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Organising a SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conference

Last update: 17 Sept, 2019 (added advice on accessibility)


First, this page is not for you if you are organising an in-cooperation conference.

This page is for those organising an ACM SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conference.

Often the first thing you will need to do is complete a PAF (see below) but before you do that please do these 4 things. 

  1. First, you should ask the steering committee chair for your conference series if there is a dedicated Conference Handbook which has advice this conference series has documented to share from year to year? A template for what such a conference handbook might include is listed here.
  2. Next, we would suggest you read through this page which is broken down into over 40 topics across 5 sections. Please use this page as a reference as you plan your event.
  3. Next, it is essential you know about (and in time carefully read through) the new ACM Conference Planning Guide as it contains a wealth of information which might never have occurred to you before or indeed might be “news to you” even if you have run a conference before! There are things buried deep in this guide which can upset your plans and alter your vision for the conference you are looking to organise. This page is intended to supplement the ACM planning guide with extra links and help on topics such as accessibility.
  4. Finally, please understand that this page should be understood in the broader context of the SIGCHI policies, our conference histories, ongoing experiments, along with the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which are essential reading. This page is a guide which mirrors our official SIGCHI Conferences Policy (ver 5) which was validated by the EC in July 2018.

So perhaps now you are ready to submit your PAF? If so, jump down to that section below.  If you aren’t ready to submit a PAF, then continue reading.

We would suggest that you direct any of your chairs or fellow organizers to this page and encourage them to review the topics, policies and read the code if they haven’t before.

Note: If you have read this page before you might be looking for links to the “ACM Conference Handbook” and “Conference Manual” then please know these have been replaced. In mid 2018 these were replaced with a single ACM Conference Planning Guide.

What is this page for?

This page is a work in progress and is meant only to supplement the ACM Conference Planning Guide. This SIGCHI help page is broken down into five sections related to different phases including, starting out, before preliminary approval, general considerations (including accessibility), planning for the conference and what to consider after the conference is over.

The ACM/SIG logo must be posted on your conference website and must appear on all promotional materials.

If you have any questions which you think should be covered here, please email us (details at the bottom of the page).

Starting out

PAF and a TMRF
A PAF is a Preliminary Approval Form. TMRF are the Technical Meeting Request Forms. For many chairs the PAF is often their first point of contact with the ACM. The ACM SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences has given the ACM feedback on the current PAF so it might be changing for the better soon. Your very first thing to do is click on the

PAF: Preliminary Approval Form
– Once you submit it, the ACM check it and the sponsoring SIGs need to approve it (that can take time)
– This is an old school web form which is not responsive (i.e. you will find things in input field are wiped out on you if you make a data entry error which is annoying)
– Get the ACM numbers of your lead chairs before you start
– Ensure you have your dates, locations, accessibility considerations, and primary CFP dates planned
– You can always later resubmit your PAF if for example you dated change but that will require re-approval from the sponsoring SIG

For a sponsored or co-sponsored event please submit a PAF at least 24 month before the conference starts. A PAF once approved locks in your dates and gets your event into the ACM system.

Some chairs tend to put off submitting the PAF as it’s “admin work”. That attitude is a mistake and might end up costing you more than you realise! Once you know you are the chair and you have working dates, submit your PAF. Do not delay.

If you have an approved PAF then the next thing you need to do is submit the TMRF. For sponsored or co-sponsored event once your TMRF is approved, then ACM can start paying bills, booking etc. things for the conference. Do not start committing or spending any money until your TMRF is approved. As part of completing the TMRF, ensure you consider and budget for accessibility accommodations which may come come as delegates register or even earlier with submissions.

Even for conferences which have been sponsored or co-sponsored before, getting a PAF or TMRF approved can be one of the greatest sources of frustration. To avoid such frustration, complete these as early as possible and get help from a mentor (eg. your steering committee chair or past conference chair).

If you are submitting a PAF or TMRF for a sponsored or co-sponsored event then you should contact your steering committee chair who can get you previous examples and put you in touch with past chairs who can help.

Statement on Inclusiveness
SIGCHI strives to be inclusive for all its members and potential members. Conference committees should consider conditions that might prohibit or exclude members of our community participating when making site selections.” [agreed by SIGCHI EC (Nov 17, 2015) and SIGCHI Conference Management Committee (Dec 10, 2015)]. Site Accessibility, accessibility accommodations, visa/travel concerns, venue size etc. are the first and key steps to being inclusive.
Steering Committee Chairs
Each conference which has been organized under the auspices of SIGCHI with the (co-) sponsored status (of at least 50%) has a steering committee (SC). Details on the steering committee can be found in the next section. The chair of each committee is the privileged contact point, providing feedback on the issues faced by the conference series and transferring information and procedures to the organizers of the next conferences of that series. Each steering committee chair is a member of the SIGCHI Council of Steering Committee Chairs (CSCC).  The steering committee chair (or designate) is expected to attend the yearly CSCC meeting. The list of steering committee chairs can be found here.
Steering Committee
Each SIGCHI sponsored conference must have a steering committee with a chair in place and the Conference Steering Committee’s purpose is detailed here. The steering committee chair should make themselves aware of the details of each year’s TMRF and budget and closing figures. The chair of each SC is responsible for providing an annual update on their conference series as requested by the SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences. The chair of each SC is responsible for making any SIGCHI specialized conference development fund requests and to ensure a final report is submitted when the funding has been employed, prior to any subsequent awards.

Each steering committee should consider documenting itself. There are many ways to achieve this but SIGCHI has two templates which might be of use.

1. A Conference Series Handbook which can be used to document the make up of the steering committee (i.e. how members join or leave the committee) along with the duties and responsibilities. This can be used to document the institutional memory of the conference series and how accessibility accommodations have been addressed in previous years.

2. A Conference handbook can be provided to new chairs and might offer them a step by step guide, contact details and links to allow them to get started.

Diversity and Inclusion
SIGCHI conferences are now taking steps to increase the participation and success of underrepresented groups in HCI. For example, some conferences have dedicated Diversity & Inclusion statements and chairs (e.g. CHI) or Diversity & Health statements and diversity and accessibility chairs (e.g. RecSys) who will oversee ensuring increased participation of underrepresented groups. We would encourage other conferences to consider these roles and to embrace diversity and inclusion as a core principal of their event.
Members can also make an application to the SIGCHI Development Fund Program to run Internationalisation, Diversity and Inclusion events at our SIGCHI Sponsored Conferences. However, the SIGCHI Specialised Conferences Development fund might be a better source of support to consider for this.
Finally, we would remind you of SIGCHI’s overall Statement on Inclusiveness above.

Bidding/Hosting a conference
ACM SIGCHI Specialized Conferences operate their conference hosting arrangements in different ways. Some conferences employ an internal process within their steering committees or communities to decide while others such as UbiComp, VRST, MobileHCI or IUI have had open calls to organise and host the conference in the past.
We encourage all steering committees to ensure anyone they invite or who bids to host a conference is aware of accessibility expectations and has realistic expectations around how long different aspects of the conference organization take. Steering committee chairs are the only points of contact on any questions related to hosting.
Once a steering committee has decided on particular conference chairs, it is very important for these chairs to set realistic expectations for how long things will take and to plan accordingly. For example, a PAF (see below) takes time to approve, a TMRF may result in a series of questions and clarifications with the ACM and may take weeks to complete and a venue/hotel negotiation and contract signature by the ACM may take several weeks depending on the country, language or complexity of the contract. Unrealistic expectations on the time to complete various stages can be the source of unneeded tension between volunteers and the ACM.
Your Conference Website
If you are thinking of sourcing your own hosting for your conference website, we would caution against this. Our family of conferences have many examples of prior conference URLs which have been lost or taken over by someone else due to a registration expiring. Your conference website needs to be accessibile and will last long after the conference is over so think about how will it be maintained and who will keep whatever URL you devise paid for and registered.
Instead, we have encouraged conferences to make use of ACM with urls such as e.g. If your conference series uses a url such as then the steering committee chair for your conference series has access to the CPanel. They can add a new folder and give access to you and your web chairs. After this conference is over the WP configuration needs to be fixed, and the document root changed within the cpanel account for the domain to point to the /wp or whaterver directory a new WP installation is for next year. For your steering committee they might read this Beginner’s cPanel Tutorial/Guide
If your website chairs have issues with then for the main website your conference liaison in the ACM can be contacted to introduce you to a contact in the ACM about editing pages in the main cms. Any requests for assistance in the ACM environment can be sent to for assistance.
In addition, SIGCH has the following advice

Conferences are asked to have a page at /access that documents the accessibility (or lack of accessibility) of the conference. SIGCHI and SIGACCESS have provided a simple form for generating this page (, and as you will see, it includes information that must be collected as early as site selection time.

Contact points
Your first point of contact, when planning a specialized conference is your steering committee chair who oversees the particular conference you are planning to organise.
There are also other people who are able to provide you with helpful information in order to organize a specialized conference. These are listed on the SIGCHI Officers and Committees page. Further, the ACM maintains a page on ACM Special Interest Groups (SIGS) Volunteer Resources.
Our current contact in the ACM for conference matters is the Assistant Director in the Office of SIG Services
Conference History
SIGCHI has been working to archive historical data about SIGCHI sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. The aim of the archive is to publish details on acceptance rates, locations, organizing committees, as well as attendance and financial data (when available). You can find all the conference history details on this site.
Other SIGs
There are other SIGs within the ACM. If you are planning to apply for co-sponsorship you should ensure you are aware of the rules of the other SIG. For example, the ACM SIGGRAPH Small Conferences Committee maintains a page organising a conference. For other SIGs, please contact the relevant chair.
Professional Staff
First: never employ someone without discussing it first with the ACM.

Second: keep in mind is that conferences are primarily organised by volunteers.

Unless you are organizing a large (700+ delegate) conference then it would be unusual to see a TMRF budget with planned costs associated with professional staff outside the ACM. Before exploring what type of “professional staff” you think you might need, please ensure you carefully read the section here called What does the ACM have to do with SIGCHI specialized conferences? so you know what the ACM helps with, and then talk to the ACM.

Our aim in this section is to list organizations (and what they do) which other SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences have used in the past:

If you are an ACM SIGCHI conference organiser with a suggestion for this section please do get in touch.

Registration System
RegOnline by CVENT, will sunset in early 2019 with many features and services no longer available prior to that date. For this reason, ACM has begun to transition to the CVENT registration system which contains many RegOnline features including the ability to authenticate ACM/SIG membership and accept multiple currencies.

ACM is utilizing the services of Executive Events, a registration management company that works with several of ACM’s conferences to assist with registration activities. Annabel Custer at Executive Events will be the point of contact to set up and service registration through CVENT. You can reach her via email at

If conference chairs use our preferred registration management company (Executive Events) to setup their conference registration site (based on the CVENT registration system and SIGCHI guidelines) then SIGCHI will cover both the per delegate registration costs and the set-up costs (i.e. the registration site build fee). As in the past, your conference pays the credit card fees due to the forms of payment your delegates select [see section on credit cards].

SIGCHI strongly encourages this. It is important to understand that SIGCHI will only cover the per delegate registration costs if you use our preferred registration management company to setup your registration site. The choice to utilize CVENT will be up to conference leaders. The benefits include discounted rates, member authentication, direct connections to the internal conference bank account, and additional registration management options. However, if you choose a different registration management company or a different conference registration system, SIGCHI will not cover these costs.

As a benefit to our sponsored conferences, SIGCHI will cover the following costs for utilizing the CVENT registration including Executive Events support for building your registration site.

Volunteer leader will receive an introductory email including a Site Set Up Form:
· Executive Events will review the information, and ask for clarification as needed

· The site will be built in Cvent, including registration categories, pricing, authentication (single sign on), agenda, email confirmations, and look and feel.

· Once built, the volunteer leader will be sent a link to test the registration site.

· Executive Events will handle any changes and updates to the system.

· Volunteer leader will be provided with log-in credentials, as well as basic instructions on how to manage registrations in the Cvent system.

Registration fees and refunds
When setting your registration fees, refund process (if available) or conference specific rules on registrations tied to submissions, clarity is key. This means:

  1. Clarity on how amounts and dates are communicated.
  2. Clarity on any rules which connect accepted submissions to the requirement for a unique conference registration fee.
  3. Clarity on how, when and under what conditions a refund can be offered.
  4. Clarity on what the ACM planning guide covers on conference registration.
  5. Clarity between general/registration chairs and the steering committee on any assumptions and how any of the above decisions impact your delegates.

Registration fees are typically determined by the chairs of the conference in consultation with the steering committee of the conference series. SIGCHI provides flexibility to our steering committee’s on how they manage their budgets and plan for the financial health of their conferences. Some steering committees may ask chairs to seek their approval prior to setting registration fees to ensure the viability of the conference series. In the wider context of the ACM conference registration guide, each conference and each conference series should set their own policy on:

  1. Early, Regular, Late, student etc. registration rates
  2. Registration refunds and any deadlines (which must be advertised clearly)
  3. Any rule which states that each submission must have a unique paid registration associated which must be advertised clearly in the relevant submission category call and the registration page

    “Each conference contribution must be covered by at least one unique full registration. This is valid for Long and Short papers as well as …. submissions.” or “Each accepted submission requires a full conference registration fee to be paid, unless the person presenting the Paper or Note is a first-author student, in which case, a student registration fee has to be paid.”

Further SIGCHI provides the following advice:

SIGCHI recommends that chairs carefully consider the notification deadlines for all tracks and the timelines to acquire a visa for the country they are hosting the conference in. Chairs should clearly publish the refund deadlines and any administrative costs associated with getting a refund.
SIGCHI recommends that any conference specific rule on a “unique paid registration” per accepted submission should be communicated clearly through the calls and the submission system so that authors clearly understand this rule prior to submission.

The pages on conference history can give you a high level view of the financial data of prior conferences. However you first need to consider the “SIGCHI Statement on Inclusiveness” and you will need to discuss prior events and this carefully with others. You should discuss the composition of your budget from registration rates to sponsorship levels, or from your conference social program to coffee/tea, lunches/breakfast along with a contingency and ACM Allocation/Overhead. We also encourage you to read all of our conference policies and in particular SIGCHI Policy for Courtesies at Sponsored Conferences. You can also contact Diana Brantuas ( with specific ACM budget questions.
Our best advice is to get past budgets and final accounts from previous conferences in your series, so you can develop a realistic budget which aligns to the experiences, expectations and accessibility needs of your delegates.
While the ACM will sign contracts, recently we have started collecting some high-level feedback from organisers. First, read the manual and guide carefully and some of the points they highlighted.

  1. Your community should aim to be aware of its own accessibility needs and budget for this. Reasonable accommodations and hence unexpected costs can come from your contingency. The ACM can provide advice on this.
  2. Do you have a copy of the budget from the past two years of the conference you are planning to organise? Do you understand all the the line items in the past budgets?
  3. Do you know what the “delegate expectations” are for this conference? i.e. food and beverage, lunch, banquet, AV, USB keys etc. It’s good to discuss this in a conference town hall and with the conference steering committee as all costs drive up the price of registration.
  4. Have you budgeted for credit card fees everywhere they apply e.g. on registration fees (see more on credit card fees below)?
  5. Are you using RegOnline (see above). Will you use the second setup option (which involves a setup fee)? Is this fee included in your budget?
  6. Have you budgeted for publication costs? i.e. will you publication chairs handle everything between the authors of papers and all the data production required to get your papers into the DL? If you are planning to use a vendor to help with this (as the ACM for advice) but also budget for the cost!
  7. Have everything agreed in writing
  8. On the venue booking (which the ACM must do!): Read the contract very carefully, understand what concessions are on offer, understand what free room nights might be on offer and what you might use them for, ask for free WIFI everywhere, ask for student discounts – for food and stay, ask about parking, ask for a food and beverage discount.
  9. If you are planning to have a “conference hotel” with a negotiated low rate for delegates read our section on Hotel Block below and talk to your ACM contact as soon as possible.
  10. Keep paper copies of anything which is needed as a baseline. For example, if your venue/other agrees not to increase prices by more than a fixed amount you need a paper record
  11. Ask your local tourist authority if they offer subvention or sponsorship
  12. Understand your fixed versus variable costs
  13. Have a plan for how you will employ your contingency (much closer to the conference when it’s clear your costs/registration/sponsorship are as expected)
  14. When invoices are to be paid ensure you have carefully read the ACM Conference Planning Guide and also please read our section on Payments below.
  15. If you have questions about Taxes or “VAT” see the next section.
Taxes, VAT etc.
In the “Section II – Budget Detail” spreadsheet you should submit with your TMRF you will see “tax” mentioned with respect to “F&B” i.e. food and beverage. However, there can be more to taxes than just taxes on food and beverage. Different countries have different Taxes and Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations. As VAT both on registration and conference costs have a relevant effect on the finances of the conference please make yourself familiar with the VAT regulations and also get in touch to the Assistant Director Office of SIG Services to find out what is the best solution for your conference. The ACM is taking advice on tax matters and they make use of a tax advisor to help them answer questions in this area.
Credit Card Fees
When using RegOnline the credit card processing fees are from the ACM Merchant Account. Leading providers are used to process the bulk of ACM’s conferences credit card activities. These rates are always being re-negotiated based on industry standards and ACM’s volume of business. The ACM SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences has reviewed the negotiated ACM discounted rates and they are very competitive. The debit card rate is in line with low rates one would expect in, for example, Europe.

So, as an organiser you might ask yourself why does the TMRF include, what you might consider a high %, for budget purposes when you know, for example, a particular type of card has a much lower rate? Well delegates don’t always use cards with the lowest rate of fees. For example, all cards that have rewards attached to them come with associated fees that add various % increases to each transaction. In practice, a very low number of delegates make use of standard debit cards (with low rates) and instead many delegates increasingly rely on rewards cards, and the credit card processing fees have an average higher rates.

For you, as an organiser, what is important is that conferences are only paying fees that reflect the actual fees! Of course you only see this after registration so the budget % needs to reflect what the ACM sees, on average. So, if you want lower fees, ask your delegates to use standard debit cards, instead of credit cards. If you communicate this to your delegates it may result in savings on credit card fees.

Conference Dates
Existing conferences often have particular times of the year when they wish to hold their conference. Details of past dates can be found from the SIGCHI conference history page. You should always discuss dates with the steering committee chair who oversees the particular conference you are planning to organise. Further, SIGCHI maintains a list of all approved conference dates which must be considered when you are proposing your own dates for an event. SIGCHI has a principal that conferences which select conflicting event dates,

  • (a) should be encouraged to temporally shift or
  • (b) should consider co-location or virtual co-connection activities.

Conflicting dates may be impossible to avoid but it behooves us to try and avoid them so our members aren’t negatively impacted.

SIGCHI policies
There are a number of ACM SIGCHI policies regarding our conferences. Some of these policies relate to all conferences while some relate only to the annual CHI conferences. Some policies are for the ACM SIGCHI Specialized Conferences program only. You should visit the Policies page to understand the current policies and how they relate to the organisation of a sponsored or co-sponsored Specialized Conference.
As an ACM SIG, SIGCHI and hence the conferences we sponsor are the responsibility of the ACM when it comes to GDPR. The ACM Privacy Policy was reviewed and re-written with ACM lawyers prior to the GDPR compliance deadline.

We recommend that the policy should be included on all ACM websites (including those for SIGs and Conferences including your conference website). In addition, language around data usage, privacy, and compliance should be clearly outlined in contracts between ACM and vendors that collect data on our behalf. This includes but is not limited to registration and submission systems. The ACM Conference Planning Guide requires that all registration pages outside of CVENT include a link to the Policy.

By linking to and abiding by the ACM Privacy Policy conference organisers can use attendee data throughout the planning process for the conference experience (e.g. contacting delegates before the event or after for a survey, contacting delegates of specific track or sessions, sharing the attendee data with relevant chairs to allow them to provide information or support to delegates in respect of those aspects of the program registered for e.g. a specific workshop or course). This may need to involve sharing names and contact emails with (e.g. a workshop chair) to check if the workshop registrants have accepted papers. The use of the registration data must only be used for the purpose collected.

Before Preliminary Approval

ACM and SIGCHI conferences
SIGCHI is part of ACM that has its policy and procedure guidelines on conference organization. This webpage is maintained by SIGCHI volunteers to help our members with common queries in addition to the core ACM resources.

For you, the ACM maintain their Conference Planning Guide. In addition, the ACM provides a page with access to a wide range of other Volunteer Resources which could be of use.

The new ACM Conference Planning Guide consolidates what used to be in their “manual” and “handbook”. If you notice anything missing or inconsistencies do let the ACM know.

Benefits/constraints – ACM
Please note, the chair of your steering committee has information on how to access these benefits and the implications of these constraints. Please contact them first if you have questions.

  • ACM takes the financial risk and the legal responsibility
  • Based on an approved budget with the ACM they can pay for expenses (block hotel rooms, convention center, …) before the conference
  • Your conference can be advertised through ACM channels (ACM web site, ACM calendar of events)
  • Proceedings go to the ACM Digital Library as an ACM sponsored conference
  • Publishing support from Sheridan (publication time usually 8 weeks including production time)
  • A web site at ACM e.g.
  • FREE Advert 1 page in Communications of the ACM
  • It’s possible to put on your your conference website the entire proceedings of the conference
  • Organisers must produce a Preliminary Approval Form “PAF” (18 months prior to the conference)
  • Organisers must produce a positive (>0) budget (part of the Technical Meeting Request Form “TMRF”) which needs to be approved before ACM will pay any expenses. (At least 12 months prior to the conference)
Benefits/constraints – SIGCHI
The following are in addition to the benefits and constraints from being an ACM sponsored or co-sponsored conference. Please note, the chair of your steering committee has information on how to access these benefits and the implications of these constraints. Please contact them first if you have questions.

  • The conference can use the Precision Conference System for FREE for handling papers as SIGCHI pays the bill.
  • Your conference logo appears on the login page of PCS
  • Regonline can be used for FREE as SIGCHI pays the bill
  • FREE 1 page advert in the Interactions Magazine
  • FREE use of SurveyMonkey for running surveys about the conference
  • Proceedings go to the ACM DL under SIGCHI SIG
  • Free to put your Conference flyer (which you pay for, produce and deliver) into the CHI conference bag
  • You can request recording stations (conf. only pays shipping)
  • Access to “Conference Development Fund” but any amounts requested within the conference development fund are be based on the overall financial history of the conference series (starting 2011, following the SIGCHI EC agreement in 2013) and the proposed requested support
  • A conference must have a steering committee (SC) and the SC chair is a member of the SIGCHI CSCC. The ACM guidance describes a Conference Steering Committee’s purpose in more detail.
  • A PAF (once approved) results in the dates and location going onto the SIGCHI website and the dates being considered “dates approved”
  • Conferences (of any type) which come in later (with overlapping dates) and an overlapping community will be encouraged to shift dates
Approval Process
It is first worth noting that the ACM maintains a page which describes their guidelines for organizing ACM conferences. Assuming the conference you are planning to run is one of the existing ACM SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences, then the process for starting to get approval is quite straightforward. Your first step is to submit a Preliminary Approval Form (PAF) at least 24 month before the conference starts. This is a lightweight process and is very helpful as it secures your dates within the overall SIGCHI calendar and get you into the ACM system. Once your steering committee has agreed to you hosting the conference, we would suggest you submit your PAF. Having your PAF approved will take some time to process. The process can be delayed due to conflicting dates, multiple SIGs involved etc. However, once your PAF is submitted the process starts, so please submit early! Some conferences submit their PAFs upto 36 months in advance. Next, once your PAF is approved, you should submit the Technical Meeting Request Forms (TMRF).

General Considerations

Conference Visibility
The ACM/SIG logo must be posted on your conference website and must appear on all promotional materials. Appropriate ACM SIGCHI channels should be used to promote conferences. In all cases the ACM SIGCHI logo must be used where reference is made to ACM SIGCHI in conference materials. Conferences organized under the auspices of ACM SIGCHI should be listed in both ACM conference calendar and ACM SIGCHI calendar of events.

Further, we suggest you read our advice below on to whom should I announce and publicise the conference.

You should first discuss with the chair of your steering committee when you should announce details of your conference. Your Steering committee chair, or past chairs, will have advice on the use of your conference website, applications (e.g. a mobile app), print media (e.g. flyers, an advert in Interactions), social media (e.g. facebook, twitter) or electronic media (e.g. your own mailing list or CHI-ANNOUNCEMENTS@LISTSERV.ACM.ORG).

Many conferences appoint a publicity chair to coordinate this (or multiple chairs) if they plan to use a conference website, app, print, social or other electronic media. Prior chairs are a good starting point for discussing your planning.

There are also other people you may wish to advise about your upcoming conference. For example, there are dozens of SIGCHI Local Chapters around the world. Your conference may be located close to one of more of them and they might not be on the relevant channels you traditionally use to connect with. SIGCHI Local Chapters are unique in bringing together local practitioners, academics and students in the field of HCI.

There might also be other societies or groups (outside of SIGCHI) you might consider connecting with. There are other HCI-Related Conferences and societies listed at the end of our SIGCHI conferences page. Discussing this within your own community is advisable or you can ask other SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences for advice. Finally, the @sigchi account maintains a list of twitter accounts you should be aware of and ask to be added to if your conference series isn’t already.

Social Media
We encourage each ACM SIGCHI conference to share best practice around the use of social media. Larger conferences, such as CHI, have developed their own policies and guidelines and the SIGCHI EC is looking at further guidelines which it might provide to all conferences.

At the moment one key piece of guidance is that, individual conferences are asked not to use the term “SIGCHI” as an account name or account handle in social media (such that it might show up in the URL or name of the account).

In particular, the SIGCHI executive committee has identified the use of the term “SIGCHI” isn’t always well understood with reference to the annual CHI Conference. CHI is an annual conference and is sponsored by the ACM SIGCHI. Indeed, the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) has many Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The ACM SIGCHI is one of these “SIGs” with thousands of members and sponsors over 20 conferences per year. CHI is only one of the annual conferences which SIGCHI sponsors and is the flagship conference annually in HCI.

The term SIGCHI should be used to refer to the entire Special Interest Group.

If you are a chair of CHI or involved in the social media for CHI (or any of our conferences) and you have questions on the use of social media, please contact the Vice President for Membership and Communication.

SIGCHI Conference Publications Format
SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences share access to the same format for their paper publications. Our page on the SIGCHI Conference Publications Format has more details of this format. This is regularly reviewed in light of changes in technology, formats or accessibility guidance and we encourage all SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences to use it.
SIGCHI Gary Marsden Student Development Fund
The SIGCHI Gary Marsden Student Development Fund aims to support postgraduate students from developing countries to attend SIGCHI conferences. We would encourage you to include the following text onto your conference website to let potential applicants know about this program.“In recognition of Gary Marsden’s contributions and inspiration in HCI4D and support of HCI in the developing world, ACM SIGCHI established the Gary Marsden Student Development Fund in 2015. This fund is especially intended for sponsoring postgraduate students (Master or PhD degree) from and currently based in developing countries to attend SIGCHI (co)sponsored conferences as well as other HCI relevant conferences. For more information about applying for funding, see the PDF document at Gary Marsden Student Development Fund”
Multiple funding requests
SIGCHI understands that students may be applying for any of our funding or be seeking or have awarded partial support from other sources. This is to be encouraged and welcomed!

However, if you are advertising in your conference for any type of SIGCHI funding or support  (e.g.  SV position, conference specific travel grant) we request that in your application forms that you request applicant to disclose the following:

(1) any funds/support you have already had offered or awarded
(2) any funds/support you have applied for (and are awaiting an outcome)
(3) any funds/support you are planning to apply for.

Given our limited funds in SIGCHI, it is essential that everything is disclosed in any application so that the respective committee can fairly consider all applications in light of all possible supports.

Finally, we expect anyone who is offered any type of funding or support from anything related to SIGCHI that they will disclose any subsequent funding or support offered from other sources, prior to taking support (financial or otherwise) for SIGCHI.

Both our Gary Marsden and SIGCHI student travel grant programs including wording to this effect.

SIGCHI Specialized Conferences Development Fund
You should first discuss any idea you have around this fund with the chair of your steering committee. You should visit this page on the SIGCHI Specialized Conferences Development Fund to learn more about the objective and process involved in applying to this fund, along with seeing examples of prior applications and final reports.

This fund was approved in July 2015 by the SIGCHI EC and replaces all previous attempts in this area. Within SIGCHI there have been many attempts to provide financial support back to conferences. This Conferences Development fund replaces all former approaches which have various been called the “community grant”, “community fund”, “surplus”, “conf return”, “float”, “rollover”. For the avoidance of all doubt, there is only the SIGCHI Specialized Conferences Development fund and there is no community grant, community fund, surplus, conf return, float or rollover.

Insurance and Liability
You should consider the “SIGCHI Statement on Inclusiveness” and understand that the following does not constitute legal advice. The particular country, area and venue for your conference each impact on any advice which can be given. For ACM Sponsored conference, the ACM takes the financial risk and the legal responsibility. This does not apply for in-cooperation conferences. Decisions you make as organiser, or your chairs make can expose the ACM to large financial risks and the legal problems. Rather than attempt to list all the insurance or liability issues, we ask each conference organiser to communicate with all other organizers to ensure decisions are made understanding what insurances are in place and any liability, which your decisions can expose the ACM to.
Hotel Block
You should first review past conferences in your series to see if the organisers arranged conference hotels with reduced rates for delegates. In recent years many conferences have opted not to provide a block for their delegates in larger cities. However, events at the same time as your conference may impact of your delegates ability to find a room.

Once you understand the past and what else is happening at the time of your conference next discuss this with your steering committee to understand if there is an expectation of having a discounted hotel rate available for delegates. Next, discuss such “conference hotels” with the ACM, in advance of talking to any hotels yourself.

ACM recommends securing hotel blocks based on conference history. As most hotels require you to pick up anywhere from 80-100% of the rooms blocked, contracting based on history helps to limit exposure to a conference. Should a conference feel that they are going to need more rooms than their history supports, talk to the ACM. ACM has a “lowest rate clause”. If you are a delegate and you see a lower rate, raise this with your local arrangements or conference chair. If you are a conference chair, please advise your ACM contact ASAP. ACM tracks the “pick up” (i.e. use of rooms) for all ACM conferences and negotiate rates that are very competitive with standard hotel rates.
Payments, Invoices or Bills
First, you need to ensure whomever is dealing with the finances for your conference has read the conference finances section of the ACM Conference Planning Guide.

ACM provides use of an ACM in house bank account for each conference which we strongly encourage you to use. When an invoice is submitted to ACM, the conference coordinator should respond and acknowledge that this is being submitted to the ACM finance team for payment. Once submitted, US checks take 8-10 business days, international wire take 3-5 business days and international checks can take up to three weeks. Standard business practice is for suppliers to allow 30 days to receive payment so the ACM should always be well within that range.

If you don’t get an acknowledgement and response within a few days (of submitting an invoice), ask your conference coordinator again. Conference Chairs may request updates on an invoice or reports of the conference account at any time.

Publication Policies and Practice
SIGCHI has a Policy for Submission and Review at SIGCHI Conference.

A conference that wishes to develop its own policy for Submission and Review based on this SIGCHI policy they should have this approved by the SIGCHI VP for Publications and the SIGCHI Conferences Board. Conferences that wish to have a Submission and Review policy which runs counter to the default SIGCHI Policy for Submission and Review must have this approved by the SIGCHI EC.  

Further, the ACM maintains an extensive set of Publications Policies which you should be aware of. This includes policies on suspected Plagiarism, Reviewer Anonymity, Pre-Publication Evaluation, Publication and Simultaneous Submissions and Withdrawal of a Work from the ACM Digital Library etc. Of recent note is that in November 2018 the ACM updated their Conflict of Interest Policy for ACM Publications and their ACM Publications Policy on the Withdrawal, Correction, Retraction, and Removal of Works from ACM Publications and ACM DL policies.

We suggest that each conference makes reference to these policies and explicit reference to the ACM guidelines for determining “significance” of a revision as stated in the ACM Policy on Pre-Publication Evaluation. And the ACM Policy on Prior Publication and Simultaneous Submissions along with our note on “Re-publication of work in English that was previously published in another language” below. If your conference or conference series wishes to impose further constraints on authors submitting, please consult with the SIGCHI VP for Publications prior to publishing any guidance to authors.

If an author, reviewer, associate chair, program chair or committee member suspects fraud then they should raise this to the next level (eg. reviewer to associate chair) for careful consideration. As suspected fraud is a serious matter, we would expect the case to be raised to the program chairs and steering committee chair for the conference series.

In practice, they should then advise both the ACM SIGCHI VP for Publications and the ACM Publications Board. The ACM Publications Board has a policy on rights and responsibility. Fraud will not be tolerated and is counter to the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which everyone agrees to abide by when acting as members or authors, reviewers, editors, program chairs and on committees etc.

Re-publication of work in English
English is considered the international language of ACM SIGCHI and its journals and conferences. Work that has previously been presented or published in a language other than English may be translated and presented or published in English in SIGCHI journals and conferences insofar as ACM SIGCHI is concerned. The original author should typically also be the author (or co-author) of work translated into English and it should be made clear that this is a translation. We encourage authors whose work was originally published in languages other than English to do this if they feel their work is of sufficient relevance and quality to be useful to a wider international audience. We encourage conference technical chairs and journal editors to make it clear that papers which are otherwise acceptable should not be rejected on the basis that they have previously been published in a language other than English. In some cases, work originally published for a very select regional audience may be improved by rewriting (as well as translating) so that the relevance to a wider audience is clarified. Of course, it is not acceptable to translate the original work of another author and present it as one’s own. Authors wishing to publish in English a work originally published elsewhere also need to check their original copyright agreement with the original publisher to make sure that this is permissible according to that agreement.

Planning the conference

Travel/ Conference Venue / Site Selection
There are many issues to understand when considering a venue and the travel impacts on your delegates from accessibility to size! Remind yourself of the “SIGCHI Statement on Inclusiveness” and review the many issues outlined on this page. However, you should not try to struggle with these issues alone. The ACM is available to help with site selection as noted in the manuals linked.

Even if you have a venue in mind, the contract with this venue will be managed and issued by the ACM! The sooner you speak to the ACM the more help and experience they can bring to bear on the question of identifying a suitable accessible venue.

Venue selection is complex and in brief, there are wide range of space, session constraints, accessibility, insurance, liability, accessibility issues, food, possible video capture, legal and travel considerations to consider. We have tried to link to as many relevant issues from this page but we remind you to always check the ACM manuals.

While we live in an increasingly inter-connected world there remain significant hurdles and even barriers for delegates to overcome to gain a visa to travel to certain countries. You should provide guidance to your delegates to remind them that visa and travel should be arranged well in advance and you, as conference organiser, should determine what other supports you might offer to those who cannot travel due to such restrictions. The ACM can always be consulted for advice in this area. Further, some larger conferences have accessibility chairs who provide extensive guidance on the accessibility of the venue (this is of course driven by volunteer effort and the needs of the delegates).


We suggest you consult with both the ACM and your steering committee early on this. The particular country, area and venue for your conference each impacts on any advice which can be given so the following does not constitute legal advice and you need to develop an accessibility policy.
SIGACCESS has developed a very useful guide on how to make your conference accessible. In 2019, Kyle Rector, building on prior work, developed an Accessible Presentation Guide for SIGACCESS. SIGACESS have a Guide to Creating a Conference Accessibility FAQ Page:

In addition there is a SIGCHI accessibility community. From 2016 the SIGCHI accessibility community has been further discussing food and they would ask that site selection takes into account food alternatives. In 2017 SIGCHI added the Accessibility Chair as a class within our conference courtesies policy and we added guidance on conferences offering companion rates for a delegate companion (who isn’t a researcher in HCI attending the conference) across SIGCHI for delegates who require personal care assistance.

At a minimum, please identify someone on your organising committee with the term accessibility so people know whom they can contact if they need help. Better yet, have documentation online to describe how you are handling accessibility requests.
If you setup an accessibility page we encourage you to use the following format (or a redirect)
URL_for_your_website/access  (as this is what the SIGCHI accessibility community suggest)
The best course of action is to have an accessibility chair so its clear where requests should go. SIGACCESS has developed a very useful guide on how to make your conference accessible.
In January 2018, Jennifer Mankoff created and started maintaining this new page Really Brief FAQ on Making your Conference Accessible.
The particular country, area and venue for your conference each impact on any advice which can be given on how you ask which gender a person identifies with, so we suggest you speak to the ACM for advice. However, after work by many SIGCHI volunteers (for example Humberto Corona) the ACM are looking to adapt what they ask and collect from delegates. Of course, this is what appears on a standard registration page, if using the registration system SIGCHI offers. If a conference ends up using a different registration system you should ensure your terminology is consistent with what the ACM expects. Our currently advice on this terminology is:

To which gender identity do you most identify?
• Prefer not to say
• Woman
• Man
• Non-binary
• Prefer to self-describe _________________

What is your pronoun?

•  He/Him/His
• She/Her/Hers
• They/Their/Theirs
• A pronoun not listed _________________

Badges for conferences
Good practical solutions for badges often get lost between conferences. Some ideas include:

  • Putting names/information on both sides of the badge, so neither side is blank
  • Putting a delegate’s surname in a large font, so that people that are new to the community can recognise people that they have read and cited.
  • Including a delegate’s choice of pronoun on the badge, if captured at registration
  • Including scannable QR codes that encode information or personal website URLs (but you may need explicit consent from delegates to encode this information)
Bathrooms at conferences
Conference venues typically come with gender-segregated bathroom facilities and we encourage conference leaders to explore what is involved in offering “all-gender bathrooms” for your delegates. All-gender or gender-inclusive bathrooms are public bathrooms that are not separated by gender. The presence of all-gender bathrooms in a conference venue makes it more inclusive for transgender and gender non-binary attendees. Members of our community have developed a series of guidelines to help those seeking to implement all-gender bathrooms, including what those bathrooms should have given the resources available, and how to go about doing so. As with accessibility, these guidelines do not constitute legal advice as the country, area, and venue for your conference will impact any advice which can be given. This means that the implementation of all-gender restrooms will be more of a possibility in some venues than in others. You can read these guidelines here.
Children at conferences
We recognize that for many parents, managing children during a conference can be complicated. You’ll need to develop a policy if you expect to have children attend your conference. In particular, each country, area and venue for your conference can impact the decisions you’ll need to make, but you will need to have a policy in place.  While this does not constitute legal advice, such policies should reflect the work nature of conferences, what standards are communicated to parents who bring children, registration of children to attend events (without registration, insurance and liability can be problematic), access to events where alcohol is served, safety with respect to dangerous equipment/setup, etc. These issues can expose the conference and the ACM to insurance and liability issues, as well as impacting the experience of your attendees.
Video capture
In you decide to record keynotes and paper talks, SIGCHI can provide equipment (capture stations, cameras). Costs for shipping, operating etc. need to be included in your TMRF and are not borne by SIGCHI. The following executive summary on video should be consulted for key issues.

Appropriate permissions to record paper talks are typically obtained during submission process using PCS. Permission for other formats (e.g., keynotes, panels) need to be obtained individually. We can provide information regarding video formats, capturing, post-processing and upload to the ACM digital library as well as distribution to other outlets such as YouTube. You can see examples of talks recorded at previous SIGCHI conferences on our SIGCHI YouTube Channel.

We recommended you nominate one or two documentation chairs for organizing equipment, training student volunteers for recordings, and other tasks. For more information, please contact the SIGCHI Operations Group member responsible for video capture (David Lindlbauer: before the conference.

Discrimination and Harassment
ACM has developed a Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment that applies to all ACM-related activities, including any conferences, symposiums, meetings or other events sponsored by SIGCHI.  It also applies to communications sent through official communication channels for any such activity or event, including social media. Conference organisers should review the full policy in advance of your event; it is available at [Policy]. In addition we recommend that you link to this policy so that your members and delegates can find it easily.

This policy describes discriminatory harassment including but not limited to sexual harassment, use of ethnic slurs or derogatory terms relating to an individual’s gender or sexual orientation and threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts. The policy further describes the complaint procedures and remedial actions and policy applicability. This ACM policy supersedes any policy, supplemental guidelines or by-laws enacted or adopted by SIGCHI or any of our sponsored conferences concerning discrimination or harassment.

The SIGCHI VP for conferences adds the following advice to aid conference organizers in implementing this policy. The policy states that “If the conduct at issue occurs at an ACM- or SIG-sponsored conference or symposium, you should ordinarily direct such reports to a chair of the event or, alternatively, you may direct reports to ACM’s President ( or Chief Executive Officer (  (“CEO”) (or the CEO’s designee), currently ACM’s Chief Operating Officer ( depending on which individual you feel more comfortable contacting under the circumstances.

As a result, those involved in your conference, symposia, meeting must be trained and made aware of this policy and know how to ACT if something is reported. As such, the advice is to incorporate training of student volunteers and chairs and awareness among the organizers so everyone knows what to do, if something is reported. Anyone involved in your conference from a student volunteer to a session chair or a registration chair to a program chair may be approached about conduct at issue. Each person needs to know what to do. So, the following acronym ACT may help.

  • Acknowledge: verbally or digitally (as appropriate) the report so the person knows the matter is being dealt with and passed on. And ensure the person who made the report is aware of the Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment for Members and Event Attendees.
  • Collect: information from the person so a report can be given. This is important when the report is made verbally as it might be difficult to identify the person again after the original report.
  • Tell: the chair of the event. Either the person who made the report should be encouraged to tell the chair or the person who is made aware of the report should report it. We would suggest both happens to ensure reports are not overlooked.

These steps, we hope, we allow the organizers of SIGCHI events to embedded this policy in practice during, before and after the conference has occurred.

Timely announcements
PCS and Reg online provide mechanisms for contacting both authors of accepted papers and submissions managed via PCS along with those registered to the attend the conference as delegates. Timely and regular communication is encouraged. This might be during the production of cameraready proceedings or in the months and weeks leading up to the conference itself. Delegates often welcome detailed travel instructions and also last-minute reminders with pointers to key pieces of information which will improve their delegate experience.

We urge caution with any last minute changes or providing last minute updates which may cause presenters to need to change their talks. Such updates might include changes to the AV, data communications or recording of talks.

Conference Day to Day
Depending on who you are, and what your role is in the organization of a conference then what you can or should do to make the conference run smoothly will differ. In our experience, the student volunteers and student volunteer chairs are often at the “coal face” for the duration of the conference, so ensuring they have a clear plan and know what they are doing is key. Conferences often collect and pass forward “institutional knowledge” on what SV chairs should plan and be responsible for from year to year. If you are the conference chair and you don’t have access to such knowledge, talk to your steering committee chair. It is also important that your session chairs know what they are expected to do (eg. talk times, ensure speakers have tested their talks, encouraging presenters to ensure their diagram/slides/fonts are legible, ensure the breath of delegates attending are engaged in asking questions, time keeping etc.)

It’s essential for someone within your organization team (eg. local chair or general chair) to be responsible for developing and understanding the end to end plan for the entire event. This includes setup, pre-conference days, the day to day plan for session chairs, talks, AV, SV setup, social sessions and wrap up work etc.

Small things can make a big difference e.g. well briefed volunteers (chairs, session chairs, SVs), ensuring the WiFI will work with the numbers planned, travel directions, advice so new people can meet and network, ensuring the AV is working, ensuring the SV chairs and session chairs are clear on their work etc. will all help make the conference run smoothly.

In the end, having a team who all understand what they need to do and plenty of people willing to help will make your conference run smoothly. Experience helps but planning and on-site preparation is the key to success.

Patents, Publication Dates, OpenTOC
SIGCHI and conferences now provide direct, open access to the published PDFs for one year after becoming active in the ACM Digital Library via the Open Table of Contents: OpenTOC.

Conference organizers need to ensure they know who will be sent a copy of their OpenTOC file and who should put it onto your conference website and where. These files are often only made available a few days before the conference so timing is critical. The pages allow you delegates to share a link to the program and hence anyone, can download the papers for free for one year.

Conference organisers need to be very careful to announce in their call for papers on what date the proceedings will become open and available.

One reason for this is that some authors may be submitting patents around work submitted to a conference and they need to know when their papers will become public.

Mobile Application, SIGCHI APP, MobileApp, QOALA
SIGCHI has worked with 3rd party developers to create QOALA – a Conference management system. QOALA (Quality, Optimized, Automatic, Layout of the Agenda) is a new conference schedule management system created for conferences organized sponsored with SIGCHI. As part of this is getting data into a system to provide access to the “SIGCHI app“. This provide information about one’s participation with SIGCHI, including conference schedules, calendar and library access. It is available for iOS and Android devices.
Conference organisers can get access to this QOALA and hence this application so they can provide their conference schedules, maps, sponsor details etc. for their delegates. A sponsored conference wishing to access this application needs to provide the following request.Please email SIGCHI-VP-CONFERENCES_at_ACM.ORG (the following)

  • Conference Short Name
  • Conference Full name
  • Start and End dates (should match with what is on
  • Location
  • Conference Chairs “ACM web account” names
  • A square conference logo

After the conference

This section covers questions you might have about what needs to be done, after a conference is over. The following list is not exhaustive but provides you some suggestions for activities to ensure a timely closing of the conferences and its finances.

  • If you have an OpenTOC page for your conference, ensure it’s online and ensure a copy of it is available from the SIGCHI OpenTOC Conference Proceedings page.
  • Please provide the SIGCHI VP for conferences the data and links to proceedings required so a “conference history” page for your event can be published here.
  • SIGCHI conferences development fund final reports need to be submitted as quickly as possible after the conference is over. This is to ensure the timely recording of the funds used and to ensure future years can start planning for submitting an award without delay.
  • Meetings between local chair(s) and general chair(s)
  • Evaluation of participants’ experiences. The VP for membership is now planning to survey all conference delegates who attend, by default.
  • Document data and facts and report to steering committee and the N+1, N+2 … year’s chairs
  • Evaluate the entire planning and organisation of the
    conference at the end
  • Handle complaints from participants (if any)
  • Send acknowledgements to keynote speakers, sponsors and local support organisations etc.)
  • Send acknowledgements to SVs and chairs
  • Send acknowledgements to suppliers
  • Work with the ACM to ensure a timely financial closing of the conference. In the past this has dragged on for over 1 year which is intolerable for all concerned. If the steering committee or general chairs notice the closing is taking too much time, please make the VP for conferences aware ASAP.

Other Topics

ACM’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) represent the major areas of the dynamic computing field. A primary source of original research and personal perspectives from the world’s leading thinkers in computing and information technology, they foster technical communities within their respective specialties across countries and continents.

The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) currently has 37 Special Interest Groups. ACM SIGCHI is one of these “SIGs” with thousands of members. The ACM maintains a page on ACM Special Interest Groups (SIGS) Volunteer Resources. The ACM SIGCHI itself is run by an Executive Committee (EC), which includes elected officers, the immediate past president, editors of membership publications, and appointed office-holders. This committee organises the activities of SIGCHI on behalf of its members and is guided by the ACM Structure and Function of a Typical SIG.

The VP for Conferences chairs SIGCHI Conferences Board and the SIGCHI Council of Steering Committee Chairs (CSCC). All steering committee chairs, of a SIGCHI Specialized Conference organised under the auspices of SIGCHI with a (co-)sponsored status of at least 50% sit on the CSCC. The CSCC meets annually (typically just before the CHI PC meeting).

ACM SIGCHI Specialized Conferences
ACM SIGCHI Specialized Conferences are all conferences other than CHI that involve ACM SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) as sponsor or co-sponsor (>= 50%).
Why engage with the ACM SIGCHI on your conference organization?
In some cases, the steering committee for the conference you are considering or currently planning to run have made a formal choice to be a sponsored, co-sponsored or in-cooperation event. The links on this page summarize the Benefits and constraints of being a sponsored or co-sponsored conference.
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