(by Shaun) So British HCI 2015 has come and gone.
We had 250 people from 20 countries come and visit us and contribute to the workshops, the doctoral networking event, the hack, the paper sessions, keynotes, panels, the town hall meeting, the unconference in the student union, the EPSRC/ESRC lunch, the interactions gallery, the poster session and all the social events.
Of course my favourite “sessions” were probably the evenings and it’s certainly the case that I may have neglected my chair role once or twice because of that – but I would have not have had it any other way. Hopefully no-one has any record (this time) of the 4 a.m. impromptu karaoke in the student flats on the final night…
The best thing for me – aside from meeting some amazing people including all our great keynotes – was seeing how it genuinely was possible to re-energise the conference and gather together a hefty segment of the community to – often heatedly – raise debate about the real and pressing issues and agendas we face – some good – some not so good. There were many times – during the months of organization – that I doubted this turnaround of the conference would be possible, and it’s fair to say I struggled sometimes with some of the more difficult issues that arose. The way the community ultimately responded though was thrilling for everyone involved in the event’s organisation. The willingness of everyone, regardless of their own personal research area, to engage with the conference themes of democracy, the Magna Carta, activism and politics was also great reward for us.
None of this was possible without immense effort, enthusiasm and support from a large number of people and I’m indebted to everyone who helped in each and every way. The LiSC team have been awesome.
I’ll just mention two highlights from the last day; first up I still cannot believe that Chris managed to persuade Julian Assange to muse upon the Dog Internet (“they’ll get it whether they want it or not”), and secondly witnessing everyone put gravy on their fish’n’chips was a perfect dénouement to the week and reflective of the fun we always hoped everyone would have whilst visiting us.