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Countdown to CHI 2019!

The new year is here, registration will soon be open and the countdown to May for a great CHI in Glasgow begins! The content of the scientific programme is shaping up to be very exciting, with the acceptance of papers, case studies, courses, workshops and symposia, doctoral colloquia, etc. already done and the final content getting decided following the last set of deadlines on 7 Jan.

This emerging programme has only happened because of all the fantastic contributions from the CHI community, both as authors/contributors and as reviewers and committee members. Submissions to all the main tracks has grown significantly this year. We want to acknowledge the enormous amount of volunteer work from our track chairs and their teams  – thank you! We also recognise that this has been much more work than usual, for both the chairs/volunteers and authors, as we deal with the impact of numerous changes beyond our direct control, like PCS 2.0, new (emerging!) templates and so on. All of these changes are for good reasons but their implementation has proved more difficult than anticipated. We know this has added work and frustration all around so thank you for sticking with it. We also invite you to volunteer to help improve processes for next time (see the new year email from Helena Mentis, our SIGCHI President).

As we prepare for CHI2019, we’d like to share some of the new initiatives we’re undertaking, many in response to survey feedback from past CHIs. These include:

Weaving the threads: Our theme is ‘weaving the threads of CHI’ and we are trying to encourage this weaving of people in multiple ways to create more opportunities for people to meet and connect:

  • A Newcomers Reception will help to orient new people to the CHI conference experience and to help them meet others in the CHI community
  • Lunch@CHI’ will enable you to have lunch with people who share similar interests
  • CHI Stories will allow you to get to know colleagues in a different way and encourage us all to share our stories
  • We will provide various spaces throughout the venue for people to meet up informally, including some on-site catering for buying lunch and eating together – more to come as we get the space and plans settled.

Equity: A key part of weaving the threads is ensuring that all ‘threads’ are equally welcome and included. Towards this, we now have Equity chairs who work alongside Accessibility, Language Inclusion, Family/Childcare, and the Diversity and Inclusion Lunch chairs to ensure we have a more coordinated and joined up approach to promoting equity. In particular, we hope to provide a network of allies to help increase awareness of the ACM Policy on Discrimination and Harassment and to better support people at the conference.

Industry: We’d love to encourage more industry involvement in CHI and towards this we have great enthusiastic Industry Liaison chairs who are looking at how to better connect with practitioners and the UX community. Keep your eyes open for a Tuesday evening UX event.

Sustainability: We are taking some great steps towards making CHI more sustainable, recognising of course that international travel is still a huge part of getting to conferences. We have some wonderfully enthusiastic Sustainability chairs who are exploring how we can make CHI more sustainable. Some of the actions we have taken include:

  • The all virtual PC meeting saved significant amounts of international travel and produced an excellent programme, and in doing so also enabled more diverse participation of ACs/SCs who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend
  • We will not hand out a conference bag by default this year. The feedback we get is that these often tend to get thrown away before people even fly home. Instead, we will provide the option of purchasing a high quality reusable bag for those who still want one
  • We are providing sustainable options for merchandise and using more locally-sourced food and drink for the breaks at the SEC where feasible
  • We are reducing the amount of paper we generate by simplifying the print programme to give key overview information. We will use the web site and mobile app for more detailed information, as well as a pdf that people can download in advance. For accessibility or for those people who might need a printed version, you can request it as part of registration.

Evening events: We have created a programme with something on offer all participants every evening: the Opening reception on Monday; the Job Fair, Industry event and CHI Stories on Tuesday;  and a reception at the Glasgow Science Centre on Wednesday evening thanks to the City of Glasgow.

The parties that different organisations host around the CHI conference are outside of our remit and control. However, we do hear feedback about these parties setting up a competitive and exclusive culture. While we have no control over these, we have put in place some Party Liaison chairs whose remit is to talk to party hosts and see what can be done to make events more inclusive.

Remote participation: We will live stream all, or almost all, papers sessions so that those who can’t attend in person can join in. We are trying something new for telepresence, with human proxies for social events, breaks and lunches.

We’ll be asking the chairs of many of the tracks mentioned above to write a blog post to provide more details.

We’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone in Glasgow in May!

Geraldine and Steve, CHI 2019 General Chairs