Semiofest (25th & 26th May 21012) held at Westbourne Studios in London brought together a community of commercial and academic semioticians from around the world.  A triumph of organization for Chris Arning and his team, this ‘celebration of semiotic thinking’ will no doubt be the first of many.

Space Doctors were well represented. Steve Seth was there on Day 1 and impressed particularly by Paul Cobley of London Metropolitan University’s virtuoso keynote talk on semiotics beyond culture – also by the whole opportunity to forge links with the academic world whilst retaining and developing the business and actionability awareness we at Space Doctors are known for.

Malex Salamanques and Malcolm Evans were there on both days. Malex presented a paper on design semiotics with Lucia Neva and was on the Design panel discussion picked out by many as the high point of Day 2.  At the Return on Investment panel discussion on Day 2, Malcolm participated with Vladimir Djurovic of Labbrand, our old friend from Serbia via Paris and Shanghai, and Graeme Smith of Southampton University.

Graeme’s speciality is broadsides “from the dark side” as he calls it, the client perspective – from which commercial applications of semiotics, in his experience, lack the accessibility, actionability and groundedness our clients have come to expect. He advised delegates to think, among other things, about: the procurement process and who’s authorizing the spend, understanding the marketing planning process, delving into and managing stakeholder expectations, and understanding the opportunity semiotics has to advise insightfully all the way around the marketing process.

All missed opportunities so far, Graeme felt, things he believed no one in semiotics was really doing. The brief silence hanging in the air at this point was broken by Semiofest founder Chris Arning’s comment: “Nobody except Space Doctors”

Independent endorsement of our thought leadership and best practice credentials is always good to have. And god speed the Semiofest mother ship. That was a giant step forward in teamwork, good will and commercial-academic dialogue. 

Huge thanks to Chris, Hamsini, Lucia, Sandra, Kishore, Pavla and all the crew.

You did an amazing job.