Chair’s Statement on SIGDOC 2020 Transition to Virtual Event

I am writing on behalf of the SIGDOC Executive Committee to let you know that we have officially passed a resolution to transition our SIGDOC 2020 Conference from an in-person event in Denton, TX to a virtual event. The resolution we passed is signed and linked here on our website under “Annual Reports and Minutes.” The summary of our resolution is such:

SIGDOC 2020 will continue as a virtual event during October 2020 with the existing conference committee and current co-location agreement with CPTSC.

The Executive Committee and Conference Committee have deliberated and carefully examined our options for the 2020 conference. We foregrounded our discussions by articulating our values as an organization, which are: valuing human well-being; engaging in financial stewardship; respecting labor; foregrounding accessibility; supporting early-career scholars; establishing continuity; managing community and network-building; supporting innovation; valuing industry practices; and maintaining and facilitating interorganizational and international relationships.

Once these values were articulated, we then considered the options in front of us, which were: (1) continue to run an in-person event; (2) transition to a virtual event; (3) cancel the event; or (4) postpone and meet in Denton in 2021. We have opted to transition to a virtual event (option 2), as it was the option that aligned best with and met most of our articulated values as an organization.

More specifically, first and foremost, we prioritize the health and safety of our attendees. Given the uncertainty of the virus and what the conditions will look like in the Fall, we wanted to reduce any health risks for our attendees who may be concerned about traveling during this time.

Second, many attendees are feeling the economic impacts of the virus, which has led to precarious employment and the reduction of funding for conference travel and professional development. If we go ahead with the conference given the uncertainty and risk, it will privilege attendees who are both the healthiest and have the most institutional support/income. And therefore would constitute an exclusive space.

Third, SIGDOC continues to strive for inclusive and accessible ways to create community, share research and knowledge, and connect with one another. Since we will not be able to do so in person this year, we wanted to take this opportunity to shift to a virtual experience to ensure anyone who wants to participate in the conference can do so. We are still envisioning what this virtual experience will look like for 2020 and will continue to communicate with you as it evolves.

In the spirit of continuity, the shift to a virtual event will take place with the same team assembled:

  • Conference Chair: Stacey Pigg
  • Local Co-Chairs: Chris Lam and Autumn Hood
  • Program Co-Chairs: Josephine Walwema and Daniel Hocutt
  • SRC Chair: Sonia Stephens
  • Sponsorship Chair: Jordan Frith

In terms of addressing anticipated questions, we can communicate to you that:

  • The SRC will still run and the awards and stipends will still be granted, although the format will be altered (and note also that the deadline has been extended to May 25th).
  • The proceedings will still be published on the usual timeline.
  • The Diana Award Winner will still be acknowledged.
  • The lone requirement and cost for participation will be holding an active SIGDOC Membership as of the conference dates.
  • We will continue to work with CPTSC to envision what a hybrid or virtual co-located conference means.

Thank you in advance for working with us on this event, given the uncharted nature of the territory for so many of us. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any members of the SIGDOC Board if you have any questions or are in need of any assistance as it pertains to this transition.


Dan, on behalf of the SIGDOC Executive and Conference Committees