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The Second Boom of SIGCHI Local Chapters

In the first meeting of the current SIGCHI Executive Committee (EC) in July 2015 in New York City, two chapter-related goals were set for this EC term. In line with SIGCHI’s outreach and global development strategy, the two goals were:

1. to have a greater geographical coverage of active chapters around the world at the end of this EC term in 2018, and
2. to support the existing chapters in their local activities, keep them running and satisfied to be affiliated with SIGCHI.

Now, in April 2018, we can take a look back and see how we have succeeded in achieving these goals.

The number of active ACM SIGCHI Local Chapters in April 2018 is 48. The number has gone 11 chapters up from 37 in 2015. It is the second largest number of local chapters since the first boom ending in 2004 with 52 chapters around the world.

The first boom coincides with a number of chapters being established outside North America. A number of chapters were born in Europe at that time, but the first chapters were started also in New Zealand (1999), Brazil (2001), South Africa (2001), and Korea (2002).

In 2018, there are SIGCHI local chapters in 14 new countries, there are 12 new chapters in the Global South, and 9 new chapters in Asia, since 2015. The number of chapters in Africa has gone up from 1 to 3, in Latin America from 3 to 4, and in Asia from 6 to 15. The last development is well in line with the current SIGCHI EC’s strategy on outreach in Asia. Also large and well-established HCI communities in countries such as UK and Germany have now their SIGCHI local chapters. Overall, there are local chapters in 37 different countries. The geographical coverage of SIGCHI chapters is greater than ever. A big thanks for this goes to VP at Large Susan Dray for promoting the chapters for the developing HCI communities in the Global South and for the Asian Development Committee, Eunice Sari, in particular, for promoting the chapters in Asia.

Five chapters that were active in July 2015 have been dechartered due to inactivity (in USA[2], Canada, Chile and Czech Republic). This does not have to be an unfortunate outcome, if the local HCI community is still alive and active. There may be a life cycle for a chapter, and after HCI has matured in a region, it might be that the chapter will fade away. Running a local chapter is based on active volunteering effort.

SIGCHI is continuously developing new ways to support and promote the local chapters and the volunteers behind them. In early 2016, SIGCHI EC decided on Chapter Officer Support. At least until the end of 2018 (a trial), SIGCHI will sponsor the ACM and SIGCHI memberships for the required chapter officers as a reward for volunteering to run a chapter. From 2013, you may have noticed that in every other issue of Interactions magazine, the Community Square column has been dedicated to SIGCHI local chapters. Since then, 10 local chapters have been introduced to the readers of the magazine. With the support of SIGCHI, the local chapter officers gather annually at the CHI conference to network and exchange ideas. This year, at CHI’18 in Montréal, the chapter officers could apply for a travel grant to attend the meeting. Furthermore, chapter banners are displayed on the hallways of the Palais des congrès de Montréal during the conference, introducing 14 local chapters from 13 different countries.

Of course, the statistics are all numbers. What really matters is the active work the volunteers do for HCI in their local communities worldwide. SIGCHI local chapters help the ACM SIGCHI community to promote and advance research and profession of HCI locally and around the globe. For the developing parts of the world, the local chapters often serve as the first front to promote HCI education, research and practice in the region. We believe it is important to help new local HCI communities to get together, grow and flourish, in particular in those regions of the world where HCI is still immature, as a profession, academic discipline and/or field of research.