Arlene Archer


Professor Arlene Archer is the co-ordinator of the Writing Centre at the University of Cape Town. She convenes the South African Multimodality in Education research group

Her research employs a multimodal social semiotic perspective to interrogate issues around social justice, academic writing, academic literacies, and semiotic constructions of authenticity. She has over 76 publication and has supervised postgraduate students in these areas of interest. She has co-edited four books on multimodality and writing and has headed numerous internationally funded projects, including a collaboration between Sweden and South Africa (STINT/NRF) and a British Academy Fellowship to investigate changing writing in a digital age. She is a co-founding editor of the SAGE journal Multimodality and Society


Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • Archer, A. 2022. A multimodal approach to English for academic purposes in contexts of diversity. World Englishes.Special edition: ‘World Englishes and English for Specific Purposes’. 41, 4. 545 – 553.

  • Price, C. and Archer, A. 2022. Resemiotisation of resources: tracing the movement of resources in landscape architectural design trajectories. Visual Communication. 22, 1. 152 – 173.

  • Archer, A. and Westberg, G. 2020. Establishing authenticity and commodifying difference: a social semiotic analysis of Sami jeans. Visual Communication. 21, 2.195–217

  • Archer, A. 2019. Recognition of diverse students’ experiential and multimodal resources for access. Punctum. International Journal of Semiotics. 5. 1. 10 – 23.

  • Archer, A. 2014. Designing multimodal classrooms for social justice. Classroom Discourse. 5, 1.106 – 116.

Edited books

  • Archer, A. and Breuer, E. (eds.) 2016. Multimodality in Higher Education. G. Rijlaarsdam and T. Olive (Series Eds.),Studies in Writing, Vol. 33, Leiden: Brill. ISBN9789004312050.

  • Archer, A. and Breuer, E. (eds.) 2015. Multimodality in Writing. The state of the art in theory, methodology and pedagogy. G. Rijlaarsdam and T. Olive (Series Eds) Studies in Writing Vol.30, Leiden: Brill. ISBN9789004296572

  • Archer, A. and Newfield, D. (eds.) 2014. Multimodal approaches to research and pedagogy: Recognition, resources and access. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-71673-4. 


Book chapters

  • Archer, A. 2022. Recognition of students’ resources in digital environments. M.G. Sindoni and I. Moschini (eds) Multimodal literacies across digital learning contexts. Routledge Studies in Multimodality. 152 – 165. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780367681043.

  • Archer, A. and Björkvall, A. 2019. Material sign-making in diverse contexts: upcycled artefacts as refracting global / local discourses. A. Sherris and E. Adami (eds) Making signs, translanguaging ethnographies: Exploring urban, rural and educational spaces. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 45-63.