BreMM19 | Fuente, Lacasa & Martínez-Borda

Julián de la Fuente, Pilar Lacasa and Rut Martínez-Borda
University of Alcalá | Alcalá, Spain

Mimesis as Multimodal Discourse in Children’s Media Practices

Research on children’s practices through new media opens up a field of knowledge about their culture, habits and identity (Ibrahim, 2015). Our study aims to deepen these concepts from the point of view of the discourses used by young people, as well as the literacy processes on which they rely. In this context, mimesis (Wulf, 2013) could be considered as a multimodal resource for an aesthetic competence as well as a social semiosis practice. Despite this, there is a lack of studies about this kind of discourse applying to visual narratives (Bateman & Wildfeuer, 2014)

As a result of the above, our goals are 1) to explore the practices used by children to participate in social media; 2) to identify mimetic discourses in social networks such as Instagram; and 3) to describe the multimodal text as a result of this activity, and the particular meaning giving by children.

Our data comes from a series of workshops that took place at the Telefonica Flagship Store (Madrid, Spain) with teens between 8 and 14 years old. In these workshops, young people use Ipads to create multimodal contents and share their creations in social networks such as Instagram. Following a sociocultural approach, we combined some qualitative methods such as visual ethnography (Delgado, 2015). NVivo was the tool used to process any kind of multimodal material. Data analysis combined a narrative and a conceptual approach (Lacasa, Martinez-Borda, & Mendez, 2013).

The results give us preliminary ideas for discussion: 1) Children need to connect online and offline spaces to create digital artworks; 2) Mimesis is an artistic discourse used by children to depict their personal world view; and 3) Multimodality allows us to interpret the creations of young people in social networks.


Bateman, J. A., & Wildfeuer, J. (2014). A multimodal discourse theory of visual narrative. Journal of Pragmatics, 74, 180-208.

Delgado, M. (2015). Urban Youth and Photovoice: Visual Ethnography in Action: Oxford University Press.

Ibrahim, Y. (2015). Instagramming life: banal imaging and the poetics of the everyday. Journal of Media Practice, 16(1), 42-54. doi:10.1080/14682753.2015.1015800

Lacasa, P., Martinez-Borda, R., & Mendez, L. (2013). Media as Practice: Narrative and Conceptual Approach for Qualitative Data Analysis (Vol. 1).

Wulf, C. (2013). The search for multimodality: Mimesis, performativity, and ritual. In Multimodality and Social Semiosis (pp. 103-106). Routledge.


Julián de la Fuente. Assistant Professor of Media Studies at UAH. Ph.D in Communication, Education and Society. Master in “Communication and Learning in the Digital Society” by the University of Alcalá. Degree in History and Audiovisual Communication from the Complutense University of Madrid. Producer and audiovisual producer since 2002. He has directed short films, advertisements, documentaries and video clips. He has also created holographic installations, 3D projections and interactive screens. He is responsible for several projects to disseminate the cinematographic heritage.

Pilar Lacasa. Full Professor of Media Studies at UAH. Researcher at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Alcalá, she coordinates the Culture, Technology and New Literacies Research Group since 1998. She loves video games, new emerging communication technologies and classic European and American movies. Her research work has been developed from a socio-cultural approach. She has been a visiting at the Comparative Media Studies program (MIT), the University of Southern California, Annenberg Innovation Lab. Currently she is a visiting researcher at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (RMIT, Melbourne). Pilar is the author of Learning in virtual and real worlds (2013) edited by Palgrave (including a Henry Jenkins’ Foreword).

Rut Martínez-Borda. Professor of Media Studies at UAH. Researcher in the “Images, Words and Ideas Group” of the UAH and Young Researchers Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences category of the UAH. Call 2014. He has been visiting scholar at the Institute of Education (University of London), School of Communication (University of Westminster-London), University od Delaware – Philadelphia and collaborates with research groups from other Universities such as the Autonomous University of Madrid, National University of Distance Education (UNED) and University of Córdoba.

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