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Title: Intersecting spaces : exploring architectural students' meaning-making through a social semiotic multimodality lens
Author: O'Brien, Maeliosa
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 6167
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Intersecting spaces is a qualitative case study that examines a third-year group of undergraduate architectural students’ meaning-making in an Irish Higher Education(HE) Institute of Technology (IoT) through a social semiotic multimodality lens. Architectural students face many challenges in their studies but a core undertaking concerns their capacity to address the rhetorical component of making architecture. The research addressing architectural communication through a social semiotic multimodality lens, particularly in an Irish architectural education setting, is limited. My constructivist leanings underpinned my decision to develop a case study, and use four research tools, a focus group, observation, a questionnaire, and semi-formal interviews. My main research question considers to what extent the multimodal communication resources the participants use, during an observed review, work together to enact meaning? The research forming the frame for this study embodies five intersections between the architectural and social semiotic multimodality domains, namely ‘the environment’, ‘rhetorical component’, ‘resources’, ‘multimodality’, and ‘communication and learning’. Several main findings emerge. The participants’ level of insider knowledge relates directly to their ability to access and participate fully in the shared knowledge and skill base repertoire of the community of practice at the research site and shapes their rhetorical meaning-making. The participants’ multimodal literacy levels regarding choosing and using multimodal resources across the analogue and digital environment influences their ability to make rhetorical meaning. The dynamic nature of the orchestrated ensemble in the observed review underlines the performative aspect of the participants’ rhetorical meaning-making from the social semiotic multimodality angle. In foregrounding the overlapping architectural communication and social semiotic multimodality aspects of the architectural participants’ meaning-making, this study addresses my main research question. The study builds on architectural design and communication research by exploring the issue through an unfamiliar lens and contributes as an exemplar to the limited social semiotic multimodality research focused on meaning-making in the Irish architectural education context.
Supervisor: Hyatt, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available