Professor Gunther Rolf Kress

University College London

Academic CV

Gunther Kress is Professor of Semiotics and Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London. His interests are in communication and meaning (-making) in contemporary environments. His broad aims are to continue developing a social semiotic theory of (multimodal) communication; and, in that, to develop a theory in which communication, learning, identity are entirely interconnected. One part of that agenda is to develop apt tools for the ‘recognition’ and ‘valuation’ of learning. Some books along the road are: Language as Ideology; Social Semiotics (both with Bob Hodge); Before Writing: rethinking the paths to literacy; Reading Images: the grammar of graphic design; Multimodal Discourse: the modes and media of contemporary communication (both with Theo van Leeuwen); Literacy in the new media age; Multimodality: a social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. Forthcoming September 2015, Multimodality, Learning and Communication: A social semiotic frame (with Jeff Bezemer)


Qualifications & distinctions

D Litt, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia (1988)
D Univ (hc) University of Technology, Sydney (1992)
DPhil (hc) University of Uppsala, (2015)
Postgraduate Diploma in General Linguistics, University College, Univ of London (1971)
BA (Hons1, University Medal) English Language and Literature, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia (1966)

Current positions

Professor of Semiotics and Education, Institute of Education, Univ of London
Co-Director, Centre for Multimodal Research, Institute of Education, Univ of London

Main previous positions (selected)

Head of School: Culture, Language and Communication, Institute of Education, Univ of London, (2003–2007)
Head of Group: Culture, Communication and Society, Institute of Education, Univ of London, (1994 – 1997)
Professor of Education / English, Institute of Education, Univ of London (1991 – 2007)
Professor of Communication, Univ of Technology, Sydney, Australia (1987 – 1991)
Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, NSW Institute of Technology, Sydney, Australia (1983 – 1987)
Founding Dean, School of Communication and Cultural Studies, South Australian College of Advanced Education, Adelaide, Australia (1978 – 1983)

Recent grants (selected)

Multimodal Methods for Researching Digital Data and Environments. ESRC £1.37m. Co-I. With Jewitt, Bezemer and others.
Transient Teams in the Operating Theatre. ESRC, £400K. Co-I. With Bezemer & Kneebone (2012-13)
Gains and Losses: Changes in Representation, Knowledge and Pedagogy in Learning Resources. ESRC, £160K. PI. With Bezemer (2007-09)
Museums, exhibitions and visitors: Meaning-making in a new arena for learning and communication. Swedish National Research Foundation, £60K. Co-Director. With Prof Staffan Selander, University of Stockholm (2007-09)
The Production of School English. ESRC, £160K. PI. With Bourne and others (2000-3)
Biliteracies. ESRC, £80K. Co-Direct. With Kenner (2000-1)
Rhetorics in the Science Classroom. ESRC, £140K. PI. with Ogborn (1997-99)
Children’s Media Culture. ESRC, £140K. Co-Direct. With Buckingham and Jones (1997-98)
Visual Communication in the Learning of Science. ESRC, £120K. Co-Direct. With Ogborn (1995-96)
Explanation in the Science Classroom. ESRCouncil, £120K. Co-Direct. With Ogborn (1994-95)

Selected publications: Social semiotic and multimodal perspectives on teaching, learning and assessment

2010 Multimodality. A social-semiotic approach to contemporary communication (Routledge)
2006 Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design (Routledge, 2nd revised ed) with T. van Leeuwen
2005 English in Urban Classrooms: A Multimodal Perspective on Teaching and Learning (Routledge) with C. Jewitt, J. Bourne, A. Franks, J. Hardcastle, E. Reid, K. Jones
2003 Literacy in the new media age (Routledge)
2001 Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication (Edward Arnold)
2001 Multimodal Teaching and Learning: The Rhetorics of the Science Classroom (Continuum) with C. Jewitt, J. Ogborn and C. Tsatsarelis.
2000 Early Spelling: Between Creativity and Convention (Routledge)
1997 Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy (Routledge)
1996 Reading Images: The Grammar of Graphic Design (Routledge) with T. van Leeuwen
1993 Learning to Write (Routledge, 2nd edition)
1988 Social Semiotics (Polity Press) with R. Hodge
Chapters and Articles
Kress, G. R. (2013) “Recognizing Learning: a perspective from a social semiotic theory of multimodality.” In Ingrid de Saint-Georges & Jean-Jaques Weber (eds.) Multilingualism and Multimodality. Current challenges for Educational Studies. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 119-1.
Kress, G. R. & Selander, S. (2012). Multimodal design, learning and cultures of recognition. The Internet and Higher Education, 15, 265-268
Kress, G. (2009). Assessment in the perspective of a social semiotic theory of multimodal teaching and learning. In CM Wyatt-Smith and JJ Cummings (eds) Educational assessment in the 21st century. New York: Springer.
Kress, G. (2008). Meaning and Learning in a World of Instability and Multiplicity. Studies in Philosophy & Education 27(4), 253-266
Kress, G. (2005). Gains and losses: New Forms of Texts, Knowledge, and Learning. Computers & Composition 22(1), 5-22.
Kress, G. (2004). Learning, a semiotic view in the context of digital technologies. In: A. Brown & N. Davis (eds) World Yearbook of Education 2004: Digital Technologies, Communities and Education. London: RoutledgeFalmer (pp 15-38).
Kress, G. (2000). “You've Just Got to Learn How to See”: Curriculum Subjects, Young People and Schooled Engagement with the World. Linguistics and Education 11, 4 401-415
Indications of recognition
MBE (2012) (for services to scholarship);
10+ keynote lectures per year,
Visiting Professor Learar Hoegskolen (2004-06); City University Hong Kong (2000)

Contact details