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.

Ignite Talks will be added as the topics are finalized. Ignite talks occur 12:45-1:45 on Saturday.


Joseph V Torok, Wayne State University

“Much bro. Many wow.”: Mapping Gender and Citation Patterns in Rhet-Comp ANT Scholarship

During the 2015 Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium, a spirited, back-channel conversation about the status of women in corners of rhetoric and composition unfurled on social media. Spurred by a tweet from Alice Daer, the conversation centered on how some women who are drawn to digital and technological issues in the field feel as if entry into scholarly circles to which they hold an affinity is particularly difficult. In short, the observation Daer and others made was that in some circles of rhetoric and composition, there is a perception that men may be speaking to other men to the exclusion of women. Scholarship centering on the digital and technical has been heralded by a turn to Actor-Network Theory in rhetoric and composition, particularly as articulated by French sociologist Bruno Latour. The 2015 edited collection Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition is an exemplar of the turn to ANT in rhetoric and composition. This Ignite presentation will discuss how a study of citation patterns as drawn from the works cited lists in the text Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition can contribute to and ground difficult conversations about the gender dynamics of scholarly work. This presentation builds on Derek Mueller’s (2012)  call for rhetoric and composition scholars to perform such data analyses and visualizations while extending them with an ”attention to gender, race, ethnicity, and disability.” This Ignite will present and visualize the findings from the study of citations in the Thinking with Bruno Latour text. Among others, this presentation will compose a framework for analysis that draws from cultural rhetorics (de Certeau, 1988), material rhetorics (Gries, 2015), and feminist theory (Pollack, 2015).


Laura Gonzales, University of Texas-El Paso

Leveraging Linguistic Diversity in Technical Communication and User Experience Training: An Overview and Invitation

The ongoing work of organizations like the CPTSC Diversity Committee and an emerging body of scholarship highlight the importance of diversity, inclusion, and social justice within technical communication (Agboka, 2013; Jones, Savage, & Yu, 2014; Haas, 2012; Rose & Walton, 2015). In addition, an increased emphasis on global UX and international technical communication has led to increased collaborations between translators, technical communicators, and user experience researchers working in global contexts (Quesenbery &  Szuc, 2012; Redish & Barnum, 2010; Schumacher, 2010; Sun, 2012). With the increasing need to develop multilingual, global-ready content, businesses and organizations now need individuals who can work as (and with) translators, technical communicators, and information designers to provide content that can be used and adapted ethically and effectively across a wide range of cultures and contexts (Ding & Li, 2016).

Drawing on these recent conversations, this presentation will position linguistic diversity as an asset that can be further leveraged in the training of undergraduate technical communicators and user experience researchers. By providing an overview of contemporary developments such as the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project (TAPP) and emerging bilingual programs such as the Bilingual Professional Writing Certificate at the University of Texas-El Paso, I will share strategies and solicit input for highlighting and incorporating linguistic diversity as a central component of technical communication and user-experience programs in the U.S. In this way, I argue that by centralizing linguistic diversity in technical communication and user experience training, we can help contemporary students and professionals work effectively in global contexts, while simultaneously contributing to our efforts towards ethics and inclusivity across our fields of practice.


Michael Trice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Role of Blackhat Switchers and Tastemakers in UX Edge Cases on Twitter

This talk looks at the rise of social and political capital as a means to disrupt user experience on Twitter. Examining how key  hostility-marketed tastemakers formed in the wake of GamerGate and how these tastemakers work with audiences to create extreme edge cases in UX for Twitter users, the talk examines both how we visualize these edge cases as rhetorical practice and as information work flows that can be diagnosed and addressed.


Charlotte Hyde, Kansas State University

Enhancing Usability with LEGO Serious Play: Moving from Concept to Design via Play

This talk looks at using LEGO Serious Play to enhance engineering projects by using play to integrate usability from a project’s conception to its final documentation. As described by LEGO, the LEGO Serious Play methodology is “an innovative experimental process designed to enhance innovation and business performance.” Used in many organizational settings, LEGO Serious Play works to “deepen the reflection process and support an effective dialogue—for everyone in the organization.” This talk examines how bringing the LEGO Serious Play methodology into the technical communication classroom affects the decisions students make through the life of a project.


Samantha Blackmon, Purdue University

Game On!: Professional Writing in Action

This talk looks at how Not Your Mama’s Gamer puts professional writing into action by bridging the gap between writing that focuses on user experience (both in games and the games community) and activist work that can improve conditions surrounding marginalized peoples. This talk examines how NYMG uses social media, crowdsource funding, and charitable fundraising to make the work of professional writing the work of social justice.