World Futures: Multimodal Viewpoint Construction by Russian International Media Project

Dr Anna Wilson, REES, University of Oxford and Dr Peter Uhrig, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg have won a grant from the UK-German Funding Initiative in the Humanities (DFG-AHRC) for the project:

World Futures: Multimodal Viewpoint Construction by Russian International Media

Discussions of futures have never been more important and challenging than now when the world finds itself fighting COVID-19. People engage in conversations about what our lives will look like after the pandemic, and so do the media. The media often talk about futures to frame the way we think, and the media use viewpoint construction rooted in the depiction of futures as a subtle but powerful approach to manipulate and influence public opinion.

The project’s three main research questions are:

  • How is effective disinformation constructed and communicated by media multimodally?
  • How does the way people imagine futures enable the construction and communication of multimodal disinformation?
  • How can a combination of human and machine approaches help us research multimodal disinformation effectively?

In the true spirit of the digital humanities, this 2-year project will fuse cognitive and corpus-driven/based analyses of language, prosody, and gesture with area studies (regional knowledge: culture, literature, history, and society), while leveraging latest developments in machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision to tackle the problem at scale. The project combines multimodal analysis of Russian international media broadcasts (English and Russian) with the analysis of audiences’ comments on social media to open a window onto viewpoint construction in the audiences’ minds and thus provide additional validity to linguistic analysis of disinformation.