Call for papers: Semiofest 2020 “Resemiotization: in Mexico City” (Mexico City, Mexico, May 27-30, 2020)


The theme for Mexico City Semiofest in 2020 will be that of resemiotization. Semiofest, Mexico invites you to explore the notion of repurposing meanings.

‘Resemiotization’ is a long and complex word that describes a natural and an artificial process.

Resemiotization relates to how meanings shift from medium to medium, from practice to practice, from context to context and from one cultural space to the next. Resemiotization concerns how signs are translated from and into different mediums and cultural spaces as a continuous social and cultural mechanism.

Mexico City is the perfect place in which to explore and to celebrate the idea of resemiotization since this notion is key a driver of Mexican culture.  Mexican visual culture is a mix of Meso-American and European-Catholic motifs. Our capital, Mexico City is the result of many influences – its very foundation, shrouded in myth, was a ‘resemiotization’ – a settlement built over a lake. The city repurposed in its architecture after a terrible earthquake and some areas of the city are full of layers of material -lava- and abstract meaning; pre-hispanic myths and modern material culture. The fashion, food, street art, metro station signs are evidence of this active play of meanings and rich tradition of Mexican resemiotization. We are excited to share with attendees our culture, but we also want you to come and tell us about your experience of this re-semiotization in your work and projects too.

As semioticians and students of semiotics we know meanings work through the associations they gain through their context in (re)-use. This is also a critical principle that governs branding. Originality in the semiosphere is usually a relative and seldom an absolute concept. Creativity as we know works via repurposing, re-contextualising and even recycling previously show meaning.

Indeed, it is arguably the sixth sense for how semioticians trace the circuits of meaning that marks us out as insight professionals within the business world.

So, resemiotization is both a social practice and an integral part of marketing strategies; re-semiotization is a key factor in rebranding and also takes part in the development of new products and services; re-semiotization always implies and demands innovation from all actors in a constantly changing digital world.

We invite you to share your working experiences of how you used research to identify opportunities for resemiotization or to deal with the consequences of a resemiotization or cultural shifts in applied projects using semiotic thinking. We would particularly welcome contributions in the following three areas:

  • Repositioning, Revamping, Relaunching: every product and service has a life cycle and brands need refreshing so as not to become obsolete so let us examine – how semiotics helps leverage the right meanings.
  • Code Borrowing, Subversion, Appropriation:  companies and brands need to adapt ads, packs etc to changing environments in order to thrive.  This often requires refreshing a brand with fresh meanings out in culture.
  • Multi-Modality, Transmedia, Inter-Mediality:  semioticians study not only visuals, but text, typography, moving image, sound, music and increasingly immersive digital worlds – how do these meanings change?

We invite case studies, methodological innovations, opinion pieces, theoretical developments in understanding, embracing and embodying change. As in any Semiofest, we welcome a broad range of contributions across any aspect of applied semiotics from commercial practices of design, advertising, branding and new media to the realms of education, welfare and social enterprise. Please submit us your proposal of no more than 500 words in length by January 1st, 2020 to cfp[at]

In your proposal please do clearly indicate:

  1. your name, organization and job title;
  2. the title of your presentation;
  3. whether you would like to present a case study, a position, a methodological innovation, or some other kind of format;
  4. academic research/critique a 300 word abstract of your presentation;
  5. three takeaways the Semiofest audience will benefit from in your work.

You can expect us to ‘resemiotize’ the same convivial Semiofest spirit you’ll expect! We’ve a packed schedule of networking, cultural tourism and a vibrant social programme planned, so expect great food, festivities as well as learning.

May 27th-30th, 2020, Mexico D.F. Let’s come together in an atmosphere of fun to share, learn & create new meanings!

In case of any queries, drop us a mail at

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