The SIGGRAPH 2022 Committee Is Evolving the Conference Experience

by | 31 May 2022 | ACM SIGGRAPH, Conferences, Education, Students

Image credit: Arkitek Creative

In August 2008, I remember walking through the Los Angeles Convention Center and being overwhelmed by the volume of content presented. The energy in the space was exciting and palpable — from the Exhibition floor to the passion my fellow participants showed. It was the very first SIGGRAPH I attended. At the time, I was a freshman at Purdue University. While I may have understood only a fraction of the information I gleaned from attending various sessions, I both recognized and felt the energy and passion of the event and knew it was something I wanted more of. 

In late 2019, a little over a decade later, I accepted the Conference Chair position for SIGGRAPH 2022. Having served as part of the conference committee for a number of years — from leading the Student Volunteers program in 2017 and working as Creative Development Director in 2018 and 2019 to directing the Electronic Theater in 2020 and observing the overall conference process — I had my visions for 2022, as well as for the things I wanted to accomplish along with my team. However, reimagining the entire conference as a hybrid experience was not part of my plan, especially given how grand SIGGRAPH’s history has been for nearly half a century. 

Following the lead of the virtual conferences of the past two years, we’ve paid close attention to feedback from the SIGGRAPH conference community. As challenging as these years have been, there have also been incredibly positive moments, one of which being that the pandemic has shed light on the accessibility and inclusivity of virtual experiences. Most noticeably, SIGGRAPH conference participants experienced the content in ways beyond what was previously possible and with much more flexibility. Knowing how much everyone has missed the opportunities for connection — through networking events or hallway conversations with peers and colleagues — as well as understanding the newly added value of providing more flexible access to content, the SIGGRAPH 2022 Conference Committee embarked on the major task of reimagining and redesigning the conference into an experience that will hopefully be the start of something special for the next 50 years. 

Designing a Conference

The In-person Experience

The SIGGRAPH conference is known for its grand scale when it comes to offering many wonderful, simultaneous presentations throughout each day of the event. SIGGRAPH 2022 is designed with YOU — our distinguished authors and contributors, as well as our conference participants — in mind. The in-person conference experience will provide more engaging, interactive, and hands-on sessions. My conference committee and I have focused on addressing participants’ years of feedback around how little time there has been to connect with people during fully virtual conferences, while also balancing that with providing options in order to enable participants to see as much content as possible. 

At SIGGRAPH 2022, participants will gather for roundtable discussions and interactive sessions that are intended to foster the conversation and dialogue that has been so missed over the past two years. The in-person schedule will also provide more opportunities to connect with colleagues and friends. In addition to these networking experiences, much of the in-person conference will be presented only once without a virtual counterpart. Take advantage of the chance to discuss leading research from Technical Papers, discover new innovations in the Exhibition, learn something new from your peers in Courses, or be inspired by the latest in art and engineering within the Experience Hall — a venue that encompasses Art Gallery, Emerging Technologies, Immersive Pavilion, and Labs. As one of our newest programs, Labs will be exclusive to the in-person conference and will offer hands-on demonstrations and workshops for you to experience firsthand. 

The Virtual Experience

In addition to the in-person experience, SIGGRAPH 2022 will again provide much of the conference content virtually in an effort to continue to promote accessibility and inclusivity after two years of virtual-only offerings. The content provided as part of the virtual experience will allow participants to view and access education with ease.

On-demand, virtual content will be available in the virtual platform starting 25 July, two weeks before the in-person conference begins. This content will remain available through 31 October, allowing participants to experience conference content without time constraints and to continue conversations long after our closing session in Vancouver. 

Read the full story on LinkedIn Pulse.

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