logo for SIGDOC 2021 with the O in the word SIGDOC replaced with the icon of a globe. Text under the logo reads Building Coalitions. Worldwide.

Call for Papers

Conference Chair Andrew Mara
Program Co-Chair Halcyon Lawrence
Program Co-Chair Liz Lane

SIGDOC 2021 Conference: Advocacy, Accountability, and Coalitions Across Contexts

October 12 – 14, 2021 Hybrid Conference: Virtual Presentations with In-Person Meetup Hubs across 8 locations worldwide.
Note: Conference presentations, including the Student Research Competition (SRC), will be virtual from October 12 – 14.
Optional in-person Meetup Hubs are based at 8 partner locations worldwide on October 14 in that location’s local time zone.

Conference Chair: Andrew Mara, Arizona State University
Program Co-Chairs: Halcyon Lawrence, Towson University
Liz Lane, University of Memphis

Register for the conference

Download the CFP

Submit to SIGDOC 2021 (submissions are now closed)

The ACM Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (ACM SIGDOC) invites proposals for its 2021 hybrid conference.

The global pandemic has reinforced the urgency for a different model of engagement of communication practices at the local, national, and global levels, across a range of industries including the media, health services, and technology, to name a few. This past year, we have seen individuals and collectives work in challenging contexts, both advocating for others and building networks of shared knowledge, or coalitions. Additionally, professional and technical communication’s (PTC) social justice turn has galvanized our field to continue and sustain such work (Haas and Eble 2021; Jones, Moore, Walton 2019).

As communicators and designers, the SIGDOC community carries great responsibility in ensuring information is dispatched and conveyed with care, mindfulness, and ethical obligations to communities impacted and shaped by that information. Communication and design drive action, yet how can we ensure that action is mindful of the people that engage with the work we pursue?

This CFP asks participants to explore the themes of advocacy, accountability, and coalitions in communication design, PTC, user experience (UX) practice, and teaching and learning. While your work may not explicitly address these themes, we invite you to consider the following questions within the context of your own work:

● How can coalitions stem from industry and academic partnerships to engage with processes of advocacy and accountability?
● How are organizations adjusting to current communication contexts (virtual and socially distant) while maintaining mission focus or pivoting to better serve their partners and users?
● How can industry improve collaboration and create more durable partnerships with communities to create relationships and products that better serve them?

● In what ways have technologies contributed to or addressed issues of accountability across communication contexts?
● What are the ways in which technologies have facilitated or inhibited our ability to form coalitions, and do advocacy work?

● How do we create systems of accountability? Are there approaches that seem to work better at preventing/mitigating harm and/or maximizing benefit?
● How do professional and/or academic contexts foster or inhibit accountability?
● What value do coalitions bring to novel communication contexts?

Social Impact:
● Are there better approaches to communication design that center communities instead of the technologies and institutions that implement them?
● What are the implications when decentralised forms of expertise are recognized, acknowledged, and fostered?

● What are the extant methods for studying the intersections of technology and communication design, and how might they be challenged?
● Do our existing methodological practices allow us to adequately interrogate issues around advocacy, accountability, and coalitional work?

● Is there a shared language around advocacy, accountability, and coalitions—and how can academics and practitioners come together to build this language?
● How might we engage with lived experience in our theories?
● Does the field need to redefine expertise and how inclusion works alongside expertise?

● How might we rethink expertise and advocacy in our classrooms, professional cultures, internships, and mentorships?
● How do we create coalitions in the aforementioned contexts?

Submission Types

Submissions can take the form of any of the six (6) options below. Authors of accepted proposals for all types will be given the opportunity to write up their work for the peer-reviewed proceedings.

Research Papers (7-10 pgs.)
Research papers present integrative reviews or original reports of substantive new work: theoretical, empirical, and/or in the design, development and/or deployment of novel systems. Papers will be reviewed for academic standards, relevance, conceptual quality, innovation, and clarity of presentation. Proposals are not to exceed 500 words. The results described must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Final papers are not to exceed ten pages in length in ACM SIGDOC conference format, including figures and references. Note: At least one author from a paper must register and attend the conference in order for the paper to be included in the proceedings. Multiple papers and/or reports may be grouped thematically by the Program Co-Chairs to facilitate connections and conversation.
Example 1: Games, UX, and the Gaps: Technical Communication Practices in an Amateur Game Design Community by Karabinus & Atherton (2018)
Example 2: Designing for engagement: Using participatory design to develop a social robot to measure teen stress by Rose & Björling (2017)
Example 3: Not Just Users: Mapping the Range of User Roles in Open Development Games Projects by Thominet (2019)

Industry Insights (2-3 pgs.)
Industry insights present lessons learned from an industry-situated experience with a project, concept, technology, or trend that is of interest to scholars, researchers, teachers, and practitioners in communication design, PTC, UX, or other related field. Proposals in this category should be written from the perspective of a practitioner and should focus on one or two key “insights” learned during the process of an experience in industry. This insight should be situated within the larger field of practice and highlight specifically why this insight is significant for industry moving forward. Attention might also be paid to practical steps audience members and readers can take in light of the experience. Proposals are not to exceed 500 words. The results and experiences described must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere, and should not focus solely on promoting proprietary tools. Final papers not to exceed three pages in length in ACM SIGDOC conference format, including figures and references. Note: At least one author from an industry insight must register and attend the conference in order for the insight to be included in the proceedings. Multiple papers and/or insights may be grouped thematically by the Program Co-Chairs to facilitate connections and conversation.
Example 1: Building Bridges to Customer Needs in Open Source Documentation by Hardin (2019)

Experience Reports (4-6 pgs.)
Experience reports present experiential-based reflections on a particular case, methodology, or design idea from projects and deployments. Reports are reviewed for usefulness, clarity, reflection, and larger contextualization within the academic fields of communication design, PTC, or UX. Strong experience reports discuss both benefits and drawbacks of the approaches used and clearly call out lessons learned. Reports may focus on a particular aspect of technology usage and practice, or describe broad project experiences. Proposals are not to exceed 500 words. Final papers not to exceed six pages in length in ACM SIGDOC conference format, including figures and references. Note: At least one author from an experience report must register and attend the conference in order for the report to be included in the proceedings. Multiple papers and/or reports may be grouped thematically by the Program Co-Chairs to facilitate connections and conversation.
Example 1: The challenges of exploring local place as a context of use in the study of interactive risk visualizations by D.P. Richards (2017)

Posters (1-2 pgs.)
Posters are a less formal presentation of work in progress, theories, experimental work, new concepts, late-breaking research results, or work that is best communicated visually and in conversation. Poster proposals may describe original research or novel designs. Successful applicants should bring their completed posters (up to 3 x 4 feet in size) to the conference where they will be displayed at a special session during the conference. Proposals are not to exceed 250 words. Final extended abstracts not to exceed 2 pages in ACM SIGDOC conference format.
Example 1: Bugs and Emotion: A Content Analysis of Quality Assurance Player Feedback by Thominet (2018)

Panel Sessions
Panels should be comprised of multiple presenters organized around a specific topic relevant to the SIGDOC audience. Proposals are not to exceed 500 words. Final extended abstracts are not to exceed 2 pages in ACM SIGDOC conference format. Note: All members of the panel must register for and attend the conference for the extended abstract to be included in the Proceedings.
Example 1: Breaking the Exclusionary Boundary between User Experience and Access by Palmer, Oswal & Huntsman (2019)

Workshops provide opportunities for engaged introductions to new developments in the field and participatory discussion of current ideas and practices. Successful workshop proposals explain clearly how attendees will participate in workshop activities and must include a schedule indicating times, registrant activities, and speakers. Proposed workshops with no evidence of active participation by registrants will not be accepted. Proposals are not to exceed 500 words.


We offer four different types of submissions for the conference proceedings:

  1. Research Papers (7-10 pgs.)
  2. Industry Insights; (2-3 pgs.)
  3. Experience Reports (4-6 pgs.)
  4. Extended Abstracts and Poster Abstracts (for poster and panel submissions; 1-2 pgs.)

All authors who receive acceptance of their proposal are strongly encouraged to submit to the peer-reviewed conference proceedings. After notification of acceptance, full-length papers and extended abstracts will then be reviewed and sent back to authors for final edits and ACM formatting. Authors will then re-submit papers and abstracts as “camera-ready” submissions. Papers and extended abstracts will be published in the Conference Proceedings and in the ACM Digital Library.


Submission Guidelines

Proposals should not exceed 500 words and should include the following:
● Proposal title
● Proposal type (research paper, industry insight, experience report, poster, panel or workshop)
● Proposal focus or topic
● Connection of the topic to the conference theme
● Approach/method used to examine this topic
● Connection of the topic to prior work/research in the field
● Takeaway attendees can gain from this proposed paper, insight, report, or poster and use in their own work
● Explanation and schedule of workshop activities (if workshop)

Newcomers can review a sample accepted proposal here: SIGDOC Proposal Example (from 2019)

Submit all proposals in PDF format to the SIGDOC 2021 EasyChair account. Be sure the submission document excludes any identifying information.

Important Dates

The timeline for the conference is as follows (all times in your local time zone):
12 March 2021: Proposals are due at 11:59 PM in your local time zone
● 29 March 2021: Notification of acceptance/request to submit full-length paper or extended abstract
● 21 May 2021, 23:59: Drafts of initial papers and extended abstracts due (Please refer to the workflow page for proceedings submissions)
● 11 June 2021: Reviews of/comments on papers and extended abstracts returned
● 16 July 2021, 23:59: Papers and extended abstracts (final version) due
● 1 September 2021, 23:59: Final presentation materials due
14 October 2021: SIGDOC 2021 hybrid conference: virtual presentations with in-person meetup hubs across 8 locations worldwide


Questions on the CFP or the process described here should be emailed to the Program Co-Chairs, Liz Lane and Halcyon Lawrence at sigdocconference@gmail.com