XXIX.6 November - December 2022
Page: 5
Digital Citation

40 years of SIGCHI

Mikael Wiberg, Daniela Rosner, Alex Taylor

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In this issue of ACM Interactions, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI). This celebration involves looking back and reflecting on our complex history and community through a set of voices and dialogues that represent the multiple perspectives, thoughts, and approaches taken that have always shaped our field.

It is indeed hard to believe that SIGCHI celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Hard for the many members who are not yet 40 themselves, and perhaps harder for those who were there at the start (has it really been 40 years?!). It seems like we've been an organization forever—and yet one that remains so young at heart. After all, life begins at 40, as they say!

Our SIG began in 1982, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The conference was so compelling and felt so crucial to those attending that it practically buzzed with the sentiment, We can't let the spirit of Gaithersburg die! To keep this spirit alive, a subset of attendees came together, representing varied organizations with interest in the brand-new field of human-computer interaction, including several ACM special interest groups (SIGGRAPH, SIGSOC, etc.), and the then—Human Factors Society (HFS; now Human Factors and Ergonomics Society [HFES]), among others. After much discussion, the group settled on forming a SIG within ACM, eventually naming it SIGCHI.

Little did we envision, way back in 1982, that our ranks would swell to thousands of members across every continent except Antarctica.

Over the years, SIGCHI has grown and changed with the times and the technology as well as with our expanding awareness of what it means to be a professional organization in this area. Little did we envision, way back in 1982, that our ranks would swell to thousands of members across every continent except Antarctica.

This special issue of Interactions explores our 40-year history, in the voices of SIGCHI members, along with thoughts for the future—guided by a shared vision and values, which you can read about in "The Road We're On" (page 78). Our opening dialogue draws on Andrew Kun and colleagues' CHI 2022 plenary panel to present distinct perspectives on what we might proudly celebrate the achievement of, and what we might aspire toward in the years to come. Next, Adriana Vivacqua describes the growth of SIGCHI into a global organization, focusing on the Global South, with Latin America as her exemplar. Susan Dray and colleagues then share the reflections of SIGCHI community members, and Neha Kumar's crowdsourced article traces the chronology of the 26-and-counting conferences we support.

So here we are: 40 years old and 40 years young. There is much work that remains to be done. We invite you to join us as we continue to nurture our communities and enrich our global presence. Forty is a birthday to remember. And here's to many, many more to come!

Susan Dray, Neha Kumar (guest editors) Mikael Wiberg Daniela Rosner, Alex Taylor
[email protected]

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