Interdisciplinary workshop, ZiF Bielefeld, 22nd and 23rd of March, 2012

As an umbrella term, ‘literacy‘ refers to a number of children‘s abilities, such as linguistic literacy (the ability to read and write), literary literacy (the ability to produce and interpret narratives) and visual literacy (the ability to produce and interpret pictures). In ‘early literacy‘, relating to the preschool years, these abilities develop in a cross-fertilizing way, accompanied and steered by other processes of cognitive, sensomotoric and interactional maturation and learning. As a first step towards understanding these complex processes, the workshop will bring together scholars from linguistics, cognitive psychology, and children‘s literature research. The topics raised in this workshop will be discussed along three basic assumptions: 1) Children‘s literacy is a specific input; a theory of language acquisition has to account for how this form of input influences learning processes. 2) A crucial property of children‘s literature is that it considers children‘s cognitive and language skills; a theory of children‘s literature has to explain this property. 3) Cognitive abilities develop within complex situational acts; a theory of cognitive psychology has to explain how language acquisition and emerging literacy are fostered in such complex situations. Our discussion will lead to a road map for a hitherto neglected and unknown territory.

Invited speakers

  • Chiara Barachetti, University of Verona, Italy
  • Pamela Blewitt, Villanova University, USA
  • Patricia Ganea, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Petra Gretsch, Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg, Germany
  • Angela Grimminger, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Jessica Horst, University of Sussex, UK
  • Gunther Kress, University of London, UK
  • Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany
  • Jörg Meibauer, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany
  • Claudia Müller, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
  • Kerstin Nachtigäller, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Maria Nikolajeva, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Uta Quasthoff, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
  • Elaine Reese, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Katharina Rohlfing, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Constanze Weth, Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg, Germany
  • Petra Wieler, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

You can find the programm here.


Please contact the conference office (Ms Trixi Valentin) for registration.

The deadline for registration is 31st of January, 2012.

There is no registration fee, but participants and non-members of Bielefeld University might book full meals for 36 € (cash payment at ZiF).


ZiF Bielefeld - Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (Center for Interdisciplinary Research)

Organizing committee


For further information, please contact the organizing committee.

Group photo of the participants of the workshop


Welcome to the Homepage of the Bielefeld Symposium on Asymmetric Interactions, to be held at CITEC (Bielefeld University) on the 30th and 31st of May, 2011.

Symposium Programme

How to get there

The Call for Contributions can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

The symposium aims at bringing together researchers interested and/ or active in the field of interaction analysis to discuss and exchange ideas around one general topic: Adaptive processes in asymmetric interactions.

Asymmetric interactions are interactions in which the interacting parties have different communicative and cognitive resources at their disposal. Such interactions could occur between mother and infant, teacher and student, expert and novice, between typically and atypically developed partners, between humans and other animals, and between humans and technical systems, robots or artificial agents. Due to the different expectations and capabilities of the parties involved, these interactions need to undergo active adaptive processes in order to be successful and achieve a sense of mutuality or understanding.

Within the present symposium we shall look into various asymmetric interactional settings and address questions along the following lines:

  • What are the adaptive processes at play within these various types of interactions?
  • How do they unfold over time?
  • Are there any strategies to be found across interactional settings?
  • How does culture affect adaptive behavior?
  • Which are the communicative resources used by interacting partners?
  • Which methods can be used to best capture these processes?
  • What can we learn from non-human species?

Invited Speakers

  • Carolin Demuth, Culture and Development, University of Osnabrueck, Germany
  • Anna Filipi, Education Faculty, Monash University, Victoria Australia
  • Michael Forrester, School of Psychology, University of Kent, UK
  • Joan Murphy, Talking Mats Research and Development Centre, University of Sterling, UK
  • Karola Pitsch, Applied Informatics & CoR-Lab, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Federico Rossano, Developmental and Comparative Psychology Group, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany


Important Dates

Abstract submission March 25
Notification of acceptance March 31
Registration open April 1
Symposium May 30-31

Symposium Programme


CITEC Graduate School

Organizing Committee

Iris Nomikou, Emergentist Semantics Group, CITEC, Bielefeld University
Katharina J. Rohlfing, Emergentist Semantics Group, CITEC, Bielefeld University


or any further information please contact Iris Nomikou at:




Stream 3 - Structuring and Coordination Attention: Module 1 and 2

The modules aim at investigating the ways in which attention mechanisms develop within situated contexts and natural interactions. More specifically the focus lies in analyzing the ways in which young infants’ perception is educated through social interactions with their caregivers. It will introduce participants in working with natural interaction data. Using an existing corpus of video data, comprising longitudinal recordings of interactions of mothers with their preverbal infants, the participants will learn to use qualitative micro-analytical methods of interaction analysis to systematically describe the strategies that mothers use to recruit, maintain, direct and reward infants’ attention and the modalities involved in such attention educating practices. A further central question will be how this behavior is adapted to the evolving perceptual capacities of the infant, i.e. how it is modified as the infant develops.