Our keynote speakers for this year are:

  • Prof. Alan Dix, Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University, Wales, UK
  • Prof. Luigina Ciolfi – Sheffield-Hallam University, UK
  • Prof. Liam J. Bannon, Founding Director of the Interaction Design Centre, Professor Emeritus, University of Limerick

Prof. Alan Dix,  Computational Foundry, Swansea University, Wales,

Deep Digitality

We constantly hear about disruptive technology, but how radical is the change due to digital technology?

In the hills and mountains of the South Wales coal valleys, rivers radiate out and then south toward the sea. This seems reasonable until you learn that the geology beneath is a syncline a basin-shaped structure of rock strata. The current rivers form a superimposed drainage pattern, the routes the rivers ran before the geology changed. As the ground rose and sank below, the rivers maintained their old courses, a relic of a one hundred million year past.

In reality digital technology is often like this, largely reinforcing the existing structures of power and organisation in government, commerce and health. The digital geology is changing beneath our feet and yet digital technology cuts the same paths.

Can we reimagine industry and civic society if digital technology had come first, before the industrial revolution and maybe even before the rise of the mercantile class?

Alan Dix is Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University.  Previously he has spent 10 years in a mix of academic and commercial roles, most recently as Professor in the HCI Centre at the University of Birmingham and Senior Researcher at Talis. He has worked in human–computer interaction research since the mid 1980s, and is the author of one of the major international textbooks on HCI as well as of over 450 research publications from formal methods to design creativity, including some of the earliest papers in the HCI literature on topics such as privacy, mobile interaction, and gender and ethnic bias in intelligent algorithms.   Issues of space and time in user interaction have been a long term interest, from his “Myth of the Infinitely Fast Machine” in 1987, to his co-authored book, TouchIT, on physicality in a digital age, due to be published in 2018. Alan organises a twice-yearly workshop, Tiree Tech Wave, on the small Scottish island where he has lived for 10 years, and where he has been engaged in a number of community research projects relating to heritage, communications, energy use and open data.  In 2013, he walked the complete periphery of Wales, over a thousand miles.  This was a personal journey, but also a research expedition, exploring the technology needs of the walker and the people along the way.   The data from this including 19,000 images, about 150,000 words of geo-tagged text, and many giga-bytes of bio-data is available in the public domain as an ‘open science’ resource.

Alan’s new role at the Computational Foundry has brought him back to his homeland.  The Computational Foundry is a 30 million pound initiative to boost computational research in Wales with a strong focus on creating social and economic benefit.  Digital technology is at a bifurcation point when it could simply reinforce existing structures of industry, government and health, or could allow us to radically reimagine and transform society.  The Foundry is built on the belief that addressing human needs and human values requires and inspires the deepest forms of fundamental science.

Prof. Luigina Ciolfi, Sheffield-Hallam University, UK,


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2007-2018: Themes, Trends and Challenges in (Irish) HCI and the Road Ahead

The first Irish Human-Computer Interaction Conference took place at the University of Limerick on the 2nd of May 2007. 50 participants came together to map for the first time the landscape of HCI research in Ireland in universities, private companies and independent research organisations. Important keywords on that day were “adaptivity”, “learning”, “activity and experience”, “data visualization” and “data sensemaking”, which still resonate with current work in the field. In 2018, however, much has changed in the Irish and international state of the art in HCI, in parallel with other important developments in the digital technology world and in society at large. HCI has gone through a “third wave” where participation and sharing have become main concerns of HCI researchers, and where broader themes of social impact and social justice are starting to make an appearance. This talk will reflect on current themes and trends characterising HCI and their evolution, and will propose a set of open challenges to tackle in the Irish HCI context and beyond.

Biography: Luigina Ciolfi is Professor of Human Centered Computing at Sheffield Hallam University (UK). Over the past 20 years, she has been an active researcher, teacher and scholar in Human-Computer Interaction and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) in Italy, Ireland and the UK, and has worked on several collaborative projects on topics such as cultural heritage technologies, mobile and nomadic work, interaction in public spaces and tangible and embodied interaction design. She is the author of over 100 publications and has been an invited speaker in 10 countries. Luigina has extensive experience of service and leadership on scientific committees; highlights include: Associate Editor, the CSCW Journal; subcommittee chair, ACM CHI 2018-2019; general chair, ECSCW 2017; papers co-chair, COOP 2014, ACM CSCW 2015; steering committee member, EUSSET- The European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies and ACM CSCW. She is a Senior Member of the ACM.

Prof. Liam J. Bannon, Founding Director of the Interaction Design Centre, Professor Emeritus, University of Limerick



Framing the Human in HCI – An Ongoing Project

While the field of HCI appears to represent ‘the human side’ in computing, on closer examination, one finds that the representation of the person embodied in many HCI frameworks lis somewhat impoverished. In this talk,  I will explore the evolving model of the human that we find lies behind our conceptual frameworks and show how they influence the questions we ask in our field and the answers we get. As technology increasingly penetrates our everyday lives, a more nuanced view on the question of  ‘what it is to be human’ is beginning to emerge. We will see how these differing perspectives reframe some of the traditional  stances on the human-computer interface.  .We are moving  beyond the  isolated. individual,  to encompass more sociological and anthropological perspectives in our frameworks. This concern with the model of the  person in our theories has important consequences for the future of our field, especially at a time when once again a myriad of overblown claims are being raised about how the advances in artificial intelligence will give rise to the notion of The Singularity and other information-age myths.
Biography : Liam J. Bannon is Full Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Limerick, Ireland. His background is in psychology and computer science, and he has been a research academic in Universities and research centres around the world, including Honeywell and Xerox EuroPARC, UK. His research interests range over a broad range of topics in human-machine systems, including cognitive ergonomics, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, knowledge management, computer-supported collaborative learning, new media and interaction design, and social dimensions of new technologies. He has been an invited speaker at many international conferences in cognitive ergonomics, information systems, human factors, decision-support systems, interaction design, advanced automation, etc. Several of his articles have been anthologized in edited collections of HCI and CSCW research. He was a founding editor of CSCW: The Journal of Collaborative Computing and is, or has served on, the editorial boards of; Journal of Cognition, Technology, and Work; Requirements Engineering Journal, Universal Access in the Information Society Journal; International Journal of Cognitive Technology, International Journal of Web-Based Communities, Co-Design Journal, Behaviour and Information Technology Journal, and Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.He has also held an Honorary Professorship in Human Computer Interaction at Aarhus University, Denmark, and has a D.Sc. (hc) from Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. He was the Founder, and acted as Director, of the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick from 1996 until 2010. His research interests cover human-technology relations, including cognitive ergonomics, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, computer-supported collaborative learning, new media, interaction design, and social dimensions of new technologies.