Posted by: clare on: May 15, 2013
Two days after the Research-Practice Interaction SIG that I sadly could not attend, I was in the midst of CHI and running our SIG entitled Science vs. Science: the Complexities of Interdisciplinary Research. I organised this SIG with Jofish Kaye, Jill Fantauzzacoffin and David Millard, and Jofish and I were able to be in the room and facilitate matters.
I didn’t do a head count, but we had something like two dozen people in the room for this extremely animated SIG. We opened with a room-wide discussion about issues and barriers to interdisciplinary work, with people raising issues such as knowledge representation, coverage of literature and mentoring. We also came to a topic I had mused upon in the somewhat distant past: the meaning of words such as interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary.
With so many people in the room, we decided it was important to break off into groups in order to give people a better chance to make their voices heard. Our participants broke into three groups to continue the discussion grounded in real-world examples: we asked them to choose specific interdisciplinary projects which they felt had been successful, and discuss what factors they felt brought about that success. We closed the SIG with a discussion in which each group shared their conclusions with the whole room. As someone who was briefly involved in Equator towards the end of the project, it was neat to see that one group had chosen that as an example to focus on.
My only regret is that although our SIG was co-located with WebSci’13, our participants only came from CHI. I suspect this is due to a combination of WebSci’s (laudable) single-track approach with a lack of information about the SIG filtering through to the WebSci crowd. Personally, I’d have loved some cross-conference interaction — but you can’t win ‘em all. Meanwhile, this SIG had some real energy, and felt like something of a nascent community.
Posted by: clare on: May 15, 2013
As I observed beforehand, 30 April brought the CHI SIG on Research-Practice Interaction, a topic suggested by Elizabeth Buie, Aaron Houssian and myself.Sadly, I missed our SIG personally since I was travelling at the time, but I wanted to write a few words about what happened:
As I previously said, the aim was to let interested CHI attendees meet members of the SIGCHI RPI community and engage in discussions on RPI issues including the CHI format, dissemination of results, and supporting practice-based research. Elizabeth and Aaron had a fab plan, and asked the 22 participants to self-identify as either:
Attendees then split into groups, where each group contained at least one representative of each attendee ‘type’. Groups spent around 45 minutes discussing what each member needs/wants from the other ‘types’ of attendee, responding to the needs/wants of other attendee ‘types’, identifying tangible actions and summarising points to bring back to the room as a whole.
This generated quite animated discussion!
I was very pleased to hear that a good 22 people came along to this SIG. We were expecting lots of familiar faces, so it was surprising as well as pleasing to hear that lots of newcomers came along. As well as connecting us with a set of potential new SIGCHI RPI members, the SIG generated various actions and outcomes. Good times.
Posted by: clare on: May 2, 2013
Have you done interdisciplinary work? Perhaps you’ve worked in Web Science or a related area. Maybe you’re a sociologist who has studied societal impacts of the web, or a designer who has worked on web interfaces for groups. Perhaps you’re a psychologist, criminologist or sociologist with a long-running interest in web-related issues… or an economist, computer scientist, HCI practitioner, artist or writer with similar interests.
Whatever your background, I’d love to hear from you.
Perhaps you recall that last year I did some work on disciplinary representation in Web Science, demonstrating a method for gathering empirical insights into this important question. This year, I worked with colleagues at DERI to analyse a good sized data set. We ran a small expert survey to help understand the link between disciplines and terms in WebSci articles: it was very helpful, but small scale.
We’d be thrilled to get more data, and you can help! If you can possibly spare 5 minutes to head to iSurvey, we’d love to hear a tiny bit about your disciplinary background, and your opinion on the link between 19 terms and academic disciplines.
The odds are that if you read this blog, I’d appreciate your contribution! Thank you for your time.
Posted by: clare on: May 1, 2013
As well as the CHI’13 SIG on Research-Practice Interaction, I’m involved in a SIG entitled Science vs. Science: the Complexities of Interdisciplinary Research. My co-organisers are Jofish Kaye, Jill Fantauzzacoffin and David Millard.
This is a topic that has long been close to my heart, and I was particularly inspired to suggest a SIG for CHI’13 to take advantage of CHI (a radically interdisciplinary conference) being co-located with Web Science (a radically interdisciplinary conference). An ideal opportunity for dialogue!
As we remark in our abstract:
Human-Computer Interaction and Web Science are radically interdisciplinary fields, but what does this mean in practical terms? Undertaking research (and writing papers) that encompass multiple disciplinary perspectives and methods is a serious challenge and it is difficult to maintain conferences that fairly review and host contributions from multiple disciplines.
The colocation of the ACM WebSci conference with CHI in Paris, offers an unusual opportunity to bring these two communities together. Previous discussions have considered how to conduct interdisciplinary work that bridges HCI/WebSci with specific areas. Our objective is to provide a space for interested researchers from both communities to share their views and approaches to tackling the tensions and complexities associated with interdisciplinary work, whatever fields are being bridged.
We’re hoping people will swing by for the opportunity discuss issues such as (but not limited to)
We aim to identify key issues (and possible solutions) in interdisciplinary work that can inform future discussions.
The SIG is tomorrow: Thursday 2nd May, 11am in Room 362/363. Do come by!
Posted by: clare on: April 29, 2013
Last year at CHI’12 I attended a workshop on the use of theory in practice, which led to the formation of the SIGCHI Research-Practice Interaction community. The goals of the community are to bridge the gap between research and practice, by for example supporting practitioner-friendly dissemination of results, and serving as a conduit for feedback from practitioners to researchers. I’m very pleased to currently be the Vice-Chair of this community.
The purpose of the CHI’13 SIG is to allow interested CHI attendees to meet members of the SIGCHI RPI community, and to engage in discussions on RPI issues including the CHI format, dissemination of results, and supporting practice-based research. We’re very open to people bringing topics of their own that need attention, and we have also identified the following three questions as a starting point for discussion:
This session is running tomorrow(!): Tuesday 30th April, room 361 at 11am. Sadly, I shan’t be there in person, but I am certain that Elizabeth and Aaron will run a fantastic and accessible session: they have an outstanding plan! Whether you’re a researcher or practitioner, please do pop by if this is relevant to your interests.
Posted by: clare on: April 24, 2013
I promised in my recent post about starting at IT Innovation that I’d say a few words about some of the things I’m working on. FITMAN is an obvious starting point, since this is where I’m spending most of my time.
As per the subject of this post, FITMAN is about Future Internet Technologies for Manufacturing. The Future Internet (FI) is a big topic, and FITMAN falls within the EC FI-PPP programme (that’s FI Public-Private Partnership). FI-PPP aims to take an industry-driven approach to harmonise EU-scale technology platforms, not to mention the relevant policy, legal, political and regulatory frameworks. Big stuff.
FITMAN itself is about providing the FI-PPP with industry-led use cases demonstrating the use of such technologies in real-world contexts. To that end, it involves 11 trials with manufacturers, from large enterprises like Whirlpool and VW down to regional SMEs. Those trials are divided into three streams, with different focuses:
The goal is to test the suitability, openness and flexibility of ‘Generic Enablers’, reusable elements provided by FI-WARE (yes, another FI project!), and support EU manufacturing.
That’s a lot of very large-scale goals and programmes I’ve been talking about so far. What am I doing, precisely?
Well, our components within the project are rather analytical. There’s a lot of work to do with impact assessment, specifically socio-economic impact (although that doesn’t mean we won’t consider metrics concerning technological, environmental or political impact and sustainability). We’ll assess impact of the business cases, the later trial expansion, and the project as a whole. Among other things we’ll also be contributing business analysis, and preparation / support for Phase III expansion of the Use Cases.
FITMAN is a two-year project (relatively short for an EC project, which are often three years in length), and officially kicked off this month. I’m looking forward to delving into the details of this work over the coming months.
Posted by: clare on: April 17, 2013
I haven’t written for just over a month. That’s partly due to busy weekends, but partly because I’ve been busy with a new job!
I’ve been getting stuck into work at the IT Innovation Centre (aka IT Innovation), an applied research centre that’s part of Electronics & Computer Science at the University of Southampton. Unlike the majority of the university, IT Innovation isn’t based on Highfield Campus (or even Avenue Campus), but instead is 3 miles up the road at Chilworth Science Park. IT Innovation do tonnes of applied research — right now, primarily (although not exclusively) EC projects — and are application agnostic, meaning we work in domains that vary from manufacturing to entertainment. Technologically, IT Innovation has some serious expertise in security, archiving and retrieval, business process modelling, and information discovery.
It’s a pretty exciting place to be. I’ve always been more drawn to applied than theoretical research, and although IT Innovation is part of the University, in certain respects it sits part-way between academia and industry. This reflects my own interests, exemplified by my co-founding the SIGCHI RPI community, which aims to bridge HCI research and practice — or looking further back, by my choosing to do an EngD rather than a PhD, and be grounded both in academia at the University of Southampton and industrial practice at IBM Hursley.
It’s my second new job in 12 months — and while I’m on that topic, I’d like to say that working with Seme4 was an absolute delight, and it was sad to say goodbye — and I hope not to be blogging any more job changes in the next while :) This particular contract is permanent, which is wonderful: after transient postdoctoral positions, it’s a pleasure to have a little more stability.
I haven’t talked about what I’m working on yet: there are at least three EU projects I’d like to talk about, so I think that’s some future blog posts sorted.
Speaking of future blog posts, a mere fortnight from now both WebSci’13 and CHI’13 will be in full swing; I have contributions at both conferences, so expect to be hearing more about those soon!