Colloquium in Chicago: Edwin Hutchins

Edwin Hutchins is the author of Cognition in the Wild, an influential book on how groups think. If I were closer to Chicago, I’d go. I might still go. Sounds pretty relevant to crossing the cultural divides that often separate, say, the business people from the development team.

Edwin Hutchins (UCSD) will be presenting a colloquium entitled “The multimodal production of common ground understandings” on Thursday, October 4th at 4:00pm. The colloquium will be held at Room 1-421, Frances Searle Building.

For more information on the TSB speaker series (and to sign up for announcements), visit

Edwin Hutchins

Effective collaboration requires the creation and maintenance of common ground understandings. This is an especially interesting problem in the case of intercultural collaboration, where communicative conventions may not be shared. However, intercultural collaboration often takes place in professionally relevant material settings and among people who share professional competence. In this paper we show how Japanese airline pilots and American flight instructors overcome pronounced differences in language and culture and achieve effective collaboration. They do this by drawing on a rich body of shared professional pilot culture and by exploiting richly multimodality situated communication practices to produce common ground understandings.

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