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Viadrina Gesture Center

Centre for Linguistic Gesture Research

The Viadrina Gesture Center is part of an international network on gesture research. As a platform for discussion, the centre invites people to work together towards a better understanding of gesture as an inherent form of linguistic communication and social interaction. Within various event formats, it promotes scientific exchange on the topic of gestures and language use. A particular concern of the VGC is to bring young researchers into discussion with international colleagues. One focus in this context is the DAAD-funded cooperation with researchers at the universities of Poznań, Toruń, Moscow, Paris and Amsterdam.

Presentations 2023
As-if brushing something aside. On gestures and their pragmatic functions (1)

On 25 April, as representatives of the Viadrina Gesture Center, Clara Kindler and Jana Katharina Junge present the theoretical and methodological approaches to gesture analysis during a visit to the Spanish Department of the Universitat de Valencia. There they meet Sandra Cabanes Perez, who was a guest doctoral student at Cornelia Müller's chair just a short time before. In the context of a talk on the topic As-if brushing something aside. On gestures and their pragmatic functions, they will present gestures with primarily pragmatic functions and discuss them with colleagues from the Faculty of Philology, Translation and Communication.

In particular, the lecture gives insights into the constitution of meaning of speech-accompanying recurrent hand gestures with primary pragmatic functions. The theoretical foundations for this were developed significantly in the research project "Towards a Grammar of Gesture: Evolution, Brain, and Linguistic Structure" (2006-2011) and have been published in several handbook articles in the HSK series 38.1 and 38.2 (Body - Language - Communication. An International Handbook on Multimodality in Human Interaction).


Presentations 2022

On 9 December, the International Society of Gesture Studies (ISGS) holds its online conference on A Day of Sense-Making. Living, Moving, Knowing, Feeling, Gesturing. VGC member Dr Silva Ladewig also gives a lecture on "The slapping movement as an embodied practice of dislike. Inter-affectivity in interactions among children". (Programme & registration, see link)

International Research Seminar „Multimodality – Discourse – Media"
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Since the summer semester of 2022, international young researchers have been meeting regularly at the International Research Seminar to exchange information about their current research. Master's theses, doctoral projects and doctoral dissertations are presented and discussed within the framework "Multimodality - Discourse - Media". This exchange is accompanied by experts.

The colloquium will also be continued this semester. On November 30th and December 14th from 6 to 8 p.m. sharp, exciting insights into current research projects will again be provided (for abstracts, see link above).

As an interantional format, the sessions will be held in English and via Zoom.

If you are interested in participating with or without a contribution, please send an email to Clara Kindler (kindler at or Katerina Papadopoulou (papadopoulou at For a contribution, please submit a short abstract of max. 200 words.


Wissenschaftspodcast "Talking Bodies"

Since November 21st 2021, Dr. Silva Ladewig (Viadrina) and Dr. Jana Bressem run together the podcast "Talking Bodies". Every two weeks, they explain, why ordering drinks can feel like flirting, why everyone stands on the outside at parties first and why we don't only speak with our mouths. From greetings in pandemic times over metaphors in everyday language to emojis on Twitter - the podcast sheds light on very different everyday practices.

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Talking Bodies on Twitter: @talking__bodies

Talking Bodies on Instagram: @talkingbodies_podcast

VGC Lecture Series

Since the Summer term 2019, lectures by national and international academics have been held regularly as part of the "VGC Lecture Series"..

May 14th 2019

Dr. Simon Harrison (University of Hongkong): From ‘body language’ to ‘linguistic bodies’: Towards a new popular science of the body/language relation


Profile picture SH ©© Simon Harrison Dr. Simon Harrison is assistant professor in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong and author of two books on gesture: The Impulse to Gesture(2018) and The Body Language Myth(in preparation). Simon was trained in gesture studies by the Towards a Grammar of Gesture team at the European University Viadrina and developed a focus on linguistic and cognitive aspects of gestures in naturally-occurring interaction. His recent studies include eye-gaze in multiactivity among lifeguards (Text & Talk), gesture in assisted performance during collaborative learning (Lingua), and embodied interaction in Chinese real estate showrooms (Metaphor & Symbol).


The current research topics among members of the VGC include:

Forms, Meanings, and Function of Gestures (Grammar of Gesture and Multimodal grammar)

Interrelation of Gesture and Speech

Semiotic Structures of Gestures

Cognitive Processes of Gesture Creation and Understanding

Gestures and their Relation to Signs

Dynamic and Multimodal Nature of Metaphors

Embodiment / Embodied Meaning

Languageing of Movement

Affective Grounding of Multimodal Metaphors

Gestures in media-specific interactions

Gestures and Emotions


Members of the Viadrina Gesture Center:


Clara Kindler, M.A.

Teresa Weigand, M.A.



Prof. Dr. Cornelia Müller

Prof. Dr. Nicole Richter

Dr. Silva Ladewig

Dr. Dorothea Horst

Dr. Jana Bressem

Franziska Boll, M.A.

Janett Haid, M.A.

Lena Hotze, M.A.

Katerina Papadopoulou, M.A.

Jana Katharina Junge, M.A.

Jeanette-Christine Bauer, M.A.



The Viadrina Gesture Center cooperates with various gesture researchers and centers in Germany and abroad and is part of an international network on gesture. Collaborators are:

Aachen Cologne-Aachen Gesture Colloquium (HumTec - RWTH Aachen)

Amsterdam Amsterdam Gesture Center (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam)

Berkeley Berkeley Gesture Group (Universty of California Berkeley, CA)

Chicago Center for speech and gesture research (University of Chicago, IL)

Leuven MIDI - Multimodality, Interaction & Discourse Group (Universität Leuven)

Moskau PoliMod - Multimodal Communication and Cognition Lab (Moscow State Linguistic University)

Nijmegen Nijmegen Gesture Center (Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik)

Poznan Diagest Research Group (Center for Speech and Language Processing, Adam-Mickiewicz Universität Poznan)

Torun Center for Language Evolution Studies (Nikolaus-Kopernikus-Universität Torun)


Past workshops (selection):

Workshop Analyzing expressive movement units in film and multimodal interaction with the chair's team of Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfänder at the Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg (February 2019, Freiburg).

Workshop with the chair's team of Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfänder at the Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg (February 2018, Freiburg).

Workshop with Diagest Research Group of the Center for Speech and Language Processing of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland (May 2016 in Poznań, Poland).

Workshop with the Diagest Research Group of the Center for Speech and Language Processing of the Adam Mickiewicz Universirz and with the Center for Language Evolution Studie of the Nikolaus Kopernikus of Toruń at the European University Viadrina (Dezember 18th 2015, Frankfurt Oder).

Workshop with the Diagest Research Group at the Center for Speech and Language Processing from the AMU (Poznań), Poland *May 4th/5th, 2012 in Frankfurt Oder)

Methods of Gesture Analysis at the Conference „Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM) 9“ in Lancaster, UK (2012) (together with Irene Mittelberg from RWTH Aachen)

Methods of Gesture Analysis together with Irene Mittelberg (RWTH Aachen) (Frankfurt/Oder 2007; Amsterdam 2008; Aachen 2009)

Forms and meanings of gestures: a linguistic approach to the description and analysis of gestures at the Gesture Focus Group, Speakers’ Series (Stony Brook University, USA)

Gesture and Cognition Course, together with Alan Cienki (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands) at the Syddansk Universitet, Odense, Denmark

Procida Gesture Annotation Workshop (2006)


Past colloquia:

Interdisciplinary Colloquium of the Berlin Gesture Center (together with Ellen Fricke, Hedda Lausberg, and Katja Liebal) for further information see website of the Berlin Gesture Center.