History of SEACHI
- The Beginning
On March 25-27, 2011, Zhengjie Liu and John Karat organised and led the ACM SIGCHI Asia Workshop in Beijing, China, to discuss the landscape of HCI in Asia, identify the key players and how they could work together in the region.
In place of Josh (Adi) Tedjasaputra, who was unable to attend the invitation by Zhengjie Liu, Eunice Sari participated in the workshop.
The workshop was a rare opportunity for Eunice to share and learn with others with a similar interest in HCI and also a catalyst much needed to kickstart what would become the Asian CHI Symposium. Unknown to Eunice, many who attended the workshop would help her build and grow the Asian HCI community in the future.
2. Incubation Period
Returning from the HCI workshop, she shared her experience on how HCI researchers and professionals in other regions grow and advance and envision working together with the regional players to build and develop a strong HCI community. However, the road was not always smooth as expected.
First regional events
Approaching and discussing with many stakeholders, Eunice and Josh finally agreed to start the first regional SIGCHI event in Indonesia, namely UX Indonesia - Malaysia 2014. Special thanks to Zhengjie Liu and John Karat for their tremendous financial support from ACM SIGCHI.
The event was well attended by researchers and practitioners from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. For the first time, HCI and UX academia and practitioners in the region gathered in one room and discussed important HCI and UX agendas with Zhengjie Liu was the keynote speaker of the event.
Following the success of this event, a second workshop, the Asia Pacific HCI Workshop, was organized as a part of the OZCHI 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The workshop was the first regional event that involved Asian and Australian researchers and practitioners.
As the community started to grow, Eunice and Josh felt the importance of solid regional collaboration and being part of the global HCI community at ACM SIGCHI. There was also a need for academia and practitioners to share their works, document them as a part of the regional portfolios, and share them back to the community through international publications.
In 2015, we organized the first International ACM SIGCHI In Cooperation Conference in HCI and UX in Indonesia called CHIuXiD after forming Indonesia ACM SIGCHI Chapter as the first ACM SIGCHI chapter in Southeast Asia. We invited Masaaki Kurosu (the founder of APCHI), who was in the first ACM SIGCHI Asia Meeting in China, as keynote speakers in this historical event. Special thanks to Philippe Palangue, who has helped us tremendously to get the In Cooperation status.
During CHIuXiD conferences, we were privileged to have hundreds of people from the region and internationally exchange ideas and initiate collaborations. We were impressed by the supports from the academic and industry participants, mainly from Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
We also had the opportunity to produce the first HCI publication focusing on HCI and UX research in Southeast Asia at the ACM Digital Library through this conference.
3. Joining the CHI Conference
We want to be more engaged in the global ACM SIGCHI community as we grow. We realised that participation in the CHI community from Southeast Asia had been very low for many years. Thus, after the success of the regional HCI initiatives, during the planning of CHI 2015, Eunice Sari communicated the idea of having regional symposiums at CHI 2015 to Jinwoo Kim and Bo Begole the general co-chairs of CHI 2015. She thought it was a ripe time to activate a Southeast Asian HCI community that was relatively small and scattered at the first CHI conference in Asia, i.e., Seoul, South Korea.
Jinwoo Kim and Bo Begole then followed up this idea by introducing regional symposiums in CHI 2015, i.e., Crossing HCI for Development in the Asia Pacific for the Southeast Asian HCI Community and the Chinese CHI Symposium and Japanese CHI Symposium.
In these symposia, another researcher from Malaysia, Masitah Ghazali (Masitah), who later became a member of the ACS Permanent Steering Committee, was invited to co-organize the Crossing HCI for Development in the Asia Pacific. Masitah has been active in the community through regional HCI events, such as CHIuXiD 2015 and OzCHI conference.
In the SEACHI Symposium, Eunice proposed to Jinwoo Kim and Bo Begole to archive the extended abstract from the symposium and put them into the ACM Digital Library to attract more Southeast Asian researchers to the CHI Conference. The CHI Conference fee was relatively high, and thus many Southeast Asian researchers could not afford it. However, if any published outputs from the events, they are likely to get university travel and conference funding. At the Crossing HCI for Development in the Asia Pacific, we managed to get quite many participants participating in the workshop.
In addition to the symposiums, during the same time, the ACM SIGCHI EC led by Prof. Loren Terveen, the SIGCHI EC Chair, formed the SIGCHI Asian Development Committee (ADC), consisting of Zhengjie Liu, Eunice Sari, Jinwoo Kim, Anirudha Joshi, and Yoshifumi Kitamura. Most of us, except Jinwoo Kim, were part of the ACM SIGCHI Asia Workshop in 2011.
After CHI 2015, Eunice Sari kept the momentum by having the 2nd Asia Pacific Symposium at OZCHI 2015 in Australia, SEACHI 2016 as a part of CHI 2016 in San Jose, USA, and also CHIuXiD 2016 in Indonesia.
The events would not have been possible without the help of many people in organizing them.
For the 2nd Asia Pacific Symposium at OzCHI 2015, much support was received from the Australian researchers. Prior to this workshop, they participated in the first symposium in South Korea in 2015 and CHIuXiD 2015, such as Margot Brereton, Jennifer Lawrence, Wan Fatimah Wan Ahmad, and Jess Tsimeris.
For the 2nd Asia Pacific Symposium, SEACHI 2016, conducted at CHI 2016 in San Jose, Josh (Adi Tedjasaputra), Masitah Ghazali, and Ellen Do again co-championed this event. Thanks to Allison Druin and Jofish Kaye, who supported us to make the 2nd SEACHI 2016 happen at CHI 2016. After this event, both Allison Druin and Jofish Kaye were also supporters of many HCI events in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. SEACHI 2016 was very special because we had a lot of participants from all over the world, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia, but all of them shared a common interest, i.e., Asian HCI Research.
For the 2nd Asia Pacific Workshop at CHIuXiD 2016, Indonesia, we received financial support from ACM SIGCHI and the international community in Asia. Youn-Kyung Lim was the keynote speaker at the conference, and Yoshifumi Kitamura attended as a participant.
4. Consolidation and Inclusion
During the ADC meeting in Japan in 2017, Eunice Sari convinced Yoshifumi Kitamura to hold a joint symposium at CHI 2017, combining the Japanese HCI community with Southeast Asia HCI and UX community. The other ADC members were happy to support the event that Eunice named the Asian CHI Symposium (ACS) based on Josh's suggestion and vision to empower Asian HCI researchers and UX professionals. Yoshifumi Kitamura introduced Eunice to Keita Kitaguchi, an early-career researcher from Tokyo University, to realise Eunice's vision, i.e., to organise a combined event, Asian CHI Symposium, to support Japanese and Southeast Asian early-career researchers.
The first Asian CHI Symposium was held at CHI 2017 in Denver, USA, in which Masitah Ghazali also participated as the co-organizer. We also had Josh (Adi) Tedjasaputra and Ellen Do from the Southeast Asia HCI community. We did not have a particular publication volume for the symposium as the Japanese community preferred not to have any publication, and the Southeast Asian community preferred to make this combined effort work first.
Following the ACS 2017, Eunice, Josh (Adi) Tedjasaputra, and Masitah kept working with Japanese early-career researchers, such as Saki Sakaguchi, in ACS 2018. Learning from the experience of ACS 2017, where financial constraints have become an issue, Eunice proposed that ADC put aside a budget to support researchers from developing countries. This financial support has enabled many to attend ACS 2018 at CHI 2018 in Montreal, Canada.
The ACS 2018's position was more prominent than before. We had more participation from more countries in Asia and the Middle East and a more extensive research spectrum. The event provided a safe environment, particularly for early-career researchers and practitioners to exchange knowledge and experience in HCI research and projects in Asia.
With the experience from previous successful ACS, Josh (Adi) Tedjasaputra and Masitah Ghazali, with the help of Kazuyuki Fujita and other early-career researchers from Japan and Southeast Asia countries, organized ACS 2019 in Glasgow, the United Kingdom, with similar success in terms of growing attendance, higher engagement, and higher submission quality. This year, we thanked Geraldine Fitzpatrick and Steve Drucker for supporting the event and inclusion in the CHI 2019 archival.
After passing the baton to early-career researchers, Eunice and Josh assumed the Senior Mentors for the organizers of ACS 2020. Due to many factors, including COVID-19, CHI 2020 was canceled, but we decided to keep the ACS 2020 going. The event was held fully online and free of charge, and the organizers adapted very well to this challenge. We had many participants from other Asian countries, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and many more.
ACS 2021 was organized as a part of the fully-online CHI 2021 event. Thanks to Aaron Quigley and Yoshifumi Kitamura for their support throughout the process, i.e., inclusion in the CHI 2021 archival and special registration rates. Facilitated by these special rates and provision to attend the event online, we also had a good turnout from the event. We managed two types of publications: ACM Digital Library publication and Special Conference publication.