Dr. Simon Harrison
Building 6070 | Room 402
Theaterplatz 14
52062 Aachen

Phone: +49 241 8025483
Fax: +49 241 8022493

Dr. Simon Harrison

I joined the Natural Media & Engineering group in Fall 2010 with an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship. The goal of my project is to study the use of gestures in industrial environments and explore the possibility of creating gesture codes to facilitate communication among workers (Manufacturing Communication). In addition to ethnographic and practitioner work on the shopfloor, I have studies in the Natural Media Lab to recreate aspects of industrial environments and measure how they affect gesture production with the Motion Capture system (Noise study). Underpinning this work are theoretical interests in multimodality, conventional aspects of gestures, sign language, and cognitive linguistics (Grammar, gesture, and cognition). I am also dedicated to helping graduates improve their speaking and writing skills (Graduate Workshops), making science accessible to the general public (Outreach), and serving as secretary general for the International Society for Gesture Studies. My research assistant is Matthias Priesters.

Research interests

  • Gestures in everyday and industrial environments
  • Cognitive linguistics and gesture studies
  • Negation and gestures
  • Comparative approaches to gesture in spoken and signed languages


2009 Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of Bordeaux, France.

2006 Visiting scholar. Department of Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley.

2005 M.A. in Linguistics, University of Bordeaux, France

2003 B.A. in French & Business, University of Swansea, Wales.


2009-2010 Lecturer, Linguistics, Department of English, Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3), France.

2007-2009 Teacher, English and scientific communication, Department of Languages, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France.

Graduate Workshops in academic speaking and writing

Applied research projects

2010-Present Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate factory (Aachen, Germany). Conducting observational studies on the shop floor and description of communication practices.

2009-2010 Delpierre salmon factory (Strasbourg, France). Creation, implementation and evaluation of a gesture code.

Professional affiliations and activities

Secretary General for the International Society for Gesture Studies




  • Harrison, Simon  (2011) The creation and implementation of a gesture code for factory communication. Proceedings of the GESPIN 2011 Gesture Conference, Bielefeld.

  • Harrison, Simon (2011). From theory to application. Using skills acquired in the humanities to solve communication problems in industry. In Newsletter for the Research and Applying Metaphor Association, February 2011.


  • Harrison, Simon (2010). Evidence for node and scope of negation on coverbal gesture. In Gesture 10:1, 29-51.


  • Harrison, Simon (2009). Grammar, gesture, and cognition: The case of negation in English. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Bordeaux, France.


  • Harrison, Simon (2008). The expression of negation through grammar and gesture. In J. Zlatev, M. Andrén, M. Johansson Falck, C. Lundmark M., Studies in language and cognition, 405 – 409. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.