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.

Photo by Stefanie Wetzel

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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.

For ViCom’s first phase (September 1, 2022 – August 31, 2025), the DFG has approved of 20 projects which investigate visual communication phenomena in 3 basic dimensions: (a) theoretical, (b) empirical, and (c) applied. All projects are organised in at least one of 6 project clusters corresponding to the different research objects relevant for ViCom: (1) gesture, (2) sign language, (3) visual studies, (4) animal communication, (5) didactic and clinical aspects and language acquisition, and (6) human-computer interaction systems.

Photo by Stefanie Wetzel

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