The AUT Multimodal Research Centre is made up of researchers at Auckland University of Technology interlinked with an extensive national and international network.

Here at the Centre, researchers take a broad look at social interaction, working with a strong theoretical background, particularly taking into consideration:

  1. Linguistic theories from semantics, pragmatics and syntax to phonology and phonetics
  2. Theories in nonverbal communication
  3. Theories about space and place
  4. Learning theories
  5. Theories in socio-cultural psychology

With this theoretical backbone, and a robust methodology-empiricism nexus, we work with the assumption that communication, interactions, images or texts, are always multimodal.

Our work is highly interdisciplinary and touches on a broad range of areas such as Anthropology, Communication, Digital Humanities, Education, Face-to-Face Interaction, Human-Computer Interaction, Learning and Teaching, Linguistics (Text and Discourse Analysis), Mobility, Psychology, or Sociology.

History of the MRC

In May 2009 the MRC became the first multimodal research centre in New Zealand.

The MRC organically developed out of a Multimodal Research Group, first formed in 2007, when Dr. Sigrid Norris joined the School of Communication Studies at AUT. By 2009, the formally loosely knit Multimodal Research Group had developed into a strong network of researchers with a core interest in multimodal discourse, multimodality, and multimodal interaction analysis. At this point, the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies, of which the School of Communication Studies is a part, saw the need to create a more formal structure. Thus, the MRC was created, Dr. Sigrid Norris was appointed as the Director, and the Centre began to receive funding.

The MRC’s vision is to chart new territory by utilising and developing multimodal frameworks to advance academic inquiry and to positively impact the social communities we serve.


The MRC is organizing the New Zealand Discourse Conference for 2017 from 6 – 9 December. View the website at

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