Now that another inspiring and successful SIGGRAPH conference is behind us, I would like to tell you about some ways your Executive Committee (EC) is supporting our diverse and growing community.
When the EC met at the end of Jeff Jortner’s presidency, we agreed on a shared vision for the future of our organization: Enabling everyone to tell their stories.
By Everyone, we mean not just our traditional audiences of professional movies, animation, and game creators but everyone with a story to tell, be they trained or novice, with significant time for the development of their story or intending to publish with just a single click.
By Tell, we mean all ways of conveying a story: watching, experiencing, interacting, and creating.
By Stories, we mean not only our traditional media of movies, animations, and games but also newer forms of media such as augmented, virtual and mixed reality, and forms of interactive and sensory experiences not yet invented. Stories may be narrative, abstract, educational or scientific. They may be purely digital or they may involve the physical artifacts either through incorporation or creation. The design of the latest automobile, tablet, or desk toy all tell stories.
Computer graphics and interactive techniques is about communicating in innovative and inspiring ways. Telling stories using Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (CG&IT), whether it’s explaining research findings or entertaining huge audiences or helping people understand the world, can change societies and cultures—we want to be the community for the existing and emerging fields that use CG&IT to connect people by telling those stories. We want to ensure we remain relevant and meaningful to our existing diverse communities—this diversity of content and community has always been a strength of SIGGRAPH. We also want to welcome newly emerging communities such as computational fabrication—these new areas are critical to our future success.
We are focused on two lines of effort as we work to achieve our vision. First, we want to remain relevant and meaningful to our existing communities and provide them with ever more professional value in the future. We have established a new committee focused on Diversity and Inclusion issues to ensure everyone in our community has a voice and truly feels they are a part of SIGGRAPH. We’ve also created new award categories to celebrate our innovative educators, our outstanding practitioners, and those who have made significant contributions to our field over the years. We’ve developed new programming to support our doctoral students, including the Thesis Fast Forward and the Doctoral Consortium, which both debuted at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver this year. A year-round mentoring program for students is also in the works, and we hosted the second meeting of the SIGGRAPH Women’s Mentoring Network at this year’s conference.
Our second line of effort is dedicated to reaching out to new communities and welcoming them to the SIGGRAPH family. Our hope is that by building bridges to neighboring communities with problems that are amenable to the techniques that we have developed in computer graphics, we can provide opportunities for our members to extend their research and practice. At the conference, we hosted three all-day Sunday workshops. This year’s topics were “Care for Chronic Health Conditions,” “Autonomous Vehicles,” and “Truth in Images, Video, and Graphics.” We welcome suggestions for topics for next year’s workshops. Our SIGGRAPH Next program looked to the future with morning talks on the future implications for CG&IT on education, medicine, and simulation.
In a future column, I will update you on our progress on improving our digital presence to ensure you can connect with other members and access SIGGRAPH materials, how we are leveraging the data we have about our members and the content that they create to customize the member experience, and how we are improving our communications to members, conference attendees, and potential members.
I welcome your involvement in our efforts. Please check out volunteer opportunities at https://www.siggraph.org/volunteer. If you have suggestions for other things that we should do to support our community, please don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com.