Open Session: Site Selection, October 12, 2023

The October 2023 SIGCHI EC open session focused on site selection.

We met to discuss how conference site selection impacts a conference series, conference leaders, as well as conference and local communities, and to brainstorm a list of considerations and recommendations for processes so that organizers can use these to select (and the executive committee can use these to approve) sites.

In this 30-minute unrecorded session, there was wide discussion among participants regarding different concerns around site selection. Here are (most of) the points raised via a collaborative document and Zoom conversation:

  • We should better understand why we are reconsidering site selection practices in the first place. Whose sustainability (economic, ecological, etc.) are we concerned about?

  • We should take climate and indigenous issues and perspectives into consideration.

  • We should consider whose land we are meeting on. These maps would help for North America:

  • We should consider mandatory hybrid and multi-site to avoid the need for long haul and ideally enable ground-based travel for most.

  • We should think about affordability—imagine hubs in areas that would struggle to participate at the current distance/reg fees.

  • We should consider the costs of hybrid and how these might be reduced.

  • We should hear from different perspectives (e.g., students, faculty, industry professionals) and geographies.

  • We should survey community members to understand their online/on-site preferences, and what they might be willing/unwilling to give up.

  • We should understand whether residents of particular countries are repeatedly disadvantaged.

  • We should consider forward- as well as backward-looking responsibility; making forward-looking plans does not necessarily alleviate backward-looking responsibility. Likewise re: individual vs. organizational responsibility (individual self-regulation is not equal to nor alleviates organizational level responsibility).

  • We should understand whether travel budgets are being restricted across countries.

  • We should consider what a net zero roadmap for ACM conferences would look like.

  • We should survey past conference locations (what has worked, what hasn’t).

  • We should come up with timelines to inform site selection for conferences.

  • We should re-examine bidding processes for conferences.

  • We should think about safety and the many dimensions to it, such as UN rankings.

  • We should think about alternatives to physical travel, such as why not online and/or limited hybrid and/or multi-local-site/near-me hybrid.

  • We should consider whether the broader community could have input in site selection at any point, e.g. when there are 3 sites selected.

  • We should consider ways of incentivizing sustainable travel. Usually this takes more time, but are there incentives people could benefit from that would make sacrificing this time worthwhile?

  • We should gather data, such as typical lead time for conferences of different sizes, percent of remote attendees and presenters, and travel distance profile, in past hybrid conferences.

  • We should consider visa issues when we ask people to cross borders to get to our conferences.

  • We should consider, for CHI in particular, whether the growth is beyond reasonable limits (economic, cognitive, ecological, etc.).

  • We should keep accessibility in mind.

  • We should reconsider collocation of all conference tracks as a premise.

  • We should consider coordinating across conferences and locations.

We thank the members of our community who attended this discussion. Most of the above are aligned with accessibility, sustainability, hybridity, safety, global inclusivity, and equity-related priorities that the EC has been communicating to the events that we sponsor (our conferences) and support (other events and initiatives). With the Site Selection Working Group to be formed soon, the EC hopes to frame the above considerations into a set of guidelines for our conferences to consider when making site selection decisions.

Event type



Thu Oct 12 2023

Local time (UTC)

12:30:00 PM - 1:00:00 PM