Ignite Talks

Ignite talks are 5-minute long speeches given at conferences, events, etc. that showcase bleeding-edge projects. They are lightning-fast and are meant to excite and energize an audience about a specific topic. For more information, check out these links:

Ignite Talks at SIGDOC are by invitation from the President of SIGDOC.


Irish Technical Communicators as a Community of Practice

Yvonne Cleary
Lecturer in Technical Communication
University of Limerick

Technical communication is a relatively new occupation in the Republic of Ireland. It has emerged as a field of work in the past 30 years, chiefly in support of software and hardware industries. This talk describes results of research involving technical communication practitioners in Ireland. It outlines how they exhibit traits of a community of practice (such as joint enterprise and shared repertoires), and also explores potential barriers to increased community involvement.


Not all those who wander are lost: Wayfinding and Localized Knowledges

Adam Strantz
PhD Student in Rhetoric and Composition
Purdue University

Tablets and smartphones are always-on, always connected links, tracing connections between our physical selves and the vast network of digital information. Through proximity searches and location-aware apps, our devices let others know where we are, and what we are doing, in ways that may surprise us. In some ways, data analytics may be able to determine what we are likely to be doing before we even know ourselves. Drawing on the concept of wayfinding from information design and urban planning, this talk offers ways to situate this localized knowledge in the wider complexities of networks of interactions between the digital and the physical. Through awareness of the data our devices collect, we can find our way amid shifting public/private boundaries and both determine what affordances tracing allows and value those times when we go off the grid.


Owning Automated Authorship

Krista Kennedy, PhD
Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
The Writing Program
Syracuse University

Robots that write have become regular contributors to The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among other venues. The most prolific editor on Wikipedia is a robot named Lsjbot, and full articles written and revised entirely by bots are largely indistinguishable from those written by human Wikipedians. Automated agents can and will be deployed to manage and compose technical communication genres as well. How might intellectual property issues be most productively conceptualized for robot-written texts? This talk describes the need for attention to this issue and its potential answers.


Sound as a catalyst for inspiring positive collaborative experiences

Benjamin Lauren, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Experience Architecture
Michigan State University

Some people have to listen to music to be creative while others require no background noise. Clearly, sound influences how people experience working environments and the activities they undertake to get work done. This talk addresses how sound is increasingly being used as a catalyst for inspiring positive collaborative activities and experiences in various workplace contexts.


The changing landscape of wearable technologies

Dawn M. Armfield, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of English
Frostburg State University

As mobile technologies move toward larger screens, wearable technologies take an entirely different direction with smaller screens, or, in some cases, such as Google Glass, almost non-existent or transparent screens. New wearables will impact the ways we look at technology, our devices, and ourselves. By focusing on the changing landscape of wearable technologies, we can determine what is important to the user, how personal, public, and corporate needs are manifested in the technologies, and what drives future innovations for wearable technologies. This talk will look at the changing design of wearable technologies, the rhetorical materiality of wearable technologies, and the ways users, including the presenter, are engaged and engaging with the wearable technologies in different ways, from advertising to public/private use.

To look at or look into? Digital history of art and architecture

Karolina Badzmierowska
Trinity College Dublin

History of art and architecture is a perfect discipline, one might say, to test, explore and utilize digital technologies in its research. Digital representations of the artefacts play a crucial role in this process, although they also challenge the ways of “looking at” and “looking into” the works of art. A case study of Dutch church interior paintings presented in this talk illustrates this challenge within an intersection of: history of art and architecture, 2- and 3-dimensional objects and spaces, traditional and digital scholarship.