For years, the CSCW community has sought to improve collocated large events — such as conferences, seminars, classes, festivals — through allowing spectators to participate in the creation of content for the event.  These tools often called backchannels or audience interaction systems, have provided the audience with a mediated channel to support their participation. Previous work has shown that these technologies redistribute agency and power in events and allow for new forms of communication to emerge.

However, the focus in the research of these tools has often been only in mediated communication only or researchers have exhibited a separation of physical and digital interaction. This workshops invites researchers to revisit this distinction. Instead of analyzing mediated communication separate from the event, we call for analysis of hybrid events, highlighting changes in the communication channels, user roles and event design brought by the technology.

Beyond a scientific motive to improve conceptual tools to study this phenomena, this workshop addresses changes in the technology landscape that has made audience participation easier. Compared with the previous research, today the pervasiveness of smart devices have made it simple and easy to integrate audience participation tools into events, and therefore, allow audience participation. As a result, several commercial services now exist allowing event organizers to rapidly and easily take these kinds of tools into use.

This development demands a change in the research focus: instead of showing that this can be done, the research can now study emerging uses of these technologies not aided by the researchers. This means that the research should be moving from research prototypes to research product. To support academics in this transition, we believe that future research on this area must reflect aspects such as the emerging social practices or it should focus on improving socio-technical designs of existing systems. To direct the research towards these areas, this workshop seeks to develop a research agenda with conceptual frameworks and research strategies which together will direct academic studies further.

The workshop papers are invited to consider topics of hybrid events through empirical or experimental case studies, design research or literature reviews and other theoretical approaches. Topics of the workshop include:

  • How should we research and understand hybrid events?
    •  How do we study multichannel events where interaction takes place across channels?
    • What kind of analytic orientations can be successfully applied to understand participant interactions?
  • How we evaluate the success of events?
    • How can we support the creation of hybrid events?
    • How do we generate an understanding of the practices to be supported with hybrid interaction technology?
    • How do we design “the right system(s)” to support hybrid interaction appropriately
  • What kind of technologies (e.g., input modalities and systems) can be used to address these topics?
    • How can novel technologies like machine learning, autonomous agents, voice interfaces, and the Internet of Things help in the creation of hybrid events?
    • How do the emerging practices inform the design of these systems?
    • What kind of novel roles emerge in the hybrid events?
    • How do people organize and manage the complexities of hybrid events?
    •  What challenges and benefits hybrid events have for participants?

This workshop is organized at CSCW 2018 on Sunday, November 4.