One of the most exciting and innovative fields of academic enquiry to emerge in recent years is the study of the interaction of words and images. The coexistence, collaboration and conflict between verbal/written language and visual or symbolic systems of communication is one of the most important encounters between different registers of signification to occur in everyday human discourse. So prevalent is this relationship that it touches almost every aspect of communication. Consequently, word and image studies attract academic attention from a diverse range of disciplines, including, but not limited to, art history, philosophy, literature, critical theory, linguistics, geography, social anthropology, ethnography, media studies, drama and film studies, cultural history, psychology and sociology.
The Scottish Word and Image Group (SWIG) was formed in 1994 and has established itself as a home for academics and artists who seek to promote this interdisciplinary approach to analysis and criticism. SWIG began holding conferences at the University of Aberdeen in 1994. In 2004 the group's organising committee moved to the University of Dundee, where the conferences are currently held. The conferences attract participants from all over the world, reflecting the group's international membership, and SWIG maintains close links with IAWIS (The International Association of Word and Image Studies).