CHItaly 2021 Workshop

Gameful self-reflection: on HCI and the sustainability discourses

Go to: Call for abstract

Submission deadline extended WORKSHOP CANCELLED

Abstract submission deadline extended: 20 May, 2021

Organizers and Contacts

Greta Adamo, ITI / LARSyS, Madeira, Portugal (contact person:
Max Willis, M-ITI and ITI / LARSyS, Madeira, Portugal
Leysan Nurgalieva, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland


It could be said that sustainability has always been at the center of HCI as a field; the core tenets of HCI, usability and participation are both concerned with securing and maintaining continued, meaningful engagement between customers and publics with the products and services we design. Meanwhile, the concept of sustainability has taken on a more broad ecological meaning, and although a range of HCI academic and industry professionals are focussed on topics such as urban design, circular economy and citizen science that directly address human impacts and environmentally-sensitive quality of life there is much more to this discourse. This workshop invites each and every participant to self-reflect on their previous work, their current directions, and future aims, and ask just how much, or how little our own work, and that of our HCI community is addressing sustainability and sustainable development.

List of topics

This workshop includes the following topics:

Our personal perspectives on HCI and its global reach
Sustainable Development Goals
Critical self-reflection
Experimental Workshop in an Online Virtual World

Call for Abstracts

Important Dates

May 1, 2021 Submission deadline extended – May 20, 2021 CANCELLED
July 11-12, 2021 – Workshops

(Deadlines are meant till 11.59 pm CET)

To submit

Send us an abstract of:

1- Previously published works

2- Ongoing investigation

3- Future research plan

(maximum 1 page + references)

How to submit your work

Send an e-mail with your abstract to:


For the upcoming information please visit: CHItaly 2021 registration page

Workshop setting

1- The call will ask participants to examine one of their previously published works , an ongoing investigation , or future research plan , and contemplate a range of aspects and actions. Participants will fill out a Google Form (link coming soon) as gameful, rule-based participation. This pre-workshop exercise 1 will give us (the organizers) some basic data to analyze, and our objective will be to find synergies between parallel projects and researchers. Additionally, because the combined data will be available to all, it will provide potential attendees with some sense of their participating others.

2- Participants will be asked to categorize their research in terms of the 17 SDG’s, identify the actors, roles, values, conflicts and potential paths to resolution. The Google Form will be playful and fun, yet will foster serious, critical self-reflection on the agency of researchers and ethical and social obligations of institutions and HCI as a community. Also participants will be prompted to provide a short bio and position statement.

3- Based on a preliminary thematic and discursive analysis of the participants’ response data, we will cluster participants into groups . In this way, workshop participants will begin with some connection to their others in the group. Each group will also include one outlier or disconnected participant, for a gameful variety and to stimulate the agonistic potential of group interactions.

4- Once we have formed the groups, participants will be provided with the bios and position statements of the others in their group.

5- During the workshop, we will meet in a virtual world This is an experimental video-conferencing system with a gameful spatial representation and the possibility to have group and individual discussions based on proximity in the virtual world. After an initial introduction session, workshop participants will go to their designated areas within the world and meet up with their groups.

6- During the first session, groups will discuss their works and the results of the first exercise, while completing exercise 2 in a Google form.

7- As we take a short break for snacks (real or virtual), the organizers will review the results of the second exercise, and form new groups – a second selection. Participants will also have access to the exercise outcomes, and alternatively can decide which second group they would like to join.

8- After an initial feedback session en masse, participants will be encouraged to join the new groups for discussion and completion of exercise 3 .

9- Finally, we will return to the entire assembly together in the virtual world. There we can all observe the outcomes of the three exercises and hold an open discussion of the outcomes, a co-created data analysis, as it were. If these outcomes are more concrete, and time-permitting, we are able to draw them into a sort of outline or manifesto, we can invite interested participants to extend them into a publication or publication(s). The final movement of the workshop will include contact-sharing for future engagements.

*The pre-workshop exercise and the two exercises during the group meetings will provide rules / activities for participants to analyze their own work, and that of their others. These exercises will be entered as Google forms, the results of which will be open to all who participate.

** There is no expectation that participants stay in any group to which they are assigned, participants can at any time wander about the virtual world to join other groups’ discussion.


Increasingly, as with Horizon2020 and other funding mechanisms, we are asked to directly address how our research contributes in the broader effort towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ( ). Taking a quick look at these 17 actual goals reveals that in fact all HCI research and development is in some way engaging, and often conflicting with the SDGs. For instance, anything device-based or that requires online participation intersects the digital divide, and goals #9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation and #10 Reduce inequality w ithin and among countries . Urban research touches on #11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable , and HCI for health applications directly relates to #3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages . Indeed, all HCI research arguably requires attention to goal #3 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls . The list of associations goes on and on, and whether we intend so or not, HCI is essential to, and we would argue, integral within the global effort towards sustainable development.

This workshop invites each and every participant to self-reflect on their previous work, their current directions, and future aims, and ask just how much, or how little our own work, and that of our HCI community is addressing sustainability and sustainable development. For this, we provide an action program, a methodological exercise of autoanalysis and group discussions that will come together in a virtual world during the CHItaly 2021 conference.

Our objective is to examine and discuss the real place, roles of HCI, and our intentions towards sustainability discourses. Through a series of activities, before, during and after the conference workshop, we expect to discover synergies, and conflicts between us, and forge new relationships which can grow into research collaborations and joint-publications in the future.


CHItaly 2021

11-13 July / Bozen-Bolzano (Italy) and online