Keynote speakers

  • Paul Cobley, President of IASS-AIS, International Association for Semiotic Studies, Professor in Language and Media at Middlesex University, London, U.K.

Professor Cobley joined Middlesex University in 2013. Previously, he was Professor of Semiotics and Communications at London Metropolitan University.

He is the author of a number of books, including Cultural Implications of Biosemiotics (Springer, 2016), Narrative 2nd (Routledge, 2013) and The American Thriller: Generic Innovation and Social Change in the 1970s (Palgrave, 2000). He is the editor of The Communication Theory Reader (1996), Communication Theories 4 vols. (2006), The Routledge Companion to Semiotics (2009), Realism for the 21st Century: A John Deely Reader (2009), “Semiotics Continues to Astonish”: Thomas A. Sebeok and the Doctrine of Signs (2011), Theories and Models of Communication (Handbooks of Communication Science, Volume 1, with Peter Schulz) (de Gruyter Mouton, 2012), Semiotics and Its Masters Volume 1 (de Gruyter Mouton, 2017, with Kristian Bankov) among other books, co-edits Social Semiotics (with Terry Threadgold, and David Machin, 2004-present), and is associate editor of Cybernetics and Human Knowing (2007-present).

Paul Cobley is co-series editor (with Kalevi Kull) of Semiotics, Communication and Cognition (Mouton de Gruyter, 2007 to present) and co-editor (with Peter J. Schulz) of the multi-volume Handbooks of Communication Sciences (de Gruyter Mouton, 2009-present).

He was elected President of the International Association for Semiotic Studies in 2014, was made 9th Thomas A. Sebeok Fellow of the Semiotic Society of America in the same year and is secretary of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies.


  • Göran Sonesson, Professor of Semiotics & Director of Centre for Cognitive Semiotics, Division of Cognitive Semiotics, Centre for Language and Literature, Lund University, Sweden.

Göran Sonesson is a professor of semiotics at Lund University, Sweden, where he has directed the Semiotics Seminar since 1986, and has been the head of the Centre for cognitive semiotics since 2009.

He was the first president of the Swedish Society for Semiotic Studies (sffs) as well as the president of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS) 1992-2012. He has been Secretary General of the International Association for Visual Semiotics (IAVS/AISV) since 2001, and was elected its president in 2015.

Göran Sonesson also initiated Lund University’s doctorate in semiotics programme which formally started in 1998. His research interests include general and visual semiotics, the semiotics of gesture, linguistics, the semiotics of culture and, more recently, evolutionary and developmental semiotics. He has authored and co-edited a number of books, including Human Lifeworlds: The cognitive semiotics of cultural evolution (2016), Le Groupe μ. Quarante ans de rhétorique – Trente-trois ans de sémiotique visuelle Sous la direction de Maria Giulia Dondero et Göran Sonesson (2010), Pictorial concepts. Inquiries into the semiotic heritage and its relevance for the analysis of the visual world (1989), etc.


  • Dario Martinelli, Director of ISI, International Semiotics Institute; Scientific director of IASS-AIS World Congress Kaunas 2017, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania.

Prof. Dr. Dario Martinelli (1974), musicologist and semiotician, is Director of the International Semiotics Institute, Full Professor at Kaunas University of Technology, and is also affiliated to the University of Helsinki and the University of Lapland as Adjunct Professor. He is also Editor-in-chief of the series “Numanities – Arts and Humanities in Progress“, published by Springer.

As of 2017, he has published eleven scientific monographs and more than one hundred among edited collections, studies and scientific articles. His most recent monographs include: Give Peace a Chant (Springer, 2017), Basics of Animal Communication (CSP, 2017), Arts and Humanities in Progress (Springer 2016), Lights, Camera, Bark! (Technologija, 2014), Authenticity, Performance and Other Double-Edged Words (Acta Semiotica Fennica, 2011), A Critical Companion to Zoosemiotics (Springer, 2010), Of Birds, Whales and Other Musicians (University of Scranton Press, 2009). He also wrote a monograph of the “popular philosophy” type, entitled Lettera a un futuro animalista (Mursia, 2014), and translated in Lithuanian under the title Laiškai sūnui vegetarui (Kitos Knygos, 2017).

Besides his affiliations, he has been visiting professor in four academic institutions, and has been giving ca. eighty lecture courses in fourteen different academic institutions in Europe. In addition, Dario is currently developing a new research path called “Numanities”, devoted to the rethinking of the role and paradigm of humanities in nowadays society. He has been recipient of several prizes, including, in 2006, a knighthood from the Italian Republic for his contribution to Italian culture.


  • Massimo Leone, is IFK Senior Fellow - International Research Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Art and Design Linz, Wien; Professor of Semiotics, Cultural Semiotics, and Visual Semiotics at the Department of Philosophy, University of Turin, Italy.

He graduated in Communication Studies from the University of Siena, and holds a DEA in History and Semiotics of Texts and Documents from Paris VII, an MPhil in Word and Image Studies from Trinity College Dublin, a PhD in Religious Studies from the Sorbonne, and a PhD in Art History from the University of Fribourg (CH).

He was visiting scholar at the CNRS in Paris, at the CSIC in Madrid, Fulbright Research Visiting Professor at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Endeavour Research Award Visiting Professor at the School of English, Performance, and Communication Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Faculty Research Grant Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto, “Mairie de Paris” Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne, DAAD Visiting Professor at the University of Potsdam, Visiting Professor at the École Normale Supérieure of Lyon (Collegium de Lyon), Visiting Professor at the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Munich, Visiting Professor at the University of Kyoto, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, Visiting Professor at The Research Institute of the University of Bucharest, Eadington Fellow at the Center for Gaming Research, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Fellow of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Dynamics in the History of Religions Between Asia and Europe“ (Bochum, Germany), and Visiting Senior Professor at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna.

His work focuses on the role of religion in modern and contemporary cultures. Massimo Leone has single-authored seven books, _Religious Conversion and Identity: The Semiotic Analysis of Texts_ (London and New York: Routledge, 2004; 242 pp.), _Saints and Signs: A Semiotic Reading of Conversion in Early Modern Catholicism_ (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2010; 656 pp.), _Sémiotique de l’âme_, 3 vols (Berlin et al.: Presses Académiques Francophones, 2012), _Annunciazioni: percorsi di semiotica della religione_, 2 vols (Rome: Aracne, 2014, 1000 pp.), _Spiritualità digitale: il senso religioso nell’era della smaterializzazione_ (Udine: Mimesis, 2014), _Sémiotique du fundamentalisme: messages, rhétorique, force persuasive_ (Paris: l’Harmattan, 2014; translated into Arabic in 2015), and _Signatim: Profili di semiotica della cultura_ (Rome: Aracne, 2015, 800 pp.), edited thirty collective volumes, and published more than four hundred articles in semiotics and religious studies.

He has lectured in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. He is the chief editor of Lexia, the Semiotic Journal of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Communication, University of Turin, Italy, and editor of the book series “I Saggi di Lexia” (Rome: Aracne) and “Semiotics of Religion” (Berlin and Boston: Walter de Gruyter). He directs the MA Program in Communication Studies at the University of Turin, Italy.


  • Luis Emilio Bruni, is associate professor at Aalborg University – Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology – and directs the Augmented Cognition Lab., Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark.

His research interest in semiotics lies on cognitive processes and affective states in relation to digital, interactive, immersive and representational technologies, and in a broader perspective on the relations between cognition, technology and culture with focus on sustainability. Since 2004 he is at Aalborg University (Denmark) where he is associate professor at the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology and directs the "Augmented Cognition Lab".

For several years has been guest lecturer in bioethics and sustainability at the Department of Biology of the University of Copenhagen. From 1987 to 1991 was researcher at the Communication Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Centre "Semeion" of Rome, Italy, where he started his research in semiotics, cybernetics and epistemological perspectives in culture-nature relations. From 1996 to 1999 was especial adviser on biodiversity, bioethics and sustainable development to the Amazonian Parliament and was researcher at the Venezuelan Centre for Global and International Relations of the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He was founder member of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS), currently serves in its executive committee and is member of the editorial board of the Biosemiotics Journal.

From 2011 to 2017 was president of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS) and currently seats in its Board, as well as in the  board of directors of the International Society for Information Studies (ISIS).


  • Kristian Bankov (1970), is a professor of semiotics at New Bulgarian University and Department Chair of the Southeast European Center for Semiotic Studies.

His interest in semiotics dates back to the early 90s when, as a student in Bologna he attended the courses of Prof. Ugo Volli and Prof. Umberto Eco. Bankov graduated in 1995 and has since taught semiotics at NBU. In 2000 he defended a doctoral thesis at Helsinki University under the guidance of Prof. Eero Tarasti. In March 2006 he was awarded the academic title “associate professor in semiotics” and in 2011 he became full professor of semiotics.

Currently Professor Bankov is the Secretary General of the International Association for Semiotic Studies. The scientific interests of Prof. Bankov were initially in the field of continental philosophy of language, philosophy of Bergson and existential semiotics. He then focused his research on sociosemiotics and issues of identity. Since 2005 he has been exploring consumer culture, while recently his interest has been directed to the new media and digital culture. Kristian Bankov is the author of four books and numerous articles in Bulgarian, English and Italian. Together with Paul Cobley he started the “Semiotics and its Master” series, the first volume of which was published in 2017.