Christopher Vezza

PhD Candidate in Text/Image Studies / 

Research title: From Emblem to Album: Cover Art and Text/Image Interplay.

Research Summary

Drawing upon a cross-century methodology, my research explores the bimedial art of twentieth century record sleeves by analogy with emblematics of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Which motifs may be hidden in the art of record sleeves that likewise proved popular in the Early Modern emblem tradition? Might one discover tripartite structures comprising title, image and text that evoke the emblema triplex of Andrea Alciato's pioneering and first-of-its-kind Emblematum Liber of 1531? Do certain sleeves conceal allegorical meanings that require an intricate process of decoding on the part of the receiver, much like the way emblems involved innovative reading practices and symbolic modes?

By way of case studies, I examine particular sleeves that may be considered 'emblematic', including designs by Alex Steinweiss, Burt Goldblatt, Storm Thorgeson and Winston Smith. Distinguishable by their unique bimediality, these sleeves form the basis of my argument for new parallels between the modern age and the Aetas Emblematica of the Early Modern period. 


'Paul Robeson's Songs of Free Men: The Cover Art of Alex Steinweiss as a Modern Emblem', Response: The Journal of Popular and American Culture, Vol. 5 Issue 2 (2020).

'Nirvana's Nevermind: Exploring the Audiovisual Mosaic', My Kind of Sound: Popular Music and Audiovisual Culture, ed. Enrique Incabo, Cambridge Scholars (2021)


Dr Peter Davies Scolarship (MPhil)

Collaborative Research Award (Picturing Sound Conference)

David and Rhona Nicol Travel Scholarship (Coimbra Emblems Conference)

Helen Beedie (Italian Studies)

Mary G Ross (French Studies)


'Robert Crumb's Cheap Thrills Album Artwork: Interpretive Questions and Text/Image Interaction', Graphic Brighton, Brighton (2018)

'Nirvana's Nevermind: Sound, Image and New Technology', Congreso de Música y Cultura Audiovisual, Murcia (2019)

'Emblematic Structures in the Bimedial Art of Twentieth Century Record Sleeves', The Emblem Underground, Glasgow (2021)


French Level 1 Beginners (written language tutor)

French Level 1 Culture (seminar tutor)

French Junior Honours (written language tutor)

French Senior Honours (support classes)

The European Emblem (guest lecture)