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Special Interest Groups

What is a Special Interest Group?


Special Interest Groups (SIGs) enable conference attendees sharing a common interest to meet informally for 75 minutes of facilitated discussion during a scheduled session at the conference. SIGs offer excellent opportunities for dialog and deliberation on a specific topic. The conference provides each SIG with meeting space and advertises SIG meetings to the rest of the conference in the Extended Abstracts and Conference Program.


Quick Facts


Important Dates:


Submission Details:


Selection Process: Curated


Chairs: Jorge Goncalves, Xiaojuan Ma (


At the conference: Accepted SIGs will have a scheduled session at the conference.


After the conference: Extended Abstracts will be published in the ACM Digital Library.


Message from the Special Interest Groups Chairs


Special Interest Groups (SIGs) provide an opportunity to attract a group of conference attendees who share a common interest and engage them in face-to-face discussions. Organizing a SIG is a great way to start or extend your involvement in the CHI conference program. Several SIGs have evolved into other successful contribution types at subsequent conferences. In addition to interesting, timely and novel SIG topics, we also encourage creative approaches to conducting the SIG itself. While the SIG should provide a structure for discussion, successful SIGs have used exciting approaches to promote lively debate. For instance, last year formats for the SIG session included a designathon, a reflection exercise, and sketching group.


If you have any doubts regarding SIGs, we welcome you to contact us before submitting your proposal to discuss your ideas for innovative and attractive SIGs!


Jorge Goncalves, University of Melbourne, Australia

Xiaojuan Ma, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China



An Important Note on CHI 2020 SIGs


When you submit your SIG, we will ask you if this is a re-submission of a SIG that was accepted to CHI 2020. Such submissions will be welcomed but please note that they are not automatically accepted. The nature of SIGs is such that appropriate SIG topics and organizers change very rapidly; some will be more relevant than last year and some will be less relevant. Our space limitations, too, will be particularly significant this year.


The core responsibility of the SIG Chairs is to create a carefully curated list of SIGs which reflect the needs and desires and requirements of the community. We also need to be able to propose modifications and augmentations, like suggesting that SIGs be combined where appropriate. As such, SIGs accepted to CHI 2020 should feel free to plan on submitting for CHI 2021 with necessary changes that are compliant with this year's content and format requirements. You can also inform your potential attendees of that fact, but should not go forward under the assumption that the proposal will necessarily be accepted.


Preparing and Submitting your Special Interest Groups Proposal


SIG submissions must be submitted via the PCS Submission System. The proposal must have the following components (submitted as a single PDF file):

  • Extended Abstract: A 5-page description of the SIG (including references), suitable for publication in the ACM Master Article Submission Templates (single column). Note that we eliminate the old CHI extended abstract format (landscape) and use the same format as full papers.
  • Supplementary Material (also mandatory) using the same template and up to 2-pages.
    • A brief description of the community (or communities) to which this SIG would be of interest and why it is of interest.
    • Assumed attendee background.
    • The approach you will use for organizing and presenting the SIG.
    • An informal schedule of discussion topics.
    • Your plan to attract a reasonable number of attendees.
    • Which organizer should serve as the primary contact.


While not strictly required, we prefer that proposals be authored by a minimum of two individuals representing at least two different organizations. We also encourage prospective SIG organizers to examine examples of accepted SIG abstracts from recent CHI conferences, available for download from the ACM Digital Library.


Authors are strongly encouraged to work on improving the accessibility of their submissions, using recommendations found in the Guide to an Accessible Submission.


Special Interest Group Selection Process


Submissions are Curated; although the process is highly selective, it does not necessarily follow a reviewing process by a committee, and authors should not expect to receive formal feedback on their submission other than the selection decision.


We consider the following criteria, in descending order of priority:


Appeal to the community:  Is the topic both timely and of wide enough appeal to attract a significant audience?  At the same time, is the topic sufficiently focused to allow for productive discussion during the SIG meeting?  Too narrow, and the SIG might attract too few people; too broad, and it is difficult for progress to be made in the relatively short duration of a SIG.


Format: Is the proposed format conducive to discussion and shared insight? Will it be possible to achieve its aims?  SIGs are not workshops, nor project showcases, nor tutorials.


Diversity of perspective: It helps to be able to show that the SIG will be able to encompass a wide perspective, and that the organisers can accommodate and facilitate discussion across this breadth.  Places to show this are in the description of the intended community, the assumed attendee background, and the home institutions and disciplines of the organisers.


Continuity: Does the SIG support the development of a longer term interest group, for example follow-on SIGs or other types of contributions at subsequent CHI and other conferences, or a SIGCHI Community?  If the topic is a very recent or new one, or a revival of an old topic, then arguments will need to be made, to demonstrate that it is a topic that will persist, rather than simply being this year’s fashion. If the topic is a continuation of previous SIG(s), then it is necessary to present the latest developments of the topic and their projection into the future.


Submissions should not contain sensitive, private, or proprietary information that cannot be disclosed at publication time. Submissions should NOT be anonymous. However, confidentiality of submissions will be maintained during the review process. All rejected submissions will be kept confidential in perpetuity. All submitted materials for accepted submissions will be kept confidential until the start of the conference, with the exception of title and author information which will be published on the website prior to the conference.


Upon Acceptance of your Special Interest Group Submission


Authors of accepted submissions will receive instructions on how to submit their publication-ready copy (which will consist of your extended abstract only).


At the Conference


Accepted SIGs will have a scheduled, 75-minute long session at the conference. After your SIG is accepted, we will notify you what technical support will be available. Rooms will be set up to facilitate discussion.


After the Conference


After the conference, the organizers are encouraged to continue their SIG by organizing a workshop at a future conference or creating and maintaining a website. Accepted SIG abstracts will be distributed in the CHI Conference Extended Abstracts, available in the ACM Digital Library.

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