torsdag 8 maj 2014

Is there a European strand of Sustainable HCI?

I haven't written a blog post in almost two weeks - I've been too darn busy every day. There are three (extra long) blog posts "in the pipe" and I will most probably post more than two blog posts/week for a while so as to "catch up".

The topic of the day is the proposal I just submitted for organising a workshop at the upcoming NordiCHI conference (Helsinki Oct 26-30). The proposed workshop is called "Is there a European strand of Sustainable HCI?" and I'm doing the workshop together with five great co-organisers; Elina Eriksson (KTH), Cecilia Katzeff (II & KTH), Chris Preist (Univ of Bristol), Maria Håkansson (Chalmers) and Bran Knowles (Lancaster Univ). This is us (from our proposal) - we had to limit ourselves to a maximum of three Sustainable-HCI-relevant publications/organiser:

Three of the organizers have submitted three different Sustainable HCI papers to NordiCHI and we furthermore plan to submit a sustainability-related panel proposal to NordiCHI. The organizers have all met at CHI as well as elsewhere and know each other well. Two of the organizers have been involved in organising Sustainable HCI workshops at the larger CHI conference (multiple times). Taken together, we have also published papers that cover a wide range of topics and approaches that are relevant to the workshop:

  • Daniel Pargman and Elina Eriksson have written about teaching sustainability to computing and media technology students [14, 4].
  • Cecilia Katzeff has published research within the area of design, visualization of energy consumption and consumer behavior in domestic and workplace settings [2, 8, 9].
  • Chris Preist has published research on the environmental impacts of ICT [17].
  • Chris Preist has published on the role of ICT in supporting ‘lightweight volunteers’ for environmental community groups, and community engagement with sustainability challenges [13, 16].
  • Maria Håkansson has written about the importance of holistic perspectives and dilemmas and opportunities for making sustainability-oriented change within HCI [3, 6, 7].
  • Bran Knowles has written about values that serve as the moral foundation of Sustainable HCI research [10, 12].
  • Daniel Pargman and Bran Knowles have written about the foundation of and the meaning of sustainability in Sustainable HCI [11, 15].

Assuming our proposal is accepted (we'll know four weeks from now), you should consider attending our one-day workshop if you are the least interested in the overlap between sustainability and Human-Computer Interaction (or in the overlap between sustainability and computing more generally). Here's the introduction to our proposal:

---------- introduction ----------

Since Eli Blevis presented his seminal paper “Sustainable Interaction Design” in 2007 [1], sustainability has been an established topic for workshops, panel discussion and paper sessions at the main CHI conference. Sustainable HCI is also one of 16 official “SIGCHI communities” (  

Sustainability has not, however, been an equally prominent theme at the NordiCHI conference, despite the fact that there are many Scandinavian and European HCI researchers with an interest in sustainability. In fact, European researchers have submitted the majority of the contributions at the two most recent CHI Sustainable HCI workshops. We believe the time has come to establish a Sustainable HCI workshop also at NordiCHI. Not only does it make sense, from a sustainability point of view, to meet regionally to reduce CO2 emissions, but having a regional conference is important for “community-building and member-support functions” [5].

Establishing a European home for sustainability at NordiCHI will allow researchers to situate their work within the political and cultural ecology of European perspectives on sustainability and to explore possibilities that may arise from this particular framing of problems, methods, and proposed solutions. Discussions among the NordiCHI community can bring new insight into the different perspectives between European and North American approaches to sustainability, as well as help make progress toward clarifying foundational premises that may differ between different conceptions of the term “sustainability”. The presence of an alternative to the hitherto North American-dominated framing of Sustainable HCI also brings the promise of cross-pollinating and further developing both of these approaches.

Finally, we hope that a regional, European Sustainable HCI workshop at NordiCHI will inspire Sustainable HCI researchers in Asia and nudge corresponding Asian HCI conferences (e.g. the upcoming HCI Korea Conference, to consider accepting sustainability workshops proposals.

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