Allyship Fireside Chat

  • May 10, 2021

To achieve equity for all members of our community at CHI2021, we should all be allies! How? Great question. Participate in CHI2021’s allyship program which consists of a curated informational YouTube playlist and a panel-style session.


Wehbe has created a two-part program to learn how we can be effective allies to others in our community. First, have a suggested viewing YouTube channel which curates videos focusing on the discussion of allyship and equity. Second, we have a panel-style session, which will focus on generating discussion and suggestions on how to be a supportive community member in sigCHI.


By signing up for this program, you are helping us continue our work as a community. Our goal is to understand the barriers to inclusion for diverse people including personal factors such as membership in the LGBTQ2++ community, differences in ability, physical appearance, race, culture, and language; in addition to accepting multidisciplinary views in the research community.


The allyship program has no additional cost and is open to all attendees. Selecting ‘Yes’ above will result in further information sent by email. To accommodate multiple timezones, the panel will run a live 1-hour session (time TBA) and an accessible recording of the panel. The asynchronous discussion will be made possible via online discussion platforms.


Read enough? The rest of this post includes all the information you need to know to participate in the event.



1. Required "Readings" YouTube Playlist


In continuation of earlier initiatives, CHI 2021 will feature an Allyship program. Given that COVID19 has changed the format of everything, we have taken this opportunity to allow for more flexible information sessions via the online YouTube curriculum.


The benefits? Supporting the content creators who are often non-government funded organizations NGOs, charities, and lobbying bodies through our viewership. After completing the online viewing, come to the Allyship events to participate in the constructive conversation in a 'safe space', where safe space rules will be in effect.


GDI Allyship Chair, Rina R. Wehbe and the Globalisation, Inclusion, and Diversity (GDI) CHI2021 team have put together a list of YouTube Videos for you to watch. Learn about allyship and equity terms and concepts!


Search "Allyship Crash Course" curated playlist by Rina Wehbe or paste this link into your browser:


2. Fireside Chat Preparation


Do you have questions about what you have read, saw, or heard? No problem, you can send questions for the panel In advance via Google forms.



3. Accessing the Session


  • All registered attendees should have received their login and access details, to the conference, one week ago. If you need this resent, please email <
  • Find information about this event on Delegate Connect
  • View the panel recording on YouTube.


4. Attendance 


Monday, May 10th, 11 am EST (Toronto)*


*please check the conference schedule in your timezone for local time in your area. In case of discrepancy, follow the conference program via delegate connect.  



A picture of Helena MentisA picture of Michael MullerA picture of Rita Orji

A picture of Shaowen BardzellA picture of Vinoba VinayagmoorthyA picture of Rina R. Wehbe

(from left to right)


Helena Mentis, ACM

“Helena is an associate professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), a faculty member in the Human Centered Computing graduate program, and the Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Learning in the College of Engineering and Information Technology. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She investigates how collaboration and coordination are achieved and better supported, primarily with regards to information sharing and decision making in healthcare contexts. In turn, she develops interactive systems to investigate the effects of new mechanisms for collaboratively sensing, presenting, and interacting with information. Helena has been the President of SIGCHI for the past three years and prior to that was the Executive Vice President for three years. Since serving on the SIGCHI EC, she has helped to transform how SIGCHI supports its diverse membership from bolstering our various travel and support funds to championing the adoption of SIGCHI CARES. As outgoing President she will contine to focus her efforts on CARES and the growing need for clear and comprehensive policies and procedures for handling bias, discrimination, and harrassment throughout SIGCHI activities.”


Michael Muller, IBM Research & sigCHI CARES

Michael Muller is a IBM Researcher. He has been actively promoting work in equity. He  is currently involved in the organization of sigCHI CARES.



Shaowen Bardzell, & sigCHI CARES

Shaowen Bardzell is a Professor at Pennsylvania State University; Chair, SIGHCHI CARES; VP, SIGCHI Executive Committee and advocate for equity. She is currently involved in the organization of sigCHI CARES.



Rita Orji, University of Dalhousie 

“Dr. Rita Orji is a Canada Research Chair in Persuasive Technology and an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University where she directs the Persuasive Computing Lab. Her research is at the intersection of technology and human behaviour with a particular interest in investigating user-centered approaches to designing technologies to assist people for actions and causes that are beneficial for them and their communities as well as how technologies can be designed for the under-served population in developing countries. She applies her research to tackle real-life problems in various domains including improving wide range of health and wellness objectives such as promoting mental health, and discouraging risky health behaviours including risky sexual behaviours, smoking cessation, promoting safety, security, and environmental sustainability. Above all, Dr. Orji is a Champion of diversity and inclusion in STEM through her numerous activities and using herself as a practical example. She founded the Education for Women and the Less Privileged foundation. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of female tech. leaders; promoting research excellence; and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in STEM. How work and EDI in STEM advocacy have attracted numerous awards, grants, and recognitions.”



Vinoba Vinayagmoorthy, BBC & sigCHI AC for equity

"Dr. Vinoba Vinayagamoorthy is a Project Research & Development Engineer with the BBC working on how broadcasters (and content makers) could have more personal ‘conversations’ with audiences on interactive and immersive platforms. She is especially interested in using insights in user behaviour to generate novel experiences, that takes advantage of emerging platforms, while still ensuring user needs are met. She has research interests in HCI, (social) VR, AR, connected TVs/devices and interaction design. Her research activities can be seen on her research page. She has published with (and reviewed for) ACM SIGCHI, ACM IMX, ACM VRST, Eurographics, IVA, CGF and IEEE TVCG.


She is VP for Conferences on the ACM IMX Steering Committee and an Adjunct Chair for Equity on the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee (2020/21). She was a Technical Programme Chair for IMX 2018, Diversity Chair for IMX 2020, Industry Chair for IEEE AIVR 2020, Technical Programme Committee member for MMVE 2021 and is General Chair for IMX 2021. She also serves on the organising committee for CHI 2022.


She is also a BBC STEM Ambassador and volunteers with Inspiring the Future. Before joining BBC R&D in 2007, she worked as a research fellow, on the EPSRC supported Equator IRC project, in virtual environments and computer graphics at University College London (UCL) specialising on building virtual characters. She has a PhD from UCL in Computer Science and a BEng in Information Systems Engineering from the University of Surrey."


Moderated by Rina R. Wehbe, Globalisation Diversity and Inclusion, Allyship Chair CHI 2021, 2022, sigCHI CARES, & University of Waterloo


“Dr. Rina R. Wehbe (she/her) Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc. is an academic researcher at the University of Waterloo where she has defended her Ph.D. Mathematics, Computer Science at Cheriton School of Computer Science. Her research interests include collaboration, equity, user difficulty, and usable privacy. She applies her work to the domains of games, interface design, and productivity applications. Her unique interdisciplinary background B.Sc. Psychology and M.Sc. Computer Science informs her work.

Highlighted Publications:


Rina R. Wehbe, Terence Dickson, Anastasia Kuzminykh, Lennart E. Nacke, and Edward Lank. 2020. Personal Space in Play: Physical and Digital Boundaries in Large-Display Cooperative and Competitive Games. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–14. DOI:


Rina R. Wehbe, Edward Lank, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2017. Left Them 4 Dead: Perception of Humans versus Non-Player Character Teammates in Cooperative Gameplay. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 403-415. DOI:


Rina R. Wehbe, Elisa D. Mekler, Mike Schaekermann, Edward Lank, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2017. Testing Incremental Difficulty Design in Platformer Games. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 5109-5113. DOI:


For a full list of her publications check out her Google Scholar page and personal website“


Attend via the conference platform! Login and open the menu on the left hand side, you will see the allyship subcategory. Open the page and follow the instructions to join the meeting.


Need help using Delegate Connect?


5. Post-attendance chat


Still have questions and ideas?! No problem, continue to use the conference platform to discuss all throughout the conference and social media! Let's all have meaningful conversations about our CHI Culture, join me on Twitter, Please tweet! @rinarene #chi2021 #equity4all #allyship


Please tweet! @rinarene #chi2021 #equity4all #allyship


6. Continue your quest to be an ally!


You have taken steps to further your goal to be an ally. Remember, there is always more to learn about equity, inclusivity and allyship; hence, I advise you to do your best and keep on learning.
Go and do your best to be a supportive welcoming and open-minded researcher, help welcome all the aspects of diversity here at CHI2021 and in your daily lives. Finally, remember to always act with a mind towards equity, justice, and integrity.


Bonus! Feedback for Allyship 2022


Rina R. Wehbe will continue as allyship Chair in CHI2022, she would love to hear your feedback regarding this event and ideas for next year. Feel free to tweet @rinarene or email


Code of Conduct


This year participants of the CHI2021 conference also agreed to a code of conduct! See the ACM policies online:


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