Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Lisa El Refaie

Dr Lisa El Refaie


Ysgol Saesneg, Cyfathrebu ac Athroniaeth

+44 29208 76338
Adeilad John Percival , Ystafell 3.61, Rhodfa Colum, Caerdydd, CF10 3EU
Sylwebydd y cyfryngau
Ar gael fel goruchwyliwr ôl-raddedig


I am originally from Vienna, where I studied Communication and Journalism           and worked for several newspapers and news agencies.

I wrote my PhD thesis           at Bradford University on metaphors in newspaper articles about asylum           seekers, and then taught at Plymouth University for four years.

I am part of the Centre for Language and Communication Research.

Additional publications

Research monograph

El Refaie, E. (2012) Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards 2013 (Best Scholarly/Academic Work category).

Review by Jan Baetens (2013) in European Comic Art 6(2): 126–152.
Review by Mostafa Abedinifard (2014) in Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 5(4): 477-479.

Refereed journal articles

El Refaie, E. (2015) Scoring a goal or an own-goal against disease? A multilevel framework for describing metaphor coherence in health campaigns. Metaphor and the Social World 5(1): 102-123.

El Refaie, E. (2015) Reconsidering “image metaphor” in the light of Perceptual Simulation Theory.Metaphor and Symbol 30(1): 63-76.

El Refaie, E. (2014) Looking on the dark and bright side: Creative metaphors of depression in two graphic memoirs. Auto/Biography Studies 29(1): 149-174.

El Refaie, E. (2014) Appearances and dis/dys-appearances: A dynamic view of embodiment in Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Metaphor and the Social World 4(1): 109-125.

El Refaie, E. (2014) Heterosemiosis: Mixing sign systems in graphic narrative texts. Semiotica. 202: 21-39.

Hörschelmann, K. and El Refaie, E. (2014) Transnational citizenship, dissent and the political geographies of youth. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 39(3): 444–456.

El Refaie, E. (2013) Cross-modal resonances in creative multimodal metaphors: Breaking out of conceptual prisons. Review of Cognitive Linguistics (special issue Multimodality and Cognitive Linguistics) 11(2): 236–249.

El Refaie, E. (2012) Of men, mice, and monsters: Body images in David Small’s Stitches: A Memoir. The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 3(1): 55-67.

El Refaie, E. (2011) The pragmatics of humor reception: Young people’s responses to a newspaper cartoon. HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 24(1): 87-108.

El Refaie, E. (2010) Subjective time in David B’s graphic memoir Epileptic. Studies in Comics 1(2): 281-299.

El Refaie, E. (2010) Visual modality versus authenticity: The example of autobiographical comics. Visual Studies 25(2): 162-174.

El Refaie, E. and Hörschelmann, K. (2010) Young people’s readings of a political cartoon and the concept of multimodal literacy. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 31(2): 195-207.

El Refaie, E. (2009) Multiliteracies: How readers interpret political cartoons. Visual Communication 8(2): 181-205.

El Refaie, E. (2005) ‘Our purebred ethnic compatriots’: Subversive irony in newspaper journalism.Journal of Pragmatics 37(6): 781-797.

El Refaie, E. (2004) Dramatist with a talent for dramatisation: Elfriede Jelinek’s manipulation of the media. German Life and Letters 57(3): 327-341.

El Refaie, E. (2004) Competing discourses about Austria’s Nazi past and racist bomb attacks in the 1990s. Journal of Contemporary European Studies 12(2): 215-230.

El Refaie, E. (2003) Understanding visual metaphor: The example of newspaper cartoons. Visual Communication 2(1): 75-96.

El Refaie, E. (2002) Keeping the truce? Austrian press politics between the July Agreement (1936) and the Anschluss (1938). German History 20(1): 44-66.

El Refaie, E. (2001) Metaphors we discriminate by: Naturalised themes in Austrian newspaper articles about asylum seekers. Journal of Sociolinguistics 5(3): 352-371.

Chapters in books

El Refaie, E. (forthcoming 2016) Analysing metaphors in multimodal texts. In: Semino, E., Koller, V. and Demjén, Z. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language.

Forceville, C., El Refaie, E. and Meesters, G. (2014) Stylistics and comics. In M. Burke (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. London: Routledge: 485-499.

Hörschelmann, K. and Refaie, E. (2014) Youth citizenship beyond consensus: Examining the role of satire and humour for critical engagements in citizenship education. In D. Buckingham, S. Bragg and M.J. Kehily (eds.) Youth Cultures in the Age of Global Media. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: 225-241.

El Refaie, E. (2013) Transnational Identity as Shape-Shifting: Metaphor and Cultural Resonance in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese. In S. Denson, C. Meyer, and D. Stein (eds.) Comics at the Crossroads: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic: 33-47.

El Refaie, E. (2009) Metaphor in political cartoons: Exploring audience responses. In C. Forceville & E. Urios-Aparisi (eds.) Multimodal Metaphor. Berlin and New York: Mouton-de Gruyter: 173-196.

El Refaie, E. (2009) What makes us laugh? Verbo-visual humour in newspaper cartoons. In E. Ventola and J.A. Moya Guijarro (eds.) The World Told and the World Shown: Multisemiotic Issues. London and New York: Palgrave: 75-89.

El Refaie, L. (2006) The Austrian tabloid newspaper Neue Kronen Zeitung and its campaigns against people who ‘foul their own nest’. In J. H. Brinks, S. Rock, E. Timms (eds.) Nationalist Myths and Modern Media: Contested Identities in the Age of Globalization. London: Tauris: 173-186.

El Refaie, E. (2005) Strangers in Schengen Europe: Discursive constructions of refugees in Austrian newspaper texts and images. In J.G Partridge (ed.) Getting into German: Multidisciplinary Linguistic Approaches. Bern: Peter Lang Verlag: 219-243.

Online article

El Refaie, E. (2012) Visual authentication strategies in autobiographical comics. Comics Forum30.11.2012.







  • El Refaie, E. 2016. Analysing metaphors in multimodal texts. In: Semino, E. and Demjén, Z. eds. The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language. Routledge Handbooks in Linguistics London: Routledge















Book sections



From  2005-2007, I was working on a British Academy funded research project that explored  young British people's interpretations of newspaper cartoons, Editorial Cartoons and Geopolitical  Perceptions. It was conducted in collaboration with the Human  Geographer Kathrin Hörschelmann from Durham University.

More  recently, I have been researching the multimodal narrative forms and functions  of so-called '˜graphic narratives'™ (serious book-length comics for adults). This  work culminated in the publication of a research monograph, Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in  Pictures, University Press of Mississippi.

My  current research focuses on the use of comics for educational purposes  (including health care), and, more broadly, on visual/multimodal forms of  strategic communication.

Postgraduate students

I  am interested in supervising doctoral research in the field of visual and  multimodal analysis and, more broadly, media discourse analysis. I am currently  supervising a PhD student who is analysing the media orchestration of  charitable giving, and have previously (co-)supervised work on the semiotics of  sound in film, private and public commemorations of war, and the framing of  risk in relation to climate change in British television news.

Research interests

My main research interests are in visual and multimodal  communication, with a particular focus on autobiographical comics (or 'graphic  memoirs'), newspaper cartoons, and the use of visual storytelling in health  campaigns. Much of my work has explored the differences between verbal and visual/multimodal  forms of metaphor.

For  the past three years I have been working on a project with Whizzkids  United, an international NGO based in South Africa,  using comics drawing workshops to encourage teenagers to express their thoughts  and feelings about HIV and Ebola, and to share important health messages with  their peers. The resulting booklets can be viewed in our Whizzkids archive.


I am currently teaching Introduction to Human Communication  (SE1107), Visual Communication (SE1373), and an MA module in Multimodality (SET010).


Ymunais â Phrifysgol Caerdydd yn 2005. Cyn hynny, gweithiais fel Darlithydd Almaeneg ym Mhrifysgol Plymouth.

Fe wnes i fy PhD ('Flooding Fortress Europe': Metaphor and Visual Rhetoric in Austrian Newspaper Distalks about Asylum Seekers) ym Mhrifysgol Bradford, a chyn hynny cwblheais TAR mewn addysg uwchradd ac MEd mewn Addysg a'r Cyfryngau.

Rwy'n wreiddiol o Fienna, lle astudiais y Cyfryngau a Newyddiaduraeth, a gweithio i sawl papur newydd ac asiantaeth newyddion. Ysbrydolodd hyn rai o fy mhrosiectau ymchwil cynharaf, gan gynnwys ar wleidyddiaeth gwasg Awstria yn y cyfnod rhwng y rhyfel (1936-1938), cynrychioliadau cyfryngau o'r dramodydd cyfoes dadleuol o Awstria, Elfriede Jelinek, a throsiadau llafar a gweledol (ar gyfer fy PhD) mewn adroddiadau wasg Awstriaidd am geiswyr lloches.

Meysydd goruchwyliaeth

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Alternative comics and graphic novels (including part-creative projects)
  • Visual and multimodal metaphor
  • Political cartoons
  • Visual and multimodal communication in any context/medium/genre

I am currently supervising three PhD students:

  • Supervisor (100%) for Sabrina Toumi - Political Cartoons of Mass Protest in North Africa
  • Co-Supervisor (50%) for Lauren O'Hagan - Class, Culture and Conflict in the Edwardian Book Inscription: A Multimodal Ethnohistoric Approach