Our workshop was a great way to start the week at CHI. It can be a little crazy and this year was no exception after several days of jet-lag, a week of little sleep, delayed flights and a broken laptop (yep on the flight across from the UK, a colleague managed to spill gin n tonic across my laptop while I was preparing the presentation for the workshop!). It’s only now that I am coming round and catching up with myself.
In doing the workshop at the beginning of the conference, we felt it was a great success. We’ve highlighted additional areas of research that would be useful for delving into further, especially the pragmatics of developing research projects and partnerships and the messiness this inevitably entails in socially engaged arts practice within HCI. But most of all we met some great people who we would love to collaborate with in the future and it was good to spend some time with colleagues. We all know each other relatively well, but don’t always get a chance to spend time doing research with one another as we’re often working independently on our own projects. But there’s nothing quite like a workshop to do a bit of digging and exploring and we’re glad we had the chance to do this at CHI.
We’re still making sense of how in doing the workshop we are now more able to respond to the questions and themes we originally set for ourselves. We hope to do this over the next couple of weeks, with the materials we collated from the session. Within the group we discussed staying in touch and developing some form of network to work together to create an online e-zine in the future, which will probably need some additional funding.
Rather than laboriously going through what happened on the day, here are a delightful selection of images to give a flavour of what we got up to and some of the powerpoint presentations from the day.
We are delighted to announce as part of the workshop we will be joining Dr. Sara Diamond at OCAD University for a discussion on the future of interdisciplinary practices engaging with civic, political and societal change through arts and technology.
Diamond has an impressive list of achievements and accolades as an artist, academic, writer, curator, educator and cultural leader. She is OCAD University President and Vice-Chancellor and has long championed interdisciplinary collaboration, engaging artists and designers with engineers and scientists in a spirit of diversity and inclusion. From 1992 to 2005 she initiated visionary programs at the Banff Centre, Canada’s preeminent arts and creativity incubator. The Banff New Media Institute, created and led by Dr. Diamond during its first decade, provided a national venue and an international forum for exploring many of the ideas and challenges emerging from digital media.
OCAD University is Canada’s “university of the imagination”, leading in art and design, education and research. OCAD U contributes to local, global and cultural initiatives, knowledge and invention across disciplines, offering incredible depth and breadth in visual arts and design programs, while creating a unique environment combining studio-based learning with critical inquiry. UCAD U is located in the heart of Toronto, Canada’s largest centre for design, culture and business.
Jo, Clara, Ann and I, with Sara dropping in on Skype, have been meeting over the last couple of months to tie things down and prepare the schedule for our workshop at CHI. There’s around 20 of us will come together for the workshop from lots of different backgrounds and areas of research, from arts and theatre practitioners, hackers, curators, programmers, ethnographers, facilitators and those who don’t always like to be assigned a fixed title preferring to move between these different names. One of the main challenges we’ve been working on is how do we bring people together from very diverse backgrounds and parts of the world to encourage rich discussions on socially engaged arts practice within HCI without flattening this diversity out. It’s been good fun trying to find out. As part of the organising committee, and through this process, we’ve all got to know one another a bit more and understand where we’re all coming from. Some of this has been recognising that we purposively don’t have the same understanding of socially engaged arts practice and HCI, as we have all had different experiences of working within and researching these disciplines, and that we need to work with this wealth and diversity of experience, rather than come to some clear agreement of what it is and what it isn’t, without being too vague! So we’re hoping the workshop maintains and follows that energy and diversity in Toronto in a months time.
FInal submissions came in on Friday, with an exciting bunch of example projects that artists and researchers from around the world have been working on. The organising committee (sounds very grand, but there were just four of us huddled around a little table in Ann’s office, with Sara chatting to us via Skype), got together yesterday to discuss the submissions and start to make plans for the workshop. With just three months to go before we head to Toronto, we’re all super excited with a ton of ideas based on the diversity of the submissions we received. At the moment, we’re all just going through the submissions as a way of getting to know people who will hopefully be joining us at the end of April in Toronto. Wooo hoo!
We’re still open for proposals for our exciting workshop Socially Engaged Arts Practice in HCI workshop at CHI in Toronto this year. We’ve extended the deadline to midnight PT 24th January as we know there are lots of people updating their CHI papers ready for submission and also people are submitting to the DIS deadline too.
We’ve had quite a bit of interest so far, which is really exciting, but we’re hoping by extending the deadline we will be able to encourage more people to come and join us. So if you’ve got something to contribute drop us a line. See our Call for Participation for more information.
Our CHI 2014 workshop proposal was recently accepted on the role of socially engaged arts practice in HCI. As practitioners and researchers in this field we are really passionate about the potential created by working between these areas and want to engage with others who share similar commitments and interests.