cultural constraints that characterize visual forms of communication were also addressed during the talk, such as for example how the writing direction influences also the reading of images, and therefore constitutes an important issue to be taken into account when communicating visual messages and using visual metaphors.


Posted November 21, 2013

Invited Lecture @ Università di Torino


On Tuesday, November 19th at the University of Turin (Palazzo Nuovo) from 2 pm to 4 pm Metaphor Geeks’ coordinator Marianna Bolognesi will be delivering a special lecture on the topic: “Visual and Verbal metaphors. Two modalities of expression of the same conceptual metaphors?”

The lecture will provide an overview of the current literature on metaphor studies, with regard to multimodality. In particular, verbal and visual modalities of expression of metaphor will be compared and analyzed through examples.

The lecture is open especially to MA students and PhD candidates in philosophy and semiotics.

We are extremely grateful to prof. Carla Marello for hosting and organizing the event.


Posted November 10, 2013

Metaphors and Architecture: kick-off of a new project


The rich input provided by the Intercultural Horizons conference led to the formulation of new research objectives to be achieved in an interdisciplinary study that aims at linking metaphors and architecture.

The researchers involved are dr. Agnese Regablio and dr. Elena Giunta from the University Politecnico, School of Design, Milan, and dr. Marianna Bolognesi from Metaphor Geeks. The study aims at understanding the function of metaphors in fostering the creative process that leads young architects and students of design to project and design pieces of architecture.

Here, a researchers’ meeting on the porch of the conference venue.


Posted October 8, 2013

Intercultural Horizons 2013 ongoing


The annual conference Intercultural Horizons started this morning. Roughly 160 delegates from all the inhabited continents gathered today in Siena. Metaphor Geeks was there, presented within the first plenary session, as the newest initiative embedded at the International Center for Intercultural Exchange, conference host and organizer.

Metaphor Geeks presented a cross-cultural study conducted by Marianna Bolognesi and Susan Ghaffaryan about the conceptualization of POWER in Iran and in the United States, and the metaphors related to this concepts that emerge from verbal productions and from mental simulations.

Here, the Metaphor session, chaired by Marianna Bolognesi, and the conference billboard.

IMG_6850    558365_529527777116299_1548752140_n

Posted October 7, 2013

Understanding Global Cultures through metaphors


Next week the graduate course in Intercultural Pragmatics will begin. Among the course materials, we’ll use the manual “Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical Journeys Through 31 Nations, Clusters of Nations, Continents, and Diversity”, co-authored by Martin Gannon and Rajnandini Pillai. In this book the authors provide metaphors (actually they provide metonymies) for describing the cultural mindsets of nations and clusters of nations. Drawing from social activities and institutions in which the members of a given culture identify themselves, the authors propose insightful interpretations of global cultures, acknowledging the fact that such figures cannot fully capture the whole culture. It is an aim of the course Intercultural Pragmatics (taught by dr. Marianna Bolognesi) to discuss the interpretation provided in this manual for the Italian culture, and complement it with additional metaphors or metonymies, in order to capture other aspects of this culture.


Posted September 22, 2013

Intercultural Horizons conference approaching (7-9 October)


The annual conference Intercultural Horizons is approaching!

Intercultural Horizons is co-sponsored by Sietar Italia, The State University of New York at Geneseo, Siena College, the International Partnership for Service-Learning & Leadership, Siena Italian Studies and the Associazione Culturale Ulisse.

The conference venue alternates between Italy and the United States. This year (from October 7th to October 9th) the IH conference will be in Siena, Italy, hosted as usual by the International Center for Intercultural Exchange.

The theme for 2013 is “Intercultural Competence: Key to the New Multicultural Societies of the Globalized World”. A special panel on Metaphor and Cognitive Processes in Intercultural Studies will be chaired and coordinated by Marianna Bolognesi. This panel will see four different delegates, or teams of delegates, presenting their studies:

Svetlana Alpatova (State University of Management, Russia): The Metaphorical Background of Some Idioms Used Across Cultures

Marianna Bolognesi and Susan Ghaffaryan (International Center for Intercultural Exchange, Italy and Allameh Tabatabai University, Iran): The Concept of Power: A Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Study

Irina Chironova (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia): How You Call a Ship So It Will Float: Metaphors in Educational Discourse in Russia

Monika Zasowska and Andrzej Lyda (University of Silesia, Poland): Synesthesia through a Cultural Filter.


The abstracts and the full conference programme can be found at this link.

The Metaphor Geeks Lab is looking forward to seeing you at the conference here in Siena!



Posted August 27, 2013

Metaphor Geeks at the Metaphor Festival 2013 in Stockholm


A study on the different grounding of visual and verbal metaphors’ across bodily experiences, mental simulations, and language, will be presented by Marianna Bolognesi at the annual International metaphor festival, hosted and organized by the Department of English of Stockholm University (Sweden).



Here, prof Steen’s presentation on the differences between visual and verbal metaphors, approached from a triple perspective: pragmatic, conceptual, and semiotic.


the conference kit, sponsored by Stockholm University and John Benjamins Publishing Company.


Posted August 17, 2013

Launching the new research involvement opportunity – Fall semester 2013


Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the International Center for this Fall semester are invited to take part to the activities and projects hosted by Metaphor Geeks. Also, we invite students to propose their own research projects at the Metaphor Geeks lab, and to seek supervision and collaboration from the lab coordinator and the other lab members.

On SEPTEMBER 5th meet the lab coordinator at Siena Italian Studies, via Fontebranda 69, Siena, Italy.

Posted August 7, 2013