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March, 2021

Britta Brugman takes over university’s Instagram account for one day

The Instagram account of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (@vuamsterdam) regularly features staff taking over the account’s stories to give students a glimpse of what their teachers do on a normal day. On the 31st of March, Britta Brugman shared with the more than 20,000 followers what her PhDs is about and how she experiences combining doing research and teaching.

November, 2019

Meet our new student assistant: Pamela Smith!

Since November 2019, Pamela Smith joined our project team! Pamela Smith is a Master's student in Communication Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 

Pamela's main job entails the organisation and compilation of the exhibition "Politieke satire: De beeldtaal van spotprenten", which will be displayed in the OBA Roelof Hartplein in Amsterdam. In addition she will carry out some research tasks for both PhD projects

Pamela will help us with all of our project until July 2020. 

April 15, 2019

Opening exhibition 'Politieke satire, van spotprent tot meme!'

On Monday April 1, a mini-symposium took place at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in honor of  the opening of the exhibition Politieke satire, van spotprent tot meme!. Various speakers reflected on the role of political satire in our contemporary society.    

The symposium kicked-off with an introduction by Prof. Dr. Christian Burgers, followed by two interviews with Benjamin Kikkert (cartoonist) and Daphne Koene (secretary of de Raad voor de Journalistiek), and the official opening of the exhibition by Benjamin Kikkert en Ellen Droog.

About the exhibition

Do we live in a ‘golden age’ of political satire? On the one hand you would say yes: satirical news shows such as ‘Zondag met Lubach’ or ‘Last Week Tonight’, and satirical news websites such as ‘De Speld’ or ‘The Onion’ are immensely popular. With social developments such as Brexit and the rise of authoritarian leaders all over the world, there is also plenty of food for satire. But on the other hand, political satire already has a long history. We have seen examples of political satire since Roman-Greek antiquity, so how exactly did this genre develop over the years?


In this exhibition we take a look at the development of satire from the perspective of political cartoons. We compare modern cartoons with those from 50 and even 100 years ago. What we see is that today's cartoonists largely use the same visual language as the cartoonists from the past. However, a lot has changed as well, for example due to the rise of social media and other new technologies. In this exhibition, we therefore also take a look at the use of typical 21st-century phenomena, such as Internet memes.

The exhibition can be seen from 1 April to 31 June in the UB-Erfgoedvitrine at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

This exhibition has been compiled by drs. Ellen Droog and prof. Dr. Christian Burgers from the Department of Communication Science in collaboration with curator Hans Seijlhouwer from the University Library.

February 20, 2019

Interview with Christian Burgers in the NRC

For an article in the NRC (a Dutch newspaper) about satire, prof. dr. Christian Burgers was asked to talk about his view on the role of political satire in our contemporary society.


If you want to read the full article (in Dutch), please click this link:

October 1, 2018

Britta Brugman started her PhD Project!

As of October first Britta Brugman has started with her PhD project called: Satiric news across media: Linguistic features and communicative impact. Supervised by dr. Christian Burgers (VU), prof. dr. Elly Konijn (VU) and dr. Camiel Beukeboom (VU). The goal of this project is to study the linguistic features and communicative impact of medium in satiric news. In her project, she will contribute to debates about (1) whether (or not) satire differs from other genres (e.g., news, fiction) in terms of its linguistic register, (2) whether (or not) effects of satire on audience outcomes like enjoyment and attitude towards the topic depend on language use (e.g., the use of metaphorical vs. literal expressions), and (3) whether the answers to questions 1 and 2 differ across media (e.g., textual vs. audiovisual examples). Britta Brugman will use computer-automated linguistic analysis, sentiment analysis, and multiple lab experiments to ultimately determine the linguistic features and communicative impact of medium in satiric news. This project will run from October 2018 - September 2022.  


August 31, 2018

Project launch at the MetFest 2018!

Christian Burgers (PI), Britta Brugman (PhD) and Ellen Droog (PhD), opened the VIDI project ‘Contemporary Political Satire’, by presenting this new research project at the Metaphor Festival (an academic conference) in Amsterdam. From 30 August through 1 September 2018, the third Amsterdam Metaphor Festival took place at the University of Amsterdam. The Metaphor Festival is an annual conference on the use of figurative language and other modes of figurative expression. For more information about this Metaphor Festival check out the site of the Metaphor Lab: 

July, 2020

First research articles of PhD projects published!

The first articles of Britta' and Ellen's PhD projects got published this summer!

Britta Brugman investigated variations in prosodic features
and their relationship with satire liking. Her article is published in the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology and is titled "
Sounds Like a Funny Joke: Effects of Vocal Pitch and Speech Rate on Satire Liking". 

Ellen Droog created a typology of metaphorical humor in satirical news. Her article is published in the International Journal of Communication and is titled "How Satirists Alternate Between Discursive Modes: An Introduction of the Humoristic Metaphors in Satirical News (HMSN) Typology". 


If you want to read these articles, you can download them from the "publications" page.  

November 7, 2019

Britta Brugman talks about political satire in the Podcast: 'Makkelijk Praten'

On the 7th of November Britta Brugman appeared in the Podcast 'Makkelijk Praten'. This podcast airs every other week and features young scientists. Britta talked about her research in the VIDI project and the role of language in satiric news. 

If you want to listen to the whole podcast check:


February 20, 2019

Christian Burgers new Special Professor Strategic Communication UvA!

As of March 1 2019, dr. Christian Burgers will be appointed as special Professor of Strategic Communication at the University of Amsterdam's (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioral Science. This chair is founded by the Logeion Foundation, which is a Dutch organization for communication professionals.


In his role of Professor by Special Appointment, Christian Burgers will fulfill a bridging function between communication science and communication professionals. Logeion announced that: “His knowledge, interests and research areas fit very well with our desire to explicitly investigate new technological developments and their influence on the communication profession”. For more information about his appointment (in Dutch), see:

November 1, 2018

CoPolSat has joined the Red Hen Lab!

The Distributed Little Red Hen Lab™ is a global big data science laboratory and consortium for research into multimodal communication. To conduct the first studies of their PhD projects, Britta and Ellen will use the Red Hen database to create a corpus of textual and audiovisual (satiric) news. The Red Hen Lab is co-directed by advisory-board member Mark Turner) and contains more than 280,000 hours of media content.

For more information see:


September 1, 2018

Ellen Droog started her PhD Project!

As of September first Ellen Droog has started with her PhD project called: Figurative language and figurative images in satire: Use and processing. Supervised by dr. Christian Burgers (VU) and prof. dr. Gerard Steen (UvA). The goal of this project is to focus on the use and cognitive processing of figuration in satiric news. The function of satiric news (e.g., The Daily Show/The Onion) is to criticize a particular societal actor, often through the use of humor. Figurative language and images are abundantly used in satire, however it is not yet known what kind of role figurative language plays in forming this criticism and how the language of satiric news, might be different from the language of regular news. In this project she will try to uncover, through a combination of methods (corpus analysis, multimodal analysis, eye-tracking experiments), how figurative language and figurative images are used to construct criticism in satire (both written and audio-visual satire) and what the roles of figurative language and images are in processing and understanding satiric news. This project will run from September 2018 - August 2022. 

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