Enhancing Accessibility in the ACM SIGCHI Research Community
Part of creating an accessible computing field is ensuring that people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of computing research—from attending professional conferences, to reading and writing articles, to volunteering within the community. The ACM SIGCHI computing research community just took an important step in this direction when it invited us (Soraia Prietch and Stacy Branham) to serve as the inaugural Adjunct Chairs of Accessibility on the organization’s Executive Committee. ACM SIGCHI is the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction, comprising nearly 3,000 students, academics, and professionals. The Executive Committee, which runs the organization, created the Adjunct Chair for Accessibility position to further its strategic initiative to promote inclusivity.
Soraia Prietch is a professor at the Federal University of Rondonopolis in Brazil, and Stacy Branham is an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine. Together, we have dedicated over 20 years to advancing accessible computing through our research, teaching, and service. When we stepped into our role as Adjunct Chairs of Accessibility this past October 2020, the organization was already highly engaged in advancing access, with initiatives such as allocating budget for accommodations at conferences, creating processes for screen-reader accessible publications, and requiring virtual conferences to caption all videos. Additionally, independent volunteer efforts such as AccessSIGCHI have been advocating for accessibility on behalf of SIGCHI members with disabilities, including a bi-annual report that tracks the state of access.
The next several months will be crucial as we craft a plan for advancing accessibility in computing research in 2021. We are eager to learn from the members of AccessComputing in order to collectively build an understanding of how SIGCHI can provide more equal opportunities for students with disabilities. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any recommendations, resources, or questions.