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XXVI.2 March - April 2019
Page: 92
Digital Citation

The Scottish HCI community

Eunice Sari, Martin Halvey, Gilbert Cockton, Mary Foster

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For many people, the first things that Scotland brings to mind are its mountain wilderness, glacial valleys, and lochs, which make it a preferred holiday destination. Scotland will soon become the center of attention for HCI and UX researchers and practitioners from all over the world: Its largest city, Glasgow, will host CHI 2019, the most prestigious annual ACM SIGCHI conference, which is attended by about 2,500 to 3,500 people from around the world. Twenty years ago, INTERACT was held in Edinburgh; almost 35 years ago, the Scottish HCI Centre was established.

In an interview, Martin Halvey, a senior lecturer at the University of Strathclyde and one of the theme leaders for the HCI theme of the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA;, explained that Scotland has a long history in HCI, dating back more than 30 years. The first MobileHCI conference was held in 1998 in Glasgow. The Scottish HCI community currently comprises 350-plus representatives from all the universities in Scotland, representing diverse interests and needs. SICSA supports the Scottish HCI community through events and activities, facilitating communication and collaboration among its members.


The SICSA HCI theme supports three main activity types: 1) community get-togethers, where individuals or groups can meet, network, and collaborate; 2) a doctoral consortium for Ph.D. students, which is part of the annual SICSA conference where Ph.D. students gather to share their work and get feedback for their research; and 3) a pre-CHI Day that collects work from Scottish institutions that will be presented at the CHI conference. SICSA also supports one-off events proposed by the community; recent workshops have covered topics including digital humanities, conversational interaction, and child-computer interaction. The broad range of events reflects the diverse research interests of its members, and each event is usually free to members of the SICSA community.

Many of the SICSA events have been organized by universities, but there is also a growing trend of industry-university collaboration to promote HCI and UX practice. The SICSA-organized DemoFest, for example, is an annual technology showcase of leading informatics and computing science research in Scottish Universities. The event is organized by SICSA and ScotlandIS (the trade body for the digital technologies industry in Scotland) to bring together prominent industry leaders as keynotes to inspire and collaborate with the academic research communities.

Scotland's HCI community is vibrant and open. Halvey added that HCI researchers in Scotland are very active in the international community, both through publications at internationally leading events and through volunteering to lead and make those events happen. Hosting CHI 2019 provides an amazing opportunity for the HCI community in Scotland to embrace more possibilities to expand their HCI and UX research.

Bringing CHI to Glasgow will not only bring a more international flavor to the Scottish community, but will also share with the world the beauty of this country.

Bringing CHI to Glasgow will not only bring a more international flavor to the Scottish community, but will also share with the world the beauty of this country—its vibrant art and comedy, great food, and spectacular landscape, creating unforgettable memories for CHI 2019 participants.

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Eunice Sari is the CEO of UX Indonesia, the first insight-driven UX research, training, and consulting company based in Indonesia and an honorary university fellow of Charles Darwin University, Australia. She is the ACM SIGCHI vice president for local chapters and liason for the Asian Development Committee for Southeast Asia. She co-founded the Indonesia ACM SIGCHI chapter, the first ACM SIGCHI chapter in Asia. [email protected]

Martin Halvey is a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) at the University of Strathclyde. His research interests are in interactive information retrieval, multimodal interaction, and human-computer interaction (HCI). He is particularly interested in novel uses of multimodal technology to facilitate appropriate search and interaction with information. [email protected]

Gilbert Cockton is co-editor in chief of Interactions and professor of design theory in Northumbria University's School of Design. A founding member of both the Scottish HCI Centre and Glasgow University's GIST HCI group, he presented at British HCI '91 in Edinburgh, and was papers co-chair for British HCI '94 in Glasgow and late-breaking co-chair for INTERACT '99 in Edinburgh. [email protected]

Mary Ellen Foster is a lecturer in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. Her primary research interests are human-robot interaction, social robotics, and embodied conversational agents. [email protected]

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The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2019 ACM, Inc.

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