The Creative Power of Metaphor, 29th – 30th March 2019 at Worcester College, Oxford, UK

The Creative Power of Metaphor


29th – 30th March 2019 at Worcester College, Oxford, UK

Join us for a 2-day conference on the nexus between Metaphor, Linguistic Diversity, and Creativity.

The conference will be structured around four themes. Each theme will be introduced in a keynote lecture, and developed in a panel discussion.

  1. Metaphor and Linguistic Diversity

Keynote speaker: Lera Boroditsky 

  1. Metaphor and Emotion

Keynote speaker: Zoltán Kövecses

  1. Metaphor and Communication

Keynote speaker: Gerard Steen

  1. Metaphor and Creativity

Keynote speaker: Rachel Giora

Call for Panel Participation

Each panel is designed to explore issues raised by the preceding lecture, elucidating current thinking on areas relevant to the theme, and debating matters of controversy. We invite expressions of interest in participation. Your submission should include the following:

  • The panel in which you wish to participate
  • Your name, affiliation and, if relevant, the URL for your web profile
  • What you consider to be the most burning questions concerning the theme (max. 150 words)
  • Your relevant expertise and research (max. 150 words)
  • Your main relevant publications.

Call for Poster Presentations

We invite abstracts (max. 300 words) for poster presentations that are relevant to one or more of the four themes of the conference. Your abstract should include the following:

  • The theme or themes of the conference your poster will address
  • Your name, affiliation and, if relevant, the URL for your web profile
  • Your relevant research
  • Your research methods
  • Your findings and/or theoretical advances.


We welcome submissions from early career researchers to the panels and posters.

Please send submissions as email attachments to the following address:



Conference fee: £90

Reduced fee for students: £50

Registration will open in early November. Limited accommodation will be available.

The Organisers

Professor Katrin Kohl

Dr Marianna Bolognesi

Dr Ana Werkmann Horvat

The conference is part of the multi-institutional research programme Creative Multilingualism (, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Our research group is a large cross-disciplinary team of academics working on the nexus between linguistic diversity and creativity. The conference is being organised by Strand 1 of Creative Multilingualism: Embodying Ideas – the Creative Power of Metaphor:

We look forward to welcoming you in Oxford!


Research questions on the four themes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Metaphor and Linguistic Diversity
  • What is the significance of linguistic diversity for metaphor theory?
  • How does linguistic diversity in metaphorical expression affect and interact with thought?
  • Is a unified metaphor theory that can account for the variability in linguistic data possible?
  • How are cultural differences actualized in metaphorical expressions?
  • Do truly universal metaphors exist?
  1. Metaphor and Emotion
  • What is the connection between metaphor and emotion? Is it systematic across languages?
  • Are emotions more likely to be expressed using figurative language?
  • Is there a correlation between expression of emotion and creative use of metaphor? If so, is this universal or culturally specific?
  • To what extent are metaphors that are used to express emotions universal? Is there a systematic difference by comparison with other areas of expression?
  • How does multilingual competence relate to the interaction between metaphor and emotion? Does the expression of emotions using figurative language differ depending on whether the speaker is using a native language or a non-native language?
  1. Metaphor and Communication
  • Is the use of metaphors favoured as a persuasive communicative device across languages or are there languages/cultures/cultural contexts in which metaphors are avoided for such a purpose? To what extent are creative and deliberate metaphors used in communication (e.g., in political speech) affected by cross-linguistic and cross-cultural variability?
  • Does the use of metaphor to change attitudes and opinions correlate with the conventionality/creativity of the chosen metaphors?
  • How and why does resistance to metaphor develop?
  • What is the role of figurative language use in multilingual settings and does this differ from such use in monolingual settings?
  1. Metaphor and Creativity
  • Is metaphor an area of language that offers more scope for creativity than other areas of language? Is any correlation universal or culturally specific?
  • What are the differences in understanding creative vs. non-creative figurative language?
  • How are creative figurative expressions perceived by speakers and listeners?
  • What constitutes a good metaphor in terms of creativity?
  • Are speakers of different languages creative in different ways in metaphor use?