Transmedial Turn Conference

8–11 December 2020, University of Tartu, Estonia

Operating as usual


[12/11/20]   NB! There is a small typo in the programme - the final discussion starts 17:30 after a small break!

[12/11/20]   ANNOUNCEMENTS for Friday, 11 December

• Question of the Day 4: What will you take with you from the conference? Please post your response in our closed FB group.

• Submissions to Day 4 and to all the previous days are open until lunch break (14:00 EET). We encourage you to visit the earlier submissions as well as post your own!

• The winners of all Question of the Day challenges will be announced at the closing session (17:00-18:00 EET) where we will also take a look back at the whole conference. Please join! 10/12/2020

Home - E-Course "History on screen"

Thank you for participating in today's cultural programme. Aleksander Fadeev introduced the "Literature on Screen" web platform based on film "November".
The "Literature on screen" is in Estonian, but the Transmedia research group of Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu has also created several projects available in English and Russian (in addition the page "Ex Libris professor Peeter Torop" we've already mentioned):

"History on Screen":
"Identity on Screen":
"Nature in Screen":

The homepage of the project is Kursuse eesmärk on suunata õpilased mõtisklema selle üle, mis rolli mängib kunst meie ajalooteadvuses akadeemilise ajaloo kõrval ning kuidas erinevad mälutekstid omavahel kultuuris seotud on.


We have compiled a small set of videos introducing Tartu, and a small overview of how Tartu has been depicted in music as well as its relations with literature. Enjoy!

Photo by Krister Rajandu,



Thank you for participating in the cultural event yesterday! The web exhibition is an ongoing project and you are welcome to upload your visuals there during the whole conference and beyond. With your help we managed to locate a problem in our uploading form and we hope it is working now.

Art by Hanna Strizh,


Dear participants,

There's still a possibility to join the INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP "TRANSLATING WITH BODY AND EAR" tomorrow! The workshop will take place 10 December at 13:00-14:300 EET (UTC +02:00) in the plenary room.


Ricarda Vidal (King’s College London), Manuela Perteghella (Open University), Madeleine Campbell (University of Edinburgh), Karen Bennett (Nova Universidad Lisbon)

This interactive and discursive workshop will explore the intersemiotic translation of sound through a series of participatory exercises. We are particularly interested in the embodied experience of deep listening and how we could analyse this through a comparison with the deep engagement of the translator with the source text in literary translation. Here we will also discuss processes of meaning-making and the possibility of understanding music / sound as universal language.

Drawing on our research and practice in intersemiotic translation as well as on curatorial practice, we will look at the role of creativity and collaboration with a particular focus on what happens when texts or artefacts move across media borders, in our case from music or sound into words and/or gesture.

The workshop will be structured into four parts. We will begin with an exploration of the affordances of acousmatic sound and of listening to stimulate the creative process of 'storying' in relation to translation. The next part is designed to explore the semiotic potential of music, using a series of short extracts from the Western tradition, and discuss the resources offered by language and movement to effectively translate the ‘meanings’ perceived in one of the pieces. We will then break out into small groups to create a short translation of the selected piece into language and/or gesture under specific constraints.

Finally, we will share our translations in a plenary and discuss the different experiences of listening and making. We will close with a reflection on the translational process in the creative exercises and how intersemiotic translation may be differentiated from association, adaptation or response.

There will be the opportunity to publish some of the translations created during (or after) the workshop in the journal Translation Matters.

The workshop will last ca 90 minutes and can be offered to groups of 8-40 participants.

To express your interest, contact directly the workshop organizers at [email protected].

[12/09/20]   Update on the conference programme. Due to technical complication Elżbieta Magdalena Wąsik's presentation is rescheduled to Friday, 11 December, at 13:30-14:00 EET (UTC +02:00) in Room 18, "Translation Practices".


For today’s cultural programme starting at 17:30, there will be an introduction of an interactive artistic website dedicated to Borges’s imaginary beings and their illustrations. You are very welcome to attend and get your own creative juices flowing, too!

[12/09/20]   There is one more change in today's programme. Instead of Matouš Hájek's presentation in Room 7 'Identity' there will be Ehte Puhang's presentation at 13:00-13:30 and the session will wrap up earlier.

[12/08/20]   Please note that unfortunately Irina Rajewsky's plenary lecture scheduled for Wednesday is cancelled! 08/12/2020

Home - Ex libris professor Peeter Torop

Here is the link to Ex libris professor Peeter Torop – a virtual map that introduces the life and work of Peeter Torop, the professor of semiotics in the University of Tartu. The project is created by the Transmedia research group with the support of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Tartu.

Created by Transmedia research group of Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu Tartu Ülikooli kultuurisemiootika professori akadeemilist tegevust ja teadusmõtet tutvustav kaart.


As part of our cultural programme we have organised a virtual cinema in Vimeo with a selection of Estonian films. And, of course, in the spirit of our conference we have chosen adaptations. Brief overview of the films in the programme is available on our homepage:
The films are available in Vimeo until 14 December 2020, links and passwords will be shared in TMT group and via email to registered participants.


Already tomorrow, 8 December, Peeter Torop will give his talk "Intersemiotic translation in the transmedial turn".

On 28 November Peeter Torop celebrated his 70th jubilee and we invited him as our honorary speaker to celebrate his jubilee and his inspiring contribution to the studies of intersemiotic translation.

Abstract of his talk:
Traditional translation studies uses the notion of seriality to describe the ontology of translation. The source text is unique but this unique text is translatable into other languages in hundreds of ways and it is impossible to talk about the absolute quality of translation. Every new translation is just a new text in the series. In the digital age, traditional translational activity has a new environment, it is a new cultural experience. In this context both the source text and the translation are transmedia texts and every “new translation or adaptation of a single original text is added to a cultural collection, which builds up as a structure of multiple textual channels” (Heller 2014). There appears a new seriality of translations: 1. A method of translation as an orientation to the transmedia world and complementary reading (seriality as a plurality of intersemiotic and intermedia versions of a text in the culture); 2. A method of translation as a digital mediation of the traditional translation (visual images, animated comments, examples of sounds, etc.). The dynamics of the cultural environment form a new ontology of translation: the translated text exists in the transmedia space together with remediated versions of the same text as part of cultural experience. This experience is based on „highly complex processes of interlingual and intersemiotic translation” (Bassnett 2014). Transmediality is an important reason for a new interpretation of Jakobson’s model (his tripartition between inter-, intralinguistic and intersemiotic translation). Revisions of this model have become an important part of translation studies. Intersemiotic translation has been interpreted in the context of multimodality (Pârlog 2019), instrumental and hermeneutic models (Venuti 2019), the categories of mode, medium, and genre (intra- and intermodal, intra- and transcultural, intra- and intermedial, intra- and intergeneric translation, Kaindl 2020). There are also polemical interpretations of intersemiotic translation. One aspect is the ambigious status of the notion of translation: “…what makes intersemiotic translation translation is not so much the end result but the process” Campbell, Vidal 2019). Another aspect is the misunderstanding of Jakobson who is suitable for semiotics but not for translation studies: “within Translation Studies, it is high time to stop casually citing Jakobson’s list of three kinds of translating” (Mossop 2019). My presentation is dedicated to the complex analysis of intersemiotic translation and the Jakobsonian model in the context of the methodology of translation studies and to conceptualizing a parametrical analysis of the processes of translation.


Transmedia UT

The "Transmedial Turn?" conference will take place on the digital conference platform client.
Our tech partner has prepared a virtual conference programme where you can more easily navigate between virtual conference rooms in Zoom – just click on the room link and it takes you to the right place! In case of technical, registration-related and payment questions, please turn to [email protected]. If you have questions about the programme or content, please turn to [email protected]. 06/12/2020

Time Zone Converter – Time Difference Calculator

We have uploaded the book of abstracts and updated conference programme to our homepage:

Please note that the time schedule is in Eastern European Time (EET), UTC +02:00
To keep track of time zones, use a time zone converter, for example Find the exact time difference with the Time Zone Converter – Time Difference Calculator which converts the time difference between places and time zones all over the world.


Already in 6 days, Irina Rajewsky will give her plenary talk titled "The Transmedial Turn in (and beyond) the Humanities.Theoretical foundations, current debates, and open questions in the context of inter- and transmediality"

Abstract. The aim of my paper is to discuss general theoretical issues concerning the concepts of inter- and transmediality, with a focus on current debates on digitally networked media and today’s convergence culture, and in particular on conceptual challenges that have arisen in this context for established approaches to inter- and transmediality (i.e. approaches developed predominantly on the basis of traditional media). In this connection, it should be remembered that any concept of inter- or transmediality is ultimately based on the assumption of a delimitability of “individual media” and thus on the assumption of (historically variable) medial specificities and differences. While this fundamental premise has been widely and controversially discussed within the intermediality debate already in the 2000s and early 2010s, mainly with regard to traditional media (and ultimately in the horizon of W.J.T. Mitchell’s well-known dictum “all media are mixed media”), it receives surprisingly little attention in current debates on digital transformation processes, media convergence, or our so-called “post-media condition” and the various other “post-terms” that go along with it (post-cinema, post-photography, post-tv, post-literature, etc.). This is all the more remarkable as the relevant debates emphasize precisely the general blurring, or dissolution, of traditional media boundaries in the digital age and radically question established notions of “individual media”, while at the same time the intermediality paradigm has gained considerable new momentum, especially in recent years, and the category of transmediality is finding ever broader resonance. What remains open in the vast majority of the respective contributions is to what extent and on which theoretical and conceptual basis it is still possible to speak meaningfully of inter- and transmediality if at the same time the assumption of “individual” or “distinct media” is fundamentally called into question. Moreover, given the fact that the concept of intermediality and especially that of transmediality is understood and used in (sometimes substantially) different ways in the various fields of study (e.g. transmedia studies vs. transmedial narratology), it is crucial to clarify what exactly is meant in each case, what the respective approaches aim at and what kind of heuristic value is attributed to the categories they use. In view of the central topic of this conference, we must therefore also ask what is actually at issue when we speak of a “transmedial turn” in terms of contemporary media culture.


We are happy to present the programme of the conference TRANSMEDIAL TURN? POTENTIALS, PROBLEMS AND POINTS TO CONSIDER taking place via web on 8–11 December 2020.

The e-conference "Transmedial turn?" offers four days of fascinating presentations, thought-provoking discussions, curious cultural program and stimulating workshop.

Programme is available here:

Registration is open:


Thomas Leitch introduces his plenary lecture "The Final Frontier: Fiction and Nonfiction as Media, Intermedia, and Transmedia" as follows:

The call for papers for the Second International Conference on Intersemiotic Translation is extraordinarily broad, inviting presentations on the transmedial entanglements of literature, theater, and film and their influence on the conceptualization and practice of translation and adaptation, on transmedial practices in translation and adaptation history and the concepts of translation and adaptation revisited within the framework of transmediality, on the movement of texts across different times and different media, from intertextuality to intermediality, from intermediality to transmediality, and on power relations and ethics in transmedial practices. I propose a keynote whose remit is still broader than any of these: the ways the traditional borders between fictional and nonfictional discourse have increasingly been called into question, the resulting battles over the frontiers between these two areas, and the movement from their occasional intermingling in genres like the historical novel, the biopic, and the counterfactual novel to the more systematic blurring of the borders between them, their programmatic substitution for each other, and perhaps the ultimate failure to distinguish between them in any universally accepted sense.

The most commonly remarked product of the intermingling or interchangeability of fiction and non-fiction is fake news: news reports whose bias, or whose dependence on unreliable sources, or whose frank substitutions of invented for observed facts renders them unreliable as news. But fake news, as I have observed elsewhere, is only the tip of a much larger iceberg, an historical development that is widely deplored but rarely analyzed with the rigor and historical perspective it deserves. Accepting the organizers’ call to expand the notion of transmedia popularized by Henry Jenkins, I propose to treat fiction and nonfiction as co-dependent media, each relying on the other for its definition, operating within what Peeter Torope and Maarja Ojamaa have called the mental space of culture. As filmed newsreels, tabloid newspapers, magazines that include both fictional stories and nonfictional articles, and television news, commercials, and infomercials remind us, fiction and nonfiction are not necessarily linked to specific presentational media like television, radio, cinema, mechanically reproduced images, or the printed word. Nonetheless, this presentation is an experiment in treating fiction and nonfiction as media, intermedia, and transmedia in order to consider what such a treatment might reveal about the forces behind contemporary intermedia, the utility of these labels, and specific audiences’ investment in choosing to tell, blur, or deny the difference between fiction and nonfiction. My hope is to follow the call for papers in illuminating some of the ways the transmedial turn from a sharp distinction between fiction and nonfiction to a transmedial way of thinking, or not thinking, that “foregrounds a major operational logic of culture that has become especially explicit in this era of new media developments”—and to follow the title of the conference in emphasizing the question mark at the end of the phrase “Transmedial Turn?”





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