Lisbeth Frølunde


  • Universitetsvej 1, 40.2

    DK-4000 Roskilde


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Personal profile


Frølunde's (Frolunde's) research areas are visual communication, arts-based research methods, dialogic theory, and narrative inquiry about existential themes. Her current focus is on aesthetic and ethical issues in relation to health, aging and dementia in the family. She is integrating arts-based approaches inspired by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi (imperfection or flawed beauty) and Kierkegaard's concepts of despair and joy.

She is completing research on the arts and health in the "Dancing with Parkinson’s" project, which was a collaboration between Roskilde University, the Danish Parkinson's Association and Tivoli Ballet School, funded by the VELUX Foundation, HUMPraxis Programme (2019-2022). Please read more about "Dancing with Parkinson’s"


Her research is in the intersection of the medical humanities and participatory and embodied approaches within arts-based research. She is interested in the potentials and challenges of telling personal stories about illness and their reception, especially through stories and imagery, often as graphic novels (comics). The interest in storytelling includes writing/illustrating her own autofictional stories and drawing short "comics" or graphic novels, including on Parkinson's disease and dementia in the family. The personal and psychological is seen in light of cultural, historical and political contexts. She applies narrative and visual methods, such as memory work with photos and poetic representation inspired by artist Lynda Barry, among others. She has participated in the 2018 course taught by artist Halfdan Pisket on making comics under "Skolen for Tegneseriekunst" at Gladiator publishers.

Previous research topics are immigration experiences, the representation of ability/disability and aging, affect in the mediation of memories, trauma, mourning, and the mix of comedy and tragedy. She has studied online digital practices and identities using critical cultural perspectives on social media, with focus on cheating, polarization and echo chambers. Another research topic is visual research communication applied to academic videos aimed at audiences outside academia. These topics relate to dialogic and narrative concepts about inclusion/exclusion, difference, ethics and voice. 

A key research motivation is to explore the potential for social change through media and the arts. Her interest in art and creativity is grounded in embodied, expressive practices (drawing, dancing, etc.) as ways humans communicate and learn throughout our life span - we return to play, design, writing, as ways to find awe or wonder and meaning.

Her research also has a critical approach to creating meaning with a historical perspective on media ecology. For instance, video production and dissemination has changed with adoption of platforms such as Instagram, twitter, YouTube and TED Talks. The many kinds of audiovisual stories shared in our current online ”folk culture” incur changes in the media ecology. The Internet may be a new printing press, but the transformations in media production and distribution raise many questions about not only authorship, but our sense of presence.


She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Communication Studies theory with special focus on visual, narrative and multimodal communication and the rise of digital technologies, including data visualization. Courses include: PhD course on Autoethnographic Methods and graduate level courses Narrative and Visual Communication. She also teaches courses on the Bachelor level: Health Communication, Introduction to Communication Theories, and workshops on Digital Media, Video, Storytelling and Animation.

She supervises group projects for Danish and international students on the graduate level. A sample of the students' project topics are: songwriting and identity, cross-cultural communication related to a refugee art exhibit, creativity discourses in the design sector, food waste, the failures of anti-smoking campaigns, critical approaches to international aid on twitter, audience reception of documentary films on war, dialogic approaches to representing mental illness, ethics regarding visual elicitation as interview method.


Besides the Velux Foundation grant (2019-22), Frølunde has received funding for her post.doc. research (2009-11) at RUC from two sources: Nordic Innovation, and KINO (a strategic research grant under the Danish Research Council), both with focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and new digital media production practices.
Previous funded research work are grant from Linneaus University, Sweden (2009) on digital storytelling. She was the sole Danish researcher funded by the Norwegian Media Council, as part of the Scandinavian project Making a Filmmaker (2008-09) on young Scandinavian filmmakers.

Her PhD (2004-09) was funded in part by KINO under the research project DREAM (Danish Research on Education and Advanced Media) led by Professor Kirsten Drotner. She received an additional grant from the Ministry of Education to support the collaborative production of educational materials on animation filmmaking with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

PhD studies

Her PhD is from the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, 2009. Animated Symbols, her doctoral thesis, concerns how young people design animated films and the notion of a critical, multimodal design literacy. Her PhD stay abroad was at University of California Berkeley under the supervision of Prof. Glynda Hull.


Frølunde’s background combines research training and practical experience in visual communication, visual art, design, computer human interaction, as well as clinical art therapy and education.

She earned an MA from Lesley University Graduate School, Cambridge, Mass., and a BFA from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. She has lived in Denmark since 1991.

Her work experience includes as Concept Developer for the LEGO Group in Billund and London (1997-2001), products included Mindstorm robots, the Friends girl-oriented product line, Creator 3D worlds, Bionicle, and film-editing LEGO software. She was a free-lancer in the publishing, IT and game industry as usability consultant, multi-media designer, and game illustrator back in the 80's when Boston was a hub for game design.

She was art teacher and project leader for the Danish Red Cross (1992-95), co-led a newspaper and facilitated arts and writing workshops for asylum seekers. She worked as an art therapist at museums and public psychiatric hospitals (including day hospitals under Harvard Medical School) in Cambridge, Mass., USA, (1985-90).

Frølunde has previously taught and supervised at several universities. She taught communication design at the IT University in Copenhagen (2001-02), taught expressive art therapies on the graduate level (in a Danish program under the European Graduate School, Switzerland, 1991-96), and at Lesley College Graduate School, USA, (1985-88). She was research assistant at Learning Lab Denmark, the Danish School of Education, collaborating closely with Prof. Mitch Resnick from MIT Media Lab, USA, on bringing Computer Clubhouses to Denmark (2001-04).


  • Literature, Art, Music, Aestheticism
  • Artbased research
  • Art theory
  • dance
  • graphic novels
  • poetic inquiry
  • visual writing
  • collaboration as creative practice
  • comics
  • Autobiographical writing
  • arts as therapy
  • Aesthetical learning processes
  • Communication, Journalism, Media
  • visual methods
  • media ecologies
  • Media history
  • autoethnography
  • Dialogic communication
  • cross-media productions
  • narrative theory /storytelling
  • social semiotics
  • multimodality
  • Discourse analysis
  • Health, Medicine
  • Ethics of communication
  • Health care
  • narrative and graphic medicine
  • narrative and existential psychotherapy
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Education, Learning, Training
  • Pragmatism
  • Kierkegaard

Publication network

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