Dr. Simon Mark HARRISON

PhD English Studies (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)
MA English Studies (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)
BA French with Business (Swansea University)
Cert. CELTA (Swansea University) 
Cert. DAEFLE (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)


Visiting address
Phone: +852 34429608

Author IDs

Willing to take PhD students: yes


I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong, where I arrived after five years in the School of English at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (now the School of Education and English). Prior to moving to China I worked as an Adjunct Professor (ATER) at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris and spent two years on a postdoctoral fellowship with the Natural Media & Engineering group in the Human-Technology Centre at RWTH Aachen (in Germany). 

Research Interests/Areas

My interdisciplinary projects bring together gesture studies, embodied communication, and urban media research to reveal and understand person-environment relations and ecological cognition across multiple scales and contexts, primarily through video-based studies and micro-analysis of people sense-making together. Recent publications engage with, for example, the relational dynamics and intercorporeality of gift-giving between friends in China (to appear in Gesture), embodied interaction with the affordances of contrived affective environments inside luxury shopping malls (Frontiers in Psychology), and skilled practitioners attuning to (and resonating with) their audience and slides in creating knowledge on the TED Talk stage (Journal of English for Academic Purposes). Based on a decade-long study of gesture and negation with cross-linguistic examples from English, French, Chinese, and French Sign Language, my first monograph The Impulse to Gesture: Where Language, Minds, and Bodies Intersect (CUP, 2018) reveals some of the kinesic, linguistic, conceptual, discursive, and interactional forces that give rise to and shape the way people gesture as they converse, argue, discuss, and present. My second monograph was co-authored with David H. Fleming (University of Stirling) and emerged from our lived experiences of Chinese city life. Set in Ningbo during its transition to a 'new tier-1' city, Chinese Urban Shi-nema: Cinematicity, Society, and Millennial China brings empirical data, film-philosophy, ecological cognition, and other interdisciplinary approaches to our observations of Ningbo's rapidly changing urban/semiotic environment. The chapters take readers through different sites/sights around the city, developing arguments along the way regarding the synergistic convergences of screen media and city life (or cinematicity).



EN2722 Studies in English: Knowledge & Pathways

EN2011 English on the Move

EN2720 Persuasive Writing


In 2019, Simon Harrison, Renia Lopez-Ozieblo (PolyU), Catherine So (CUHK) and Gladys Tang (CUHK) co-founded the International Society for Gesture Studies - Hong Kong Hub.

Master's Dissertations

Dissertations supervised by Dr. Harrison in the area of gesture studies include:

  • Shi, Lujuan (2021). Language-Related Episodes from a Dynamic View: Multimodal Negotiation and Types of Communication Breakdowns during Peer Interaction. City University of Hong Kong.
  • He, Jingyi (2021). Interactional Competence and Gesture during Group Interaction: A Corpus-based Study of Language-Related Episodes. City University of Hong Kong.
  • Xu, Jian (2018). A Multimodal Analysis of L2 Learners’ Participation in Peer Interaction Concerning Language-Related Episodes. University of Nottingham Ningbo China. (with Dr. Yu-Hua Chen)
  • Stutzman, Levi (2017). Multimodal Corrective Feedback and Interactional Moves within Language-Related Episodes and Inscription-Related Episodes: An Analysis. University of Nottingham Ningbo China.
  • Stevens, Michael Paul (2016). Gestural Depiction and Conceptualization in Philosophical Exposition: A Microanalysis. University of Nottingham Ningbo China.
  • Wild, Jacob Lee (2015). Second Language Learner Multimodality and Linguistic Development in Naturalistic Settings: A Study of L2 Learners in the Chinese Street Market. University of Nottingham Ningbo China.