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Visual Communication.

Theoretical, Empirical, and Applied Perspectives

DFG Priority Programme 2392


ViCom investigates the special features and linguistic significance of visual communication. This comprises sign languages as fully developed natural languages which exclusively rely on the visual channel for communication, but also visual means that enhance spoken language such as gestures. It aims at disclosing the specific characteristics of the visual modality as a communication channel and its interaction with other channels (especially the auditory channel) to develop a comprehensive theoretical linguistic model of human communication and its cognitive foundations.

  • Posts
  • Upcoming Events
  • Activities

Annual ViCom Meeting
November 8—10, 2023
Bad Homburg

DGfS Summer School 2024 “Form-meaning Mismatches in Spoken and Visual Communication”
August 12—24, 2024

May 2023

Production and implementation of short project videos

ViCom Coordination asked each project to produce a short introductory video.

These project videos are intended to present to the public the overall larger-picture questions that we are working on in ViCom – and to introduce the passionate researchers who are the heart and soul of ViCom.

Apr 2023

Vote on Mercator Fellow 2023/24

The ViCom central has issued a vote on the next Mercator Fellow 2023/24 in which all participants are invited to take part. The vote ends on May 15, 2023.

Mar 2023

Theory Workshop

On March 28–30, 2023, ViCom hosted a workshop for projects from its theory cluster at the Bold Campus in Königstein (Taunus). The main aim was to bring together ViCom researchers working on theory building and to identify core theoretical questions to be addressed by ViCom.

Feb 2023

Call for ViCom workshops

In February 2023, the ViCom central has issued a call for proposals for workshops organized by ViCom projects.

ViCom workshops can be of two different types:
– smaller workshops will be internal, topic-focused meetings of appr. 5 to 10 ViCom researchers,
– larger workshops will include a call for papers to attract outside researchers and a larger audience.

All workshops can be organized by at least two ViCom researchers, from at least two different ViCom projects. For the smaller workshops, we ask for proposals that outline:

a) which projects, and which project members apply for the workshop,
b) what the specific topic of the workshop is meant to be,
c) what costs will likely accrue, and
d) how the involved projects, or ViCom as a whole, can profit from the planned workshop.

For the application for the large workshops, the information in (a-d) should be provided as well, but please also, additionally:

e) how the workshop plans to attract ViCom-external researchers,
f) how the workshop plans to attract a wider audience, e.g., ViCom-external colleagues,

For (e), note that large workshops should generally include an open call for papers and should preferably be held in the context of larger conferences (e.g., DGfS, ESPP, SLE, LSA, CogSci, CNS, NBL, or similarly well-established outlets). Alternatively, large workshops can also be associated with the annual ViCom meeting, or be held as independent ViCom meetings, provided they reach the kind of audience outlined above. Possible fields of interest could be:

– interdisciplinary workshops on one of the three basic dimensions (theoretical, empirical and applied aspects), that bring together researchers with different approaches, optimally from different ViCom clusters, and
– cluster workshops, that foster exchange among researchers working in the same cluster (e.g. on gesture, animal communication, …).

Proposals are to be sent to ViCom’s project manager, outlining the requested info, by April 15th, 2023 (

We are looking forward to receiving many interesting proposals! 

Jan 2023

Call for proposals for short term collaborations

In January 2023, the ViCom central has issued a call for proposals for short term collaborations. 

The priority program can provide funds for six collaborative research activities between ViCom projects and for three research activities between ViCom members and external partners. The duration of these collaborations is up to four weeks and is particularly intended to be used for lab visits of early career researchers. These short-term collaborations can complement the ongoing work of the individual projects, to establish new internal and external collaborations and foster interactions with researchers not directly connected with ViCom. In additon, the short-term visits aim at providing additional experience and training for early career researchers, to give them the opportunity to build up a research network and establish new research activities. 

Each short collaboration team should consist of at least two ViCom projects (for the internal collaborations), or one ViCom project and one external partner (for the external collaborations). Results of these collaborations will be presented at the next possible annual ViCom workshops after the collaboration has achieved presentable results. In addition, the results of the collaborations will be documented on the ViCom website. ViCom projects can apply for financial support (especially for early career researchers and external partners), to help implement the activity. Travel and accommodation costs can be covered up to 1.500.- euro for each short term collaboration. 

Details on how and when to apply were sent by email to every ViCom member, and questions regarding these matters can be sent to the project manager at:

After the deadline (15th of March, 2023), the steering committee will discuss the applications and award the collaborations by the end of March. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask! 

Call for project video descriptions

The priority program ViCom aims to present and explain its scientific questions  and research methods to the public as early as possible. To this end, ViCom’s central project issued a call for short video descriptions of all ViCom project on January 18th, 2023. These video descriptions are expected to be available at some time after April 1st, 2023, and will summarize each project’s approach in concise, and easy to understand manner.

Tips, tricks, and help with any technical, organisational or data privacy-related questions can be found in the materials sent to all ViCom members and inquiries regarding these matters can be sent to:

Nov 2022

Report on ViCom’s kickoff meeting (November 2022)

From November 16th to 18th, the first annual ViCom meeting kicked off our Priority Program, ViCom. Set at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften in Bad Homburg, the meeting started with a brief introduction of the new priority program by the two coordinators, Cornelia Ebert and Markus Steinbach, and welcome notes by Prof. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann (Director of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften), Ulrich Schielein (CIO Goethe University), Prof. Rembert Hüser (Dean of the Faculty of Modern Languages) and Dr. Helga Weyerts-Schweda (Program Director of the German Research Foundation, DFG). Afterwards, all 19 projects presented their research topics and methodologies. The pretty long day was ceremoniously concluded with a reception at the Forschungskolleg, which offered the opportunity to continue the discussion in an informal setting. At the end of the day, all participants walked away with the impression that ViCom offers an enormous breadth of topics, and an impressive line-up of projects.

All projects are organised in at least one of 6 project clusters corresponding to the different research objects relevant for ViCom.