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PHD915 Multimodal literacy and aesthetic engagement

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

Contents and structure

The course is an elective part of the PhD program ‘Studies in Bildung and Pedagogical Practices,’ and it develops the potential for realigning our reading practices with the aesthetic experience in a variety of textual forms (verbal, visual, digital, audio, multimodal, intermedial).

Understanding literacy as a form of Bildung, this course reimagines ‘the relationship of learners to the world’ (Freire 1970: viii) through the interaction of texts, contexts and the individual. To this aim, the readings in this course invite discussions around literacies, the aesthetic experience, and Bildung in their interconnectedness. We will also investigate the role of the aesthetic in critical engagement with different media and modes of meaning making.

This course will thus focus on questions like:

  • What is the relationship between texts, contexts and the individual concerning meaning-making and aesthetics?
  • What does a critical engagement with different textual forms offer to our understanding of how meaning is created?
  • How does the aesthetic experience complicate our ways of reading, seeing, and listening?

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student will have the following total learning outcome:


The student

  • is in the forefront of knowledge regarding the interconnectedness of multimodal literacy, intermedialities and aesthetics
  • has a deep-rooted understanding of different practices of textual engagement with an awareness of the relationship between text, context and the individual
  • will have knowledge of how the aesthetic experience shapes and is shaped by texts, contexts and the individual


The student

  • can assess and undertake research and scholarly work of a high international standard within the interrelated fields multimodal literacy, intermedialities, and aesthetics
  • can develop new interpretations of key debates in critical multimodal literacy and the aesthetic in relation to reading practices across different media
  • can adopt a position on and challenge established theories and approaches discussed in the course

General competence

The student

  • can critically reflect on issues within their own research and that of others in relation to the course
  • can actively contribute to debates within their field of research in the context of multimodal literacy, intermedialities, and aesthetics
  • will be able to critically evaluate and implement interdisciplinary approaches within their own research

Entry requirements


Teaching methods

Teaching in the subject will normally take place in one semester. The course will consist of plenary lectures and seminars that lead into and form the basis of open, reflection-oriented discussions. Another important feature of the course will be writing workshops in which registered students will give and receive feedback from their peers on their respective projects in connection with the main themes of the course. During the course students will prepare a text that may form the basis of a conference paper. Lectures can be run hybrid (digital and physical).

Compulsory learning activities

Students will give an oral presentation of a draft paper related to the course topics and their own doctoral research. The text must include a discussion of theories from the course. Students will also be required to give feedback on the drafts of others registered for the course.

The work requirements will be assessed as approved/not approved.


Based on the literature and discussions from the course, students will individually prepare and submit a text of 3000-3500 words that is equivalent to an academic conference paper in terms of format and quality. Students will also be encouraged to link the paper to their individual PhD projects. Participation in an academic conference is not, however, a prerequisite for evaluation.

The written work will be assessed as passed/failed by internal and external examiners. An A or B level is necessary to pass based on the learning outcome descriptions of the course.

Examination support material


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