Christoph Hottiger

Christoph Hottiger, MA

Doctoral student SNSF Video Group

Tel.: +41 (0) 44 634 39 65

Anschrift: Freiestrasse 16, 8032 Zürich

Raumbezeichnung: FRF J 1

Christoph Hottiger ist seit 1. Februar 2017 Doktorand beim UFSP Sprache und Raum.

Provisorischer Titel: Doing Reading in Interaction - A Conversation Analytical Investigation of the Interactive Use of Exhibit Texts in a Science Centre (Dissertationsprojekt)

My PhD project is part of the larger project Interactive discoveries: A video and eye-tracking based study of knowledge construction in science centres, which is led by Wolfgang Kesselheim and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The goal of this project is to improve our understanding of visitors' interactive processes of understanding and discovery when they are using hands-on exhibits in the Swiss Science Center Technorama in Winterthur, Switzerland. In order to do so, we employ a methodological framework rooted in multimodally enhanced conversation analysis. In this context, my PhD project focusses on the texts attached to exhibits and the way they are used interactively by visitors to the museum.

This focus on exhibit texts and their use in a science centre was developed in a data-driven way: Our team compiled a corpus of over 35 hours of video and partially eye-tracking data which document interactions of pairs or small groups of visitors in the Technorama. When screening this data, it became clear that despite the museum's explicit focus on hands-on exhibits, visitors rarely did not make some kind of use of exhibit texts during their examination of an exhibit. This indicates that the use of exhibit texts is an important component of the social practice of using exhibits in the Technorama. Therefore, my project focuses precisely on the different techniques of using these texts while interacting at the exhibits.

Analytically speaking, the actual use of the exhibit texts in visitors' interactions takes centre stage. In this process, the methods and concepts developed in conversation analysis, multimodal interaction analysis and workplace studies are used. Questions of interest in this process include the following:

  • What are the exhibit texts used for in interaction? That is to say, what pragmatic use do visitors ascribe to the texts?
  • When are the exhibit texts used? At the beginning of the process of engaging with an exhibit as an instructional tool? Or at the end to look for answers and background information?
  • How are the texts used and how do participants indicate that they are using the texts? For instance, do visitors read passages of text aloud or do they simply mark their reading by mumbling? Are bits of text fed into the participants' verbal interaction after reading and if so, how are they marked as coming from the text (e.g. codeswitching)?
  • How do the participants indicate that their use of the exhibit texts does not constitute a deselection of interaction? For instance, this could be done by positioning the interactants' bodies in specific ways, by marking longer passages of silent reading as accountable, or by marking text usage as a side sequence.
  • How are different types of knowledge gained at the exhibit (practical knowledge gained by using the exhibit vs knowledge acquired by reading the text) negotiated in interaction?

The PhD project is supervised by Wolfgang Kesselheim and Heiko Hausendorf.

Netzwerk Raumtheorien

Christoph Hottiger und Christina Brandenberger leiten das sogenannte "Netzwerk Raumtheorien", eine Gruppe von Doktoranden und Masterstudenten, die sich regelmässig treffen, um Daten und theoretische Texte zu Fragen der Sprache und der Konstruktion und Nutzung von Raum in Interaktion zu diskutieren.

Organisierte Workshops

Workshop on knowledge in interactionon (Technorama, Winterthur, Switzerland) (mit Wolfgang Kesselheim und Christina Brandenberger)

Workshop «Ein Entdecker kommt selten allein» an der Scientifica, Universität Zürich (mit Wolfgang Kesselheim und Chrsitina Brandenberger)

Dezember 2016
Workshop mit Federico Rossano, Universität Zürich (mit Wolfgang Kesselheim, Christina Brandenberger und Kenan Hochuli)


Seeing and Noticing – Videoanalyse in Action (V) Gattungen, Formen und Strukturebenen, Graduate  School, Universität Bayreuth (Data session chaired: Visitor interaction in museums)

Doctoral School, Workshop in Leysin on Question-answer sequences, Speakers: Hebert Clark, Stanford; Mats Ekström, Gothenburg; Joanna Thornborrow, Université de Bretagne Occidnetale; Tanjy Stivers, UCLA

Besuchte Konferenzen

Creative Collisions: Ecsite Annual Conference, Genf. Präsentation: Analysing visitors' conversations (mit Armin Duff, Wolfgang Kesselheim und Christina Brandenberger).

VALS-ASLA Conference. A Video Turn in Linguistics? Universität Basel. Präsentation: What is the phenomenon? The multimodal achievement of joint discoveries in science centres (mit Wolfgang Kesselheim und Christina Brandenberger).

GAL Sektionentagung der Gesellschaft für Angewandte Linguistik 2017, Universität Basel.

Boundaries and Transitions in Language and Interaction: Perspectives from Linguistics and Geography, UFSP Sprache und Raum der Universität Zürich, MonteVerità, Beitrag: Poster: Defining the Boundaries of Exhibits in Science Centres – Between Architecture and Visitors’ Usage (mit Christina Brandenberger).

Young Researchers Conference of the Centre for Research on Social Interactions (CRSI-YR) 2017, CRSI Doctoral Program, Universität Neuchatel. Präsentation: Making Individual Sensorial Experiences Available in Interaction: A Video and Eye-Tracking Based Study of Knowledge Construction in Science Centers (mit Christina Brandenberger).


Interactive Discoveries. Oder: Wie wird im Technorama gemeinsam Wissen konstruiert? (mit Wolfgang Kesselheim und Christina Brandenberger). Mitarbeiteranlass des Swiss Science Center Technorama, Winterthur.

Sharing perception when using hands-on exhibits in science centres: The case of vocal depiction (mit Christina Brandenberger). Forschungsnachmittag des UFSP Sprache und Raum an der Universität Zürich – Projektpräsentation als Teil der Forschungsgruppe ‘Interactional Spaces.’


Brandenberger, Christina & Hottiger, Christoph (2018): Sharing perception when using hands-on exhibits in science centres: The case of vocal depiction. Travaux neuchâtelois de linguistique 68, 59-68.