Overview

Since the term CSCW was coined by Greif and Cashman, the field has been dominated by academic and industry research conducted for the most part in North America and Europe. These regions have provided lasting contributions to the field and organize the most important conferences in the area, CSCW and ECSCW.

However, the CSCW steering committee has promoted an international agenda aiming to extend participation beyond these two traditional regions. For instance, CSCW 2011 was held in China in an attempt to grow Asian interest in the conference. Months before the event, a paper writing workshop was organized in China to help the Asian community to more successfully submit contributions to the main SIGCHI, and especially, CSCW conferences. Since then, there has been growth of Chinese participation in the conference year over year. In 2012, during the Brazilian Conference on Collaborative Systems, there was a similar paper writing workshop. In 2017, CSCW was planned to take place in Brazil. As part of the preparation for that event, another paper writing workshop for CSCW Latin American researchers was held in 2015. Both events were supported by SIGCHI. In the same year, a CSCW workshop titled “Doing CSCW Research in Latin America: Differences, Opportunities, Challenges, and Lessons Learned” was held in Vancouver BC, aiming to create a community of CSCW researchers interested in doing research in, or about, Latin America. Later on, CSCW 2017’s venue was changed due to health concerns.

Despite attempts at attracting researchers from non-traditional regions, their participation and contribution are still modest. Anecdotal evidence suggests CSCW is receiving an increasing number of submissions from Latin American researchers. However, this has not been reflected in the number of accepted papers. As a matter of fact, fostering international research contributions to CSCW is a nontrivial task. It requires efforts to reach out to researchers who are doing “CSCW-like” research, but who are not familiar with the ACM CSCW conference, its review process, styles of writing and methods. It also requires acknowledging and understanding theoretical, methodological, and practical differences across regions. Brazil, for instance, is one of the large adopters of social media, but several Brazilian researchers who are studying this topic do not submit papers to the ACM CSCW conference. Likewise, Chile has a long tradition of research and development in socio-technical and collaborative systems which has spanned more than 20 years. However, until very recently, there has not been active representation of this country in the broader CSCW community.

In addition to the above, SIGCHI has recognized that there is a growing need to deepen the understanding of relatively underserved communities and diverse populations and their social interactions with computing technologies. For this reason, they created the SIGCHI Across Borders Initiative (SABI), led by Susan Dray. SABI is an effort to reach out to HCI and CSCW researchers in places where these areas are still in their infancy.

Growing out of the HCI Across Borders (HCIxB) activities, SIGCHI has sponsored or been involved in several SABI regional meetings: (1) to discuss the future of SIGCHI in Arab, African, and Latin American regions, (2) to spark discussions about barriers and challenges people face in these regions, and (3) to engage participants as volunteers and to contribute to this effort. At this point, there have been three meetings. The first one in Egypt, the second one in Guatemala, where there were attendees from countries like Brazil, Chile, Panama, and Mexico. Likewise, although the third meeting was held in Wales, there was representation from Latin American countries like Chile, Brazil, and Mexico. All meetings took place in 2018.

Our initiatives aim to serve as a continuation of these different previous efforts from Latin American researchers, the CSCW steering committee, and the SIGCHI Executive Committee in building a critical mass of LA researchers interested in CSCW as well as building sustainable involvement of these researchers in the broader international CSCW community.