A Message from ACM SIGGRAPH President Jessica Hodgins

by | 14 April 2020 | ACM SIGGRAPH, Conferences, Graphics, Interactive Techniques

photo by Jim Hagarty © 2018 ACM SIGGRAPH

Dear ACM SIGGRAPH community,

Like many industries, our field of computer graphics and interactive techniques is experiencing significant challenges amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. It has forced all of us to make abrupt changes to our daily routines: learning to work remotely, adapting to teaching online, or finding ways to fill our days while furloughed or unemployed. For many, there is also the added worry of managing kids who are now out of school or caring for elderly relatives. For all of us, including me, the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic has made it impossible to continue “normal” operations, and at the same time, it has underlined the importance of focusing on what we can do to help support our global community while staying home to flatten the curve.

All of this change is a lot to manage, and I am writing to assure you that we in the computer graphics community are all in this together. Please know that the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee is working closely with both ACM and conference leadership to determine how COVID-19 will impact our key programming, including the upcoming SIGGRAPH 2020 conference that is scheduled for 19–23 July in Washington, D.C.

As I write this today, SIGGRAPH 2020 remains on the calendar; however, we are closely monitoring the situation in order to proceed with an event that supports our community, showcases the amazing work of the past year, and also ensures the health and well-being of our global community. We are not blind to how quickly this pandemic has altered the ways in which major conferences and events have been and continue to be held, and we will make decisions based on the best interests of our members, contributors, and participants. We will update you along the way as thinking evolves and as decisions are made, whether that means maintaining current plans or shifting to a different format. Regardless of where the final experience lands, we are committed to showcasing the amazing talent of our global community this year as we have for the past 47 years.  

Our priority is to ensure that the content accepted to SIGGRAPH 2020 is shared with the world. We all look forward to the content that comes out of our conferences each year. While this year is unique, we do not plan to veer from our mission of celebrating and exchanging fresh ideas and innovation across all areas of computer graphics and interactive techniques. The same goes for SIGGRAPH Asia 2020, scheduled for 17–20 November, so please keep your submissions coming. As always, content from both conferences will be shared and preserved in the ACM Digital Library.

ACM SIGGRAPH is also in the process of finding ways to offer online programming and resources that might be helpful or informative to our community. ACM has opened access to the Digital Library through 30 June, for those who have the time and energy to seek out education and research.  We’re hoping to reprise recent conference courses with an added interactive component, and members of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee are planning a series of events centered around topics of relevance. We will share more information about these efforts in the coming weeks. Further, S3, our committee focused on student members and emerging professionals, is planning to open additional slots for mentorship and resume/reel reviews online thanks to the support of seasoned volunteers with time to spare. Details on these plans will be available on the S3 website.

We know that some of you have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, both personally and professionally, and we are here to help in any way we can. We’ve set up a page of resources here and welcome any ideas that you may have to add to this list. Feel free to email me at president@siggraph.org if you have suggestions as to other ways we might support the community.

Like many of you, I’ve had some quiet moments to reflect while at home. In that time, I’ve thought about the significant impact that being a part of SIGGRAPH has had on me and on my career. Most importantly, I think of our mission: to nurture, champion, and connect researchers and practitioners of computer graphics and interactive techniques. This is an unthinkable time, but let’s remain connected and continue to support each other.

Jessica Hodgins

This letter was originally posted to the ACM SIGGRAPH President’s Corner on SIGGRAPH.org.

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