Semiofest Mumbai 2018 “’METANOIA’: CELEBRATING CHANGE”

Semiofest Mumbai 2018


Semiofest, Mumbai invites you to explore the notion of societal, business and branding change by asking you how semiotics and related methodologies can help us navigate the spirit of accelerating change at work and in the world.

We live in a chaotic and shape-shifting world today.  Artificial Intelligence and chat bots, a multi-polar world and rise of autocratic leaders are some of the forces changing societies in unpredictable ways.  In business, disruptive business models such as UBER and Airbnb have scaled at break-neck speed.   Digital technologies and media platforms allow information to circulate instantaneously.  Alt-facts, post-truth, the bombardment of messaging through many digital platforms, have led to more content but arguably, less  meaning.

‘Metanoia’ is the name for acts of resilience and adaptive learning in times of turbulence and opportunity. It is indeed adaptive evolution that brings a more ‘meaningful’ approach to dealing with changing situations than holding on to well-established ways that are in imminent danger of being rendered obsolete.

Semiotics as a discipline is uniquely placed to provide perspective and deeper insight into the workings of these forces how they change meanings.  It can help brand and business owners, and organizations to reshape their cultures, their brands, communication and their people, to better grapple with change.

We invite you to share your experiences working of how you used research to identify and model change or have helped your clients identify or prepare to deal with cultural shifts using semiotics and semiotics related methodologies. We would particularly welcome contributions in the following areas:

  1. Understanding Change: The forces of change impact societies, cultures, categories, brands and products unpredictably.  Identifying the signs of change early helps mitigate risk and maximise opportunity. R-D-E is a well-established semiotic methodology for understanding change.  What else?  What’s new?  How can semiotics thinking track soft signals and bring to Trends/Foresight work for products, brands and categories?

  1. Embracing Change: Companies and brands need to adapt to changing situations and environments in order to thrive.  This requires them to reposition brands, bring new product lines, alter communication tonality, bring in fresh narratives, talk new languages, adapt organization cultures.  belief systems.  How can Semiotics enable companies to embrace and embed change to redesign, reconstruct, or even ‘recode’ their systems?

  1. Embodying Change: Some lead change and act as change makers.  They are the visionaries who seek to make a different world.  They take on the conventional wisdom that causes organizations, products and processes to stay stuck or decline, to bring about a new way of thinking and doing. How can Semioticians assist or even partner change makers?  And what can the semiotic enterprise do to inspire or to pioneer 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 June 1st, 2018 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

But it’s not all about dizzying change in Mumbai, India for Semiofest… Some things thankfully stay the same. You can expect the same convivial Semiofest spirit! We’ve a packed schedule of networking, safari excursions and a vibrant social programme planned, so expect fun and festivities as well as learning!

October 24th-27th, 2018 @Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai, India Let’s create together an atmosphere of fun, sharing and learning

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