Transmedial turn? Potentials, Problems, and Points to Consider

2nd International Conference on Intersemiotic Translation

8-11 December 2020, University of Tartu, Estonia

Irina Rajewsky, Free University of Berlin
Thomas Leitch, University of Delaware
Anthony Pym, University of Melbourne

Peeter Torop, University of Tartu

Following the 1st International Conference on Intersemiotic Translation, held in November 2017 at the University of Cyprus, this conference aims to address the theoretical and practical challenges that the shift away from the logocentric to increasingly intersemiotic, intermedial and transmedial culture poses for the relevant fields, which are consequently forced to re-examine their concepts, methods as well as objects of study.

Concurrently with the developments that have led many disciplines (translation studies, adaptation studies, intermediality studies, semiotics, among others) to look at processes and products that cross media borders, we have also witnessed the appearance of a plethora of concepts describing such phenomena: from rewritings and refractions to intermedial translations, adaptations and appropriations to remediations, transmediations, transformations, transcreations, and (medial) transgressions, to name but a few. All these terms acknowledge the radical transformations that can occur when texts produce offshoots that transgress the borders of the language, genre, medium or platform of the original text. Recognizing that all terms have their different backgrounds and sometimes conflicting usages, this conference has chosen as one of its key terms the notion of ‘transmedia’ – not necessarily in any one of its specialised senses as used, for instance, by Henry Jenkins in the context of transmedia storytelling or by Peeter Torop and Maarja Ojamaa, who regard transmediality as the complex interrelations between texts in the mental space of culture – but rather as an umbrella term. We foreground ‘transmedia’– with its prefix trans- meaning ‘across’, ‘beyond’, ‘through’ – as a marker to highlight the ubiquitous processes and phenomena of media crossovers that share some common features (such as fictional world, character, plot).

It is our understanding that with such high concentration of transmedial practices and concepts currently underway in culture and in academia, the time is ripe to see this as a general ‘turn’ not to be ignored. Although related to the ‘technological turn’ of the 2000s in translation studies as described by Michael Cronin, the ‘transmedial turn’ goes beyond the technological one: while the latter is defined by the changes in technology, the term ‘transmediality’ foregrounds a major operational logic of culture that has become especially explicit in this era of new media developments. At the same time, the notion of transmediality can shed light and contribute to the study of the respective practices of the past prior to the more recent technological changes.

The aim of this conference is to look at the various transmedial practices historically and in comparison with the changes that have taken place during the last decades as a result of an explosive surge in intermedial and transmedial practices. The discussion will seek to investigate potential ways to account for these changes theoretically and map the implications they might have on the level of practice. The conference intends to bring together scholars from various disciplines, which over the recent years have moved extensively beyond their traditional borders in terms of both their study objects and their approaches. We hope that such a joint effort will offer valuable insights to the conceptualisations of transmedial practices across different cultural contexts at different points in time and bridge theoretical as well as methodological gaps.

We would like to open up the discussion on the following:

  • The movement of texts across different times and different media: from intertextuality to intermediality, from intermediality to transmediality;
  • The analysis and mapping of transmedial processes and products;
  • Transmedial practices in translation and adaptation history;
  • Theoretical models and methods to account for transmedial phenomena across disciplines;
  • The potential to find common ground on terminology in media-centred discourses across disciplines;
  • The concepts of ‘translation’ and ‘adaptation’ revisited in the framework of transmediality;
  • Translators, adaptors, refractors: the network of agents involved in the production of transmedia;
  • Transmedial entanglements of literature, theatre, film etc. and their influence on the conceptualisation and practice of translation and adaptation;
  • Changes in the distinction between professional/non-professional and individual/ collective in transmedial practices;
  • Power relations and ethics in transmedial practices.

The working language of the conference is English.

The conference will include individual paper and practical workshop sessions. In addition to academic papers on the conference theme, we invite practitioners to share their experience with and insights on transmedia-related topics in workshop format.

The presentation time for individual papers is 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for discussion.

To submit a proposal, please send an abstract (up to 300 words plus references) as a separate file (.docx or .rtf) to Please include names and institutional affiliations. Abstracts will be reviewed by the conference academic advisory board.

1 March 2020 Deadline for paper proposals
15 April 2020 Notification of acceptance

Dimitris Asimakoulas, University of Surrey
Deborah Cartmell, De Montfort University
Patrick Cattrysse, University of Antwerp
Lieven d’Hulst, KU Leuven
Jorge Díaz-Cintas, University College London
Nicola Dusi, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
Lars Elleström, Linnaeus University
Henrik Gottlieb, University of Copenhagen
Marina Grishakova, University of Tartu
Ritva Hartama-Heinonen, University of Helsinki
Susan Ingram, York University
Dionysios Kapsaskis, University of Roehampton
Maria-Kristiina Lotman, University of Tartu
Kyle Meikle, University of Baltimore
John Milton, University of São Paulo
Helen Minors, Kingston University
Daniele Monticelli, Tallinn University
Maarja Ojamaa, University of Tartu
Marko Pajević, University of Tartu
Luis Pérez-Gonzáles, University of Manchester
Susan Petrilli, University of Bari
João Queiroz, Federal University of Juiz de Fora
Aline Remael, University of Antwerp
Marie-Laure Ryan, independent researcher
Anneli Saro, University of Tartu
Luc van Doorslaer, University of Tartu
Federico Zanettin, University of Perugia

Registration will open on 1 May 2020 on the conference website
1 May – 30 August 2020
Early Bird Registration Fee €100
Student’s Early Bird Registration Fee €30
1 September – 15 November 2020
Regular Registration Fee €150
Student’s Regular Registration Fee €50
The registration fee includes conference materials, refreshments and lunches on 9-11 December 2020, and a welcome reception on 8 December 2020.


  • 100% refund up to 15 July, 50% refund up to 15 November
  • No refund will be possible after 15 November

Elin Sütiste, University of Tartu
Vasso Giannakopolou, University of Cyprus
Katiliina Gielen, University of Tartu
Tiina Hoffmann, University of Tartu
Klaarika Kaldjärv, University of Tartu
Ehte Puhang, University of Tartu
Katre Pärn, University of Tartu
Külliki Steinberg, University of Tartu

The conference is organised by the Department of Semiotics, Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics at the University of Tartu, and the Department of English Studies, University of Cyprus.

The conference is supported by the Faculty of Humanities and Arts at the University of Tartu, National Professorship in Semiotics of Culture at the University of Tartu, the Department of English Studies at the University of Cyprus, and the Estonian Semiotics Association.

Conference website:

Posted by The Editors on 7th Dec 2019
in Call for Papers

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