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Organising a SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conference

This page is for those organizing an ACM SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conference.
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First, this page is not for you if you are organising an in-cooperation conference. Before starting with your ACM SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conference, we would suggest you read through all these topics closely and use this page as a reference as you plan your event. This page should be understood in the broader context of the SIGCHI policies, our conference histories, ongoing experiments, along with the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which is essential reading. We would suggest that you direct any of your chairs or fellow organizers to this page and encourage them to review the topics and read the code if they haven't before.


Next, there are two key documents which are essential to read carefully as they contain a wealth of information which might never have occurred to you before or indeed might be "news to you" even if you have run a conference before. The first is the  Organizers Conference Manual set of webpages. There is a lot of detail so there is also this PDF organizer’s handbook which might be easier to start with. As with all such documents, there are things buried deep in here which can upset your plans and alter your vision for the conference you are looking to organize. If you are wondering why there is a PDF and a website please read more in the section on before preliminary approval.


This page is a work in progress and is meant only to supplement the Organizers Conference Manual and the PDF organizer’s handbook. Our SIGCHI page is broken down into five sections related to different phases including, starting out, before preliminary approval, general considerations, planning for the conference and what to consider after the conference is over.

If you have any questions which you think should be covered here, please let us know. Please note, some of the information you are looking for could be found in the pages or documents linked from here.

Starting out

This section covers general startup questions you might have.
What is the history of the conference I'm looking to organise?
The SIGCHI Conference Management Committee has been working to archive historical data about SIGCHI sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. The aim of the archive is to publish details on acceptance rates, locations, organizing committees, as well as attendance and financial data (when available). You can find all the conference history details here.
I'm planning a co-sponsored conference with another SIG not just SIGCHI
There are other SIGs within the ACM. If you are planning to apply for co-sponsorship you should ensure you are aware of the rules of the other SIG. For example, the ACM SIGGRAPH Small Conferences Committee maintains a page organising a conference. For other SIGs, please contact the relevant chair.
What should I budget for?
The pages on conference history can give you a high level view of the financial data of prior conferences. However, you will need to discuss this carefully with others. You should discuss the composition of your budget from registration rates to sponsorship levels, or from your conference social program to coffee/tea, lunches/breakfast along with a contingency and ACM Allocation/Overhead.


Our best advice is to get past budgets and final accounts from previous conferences in your series, so you can develop a realistic budget which aligns to the experiences and expectations of your communities delegates.

While the ACM will sign contracts, recently we have started collecting some high-level feedback from organisers. First, read the manual and guide carefully and some of the points they highlighted.

  1. Have everything agreed in writing
  2. On the venue booking: Read the contract very carefully, understand what concessions are on offer, understand what free room nights might be on offer and what you might use them for, ask for free WIFI everywhere, ask for student discounts - for food and stay, ask about parking, ask for a food and beverage discount.
  3. Keep paper copies of anything which is needed as a baseline. For example, if your venue/other agrees not to increase prices by more than a fixed amount you need a paper record
  4. Ask your local tourist authority if they offer subvention or sponsorship
  5. Understand your fixed versus variable costs
  6. Have a plan for how you will employ your contingency (much closer to the conference when it's clear your costs/registration/sponsorship are as expected)
When are suitable dates for my conference?
Existing conferences often have particular times of the year when they wish to hold their conference. Details of past dates can be found from the SIGCHI conference history page. You should always discuss dates with the steering committee chair who oversees the particular conference you are planning to organise. Further, SIGCHI maintains a list of all approved conference dates which must be considered when you are proposing your own dates for an event. SIGCHI has a principal that conferences which select conflicting event dates,
  • (a) should be encouraged to temporally shift or
  • (b) should consider co-location or virtual co-connection activities.
Conflicting dates may be impossible to avoid but it behooves us to try and avoid them so our members aren’t negatively impacted.
What SIGCHI policies should I be aware of?
There are a number of ACM SIGCHI policies regarding our conferences. Some of these policies relate to all conferences while some relate only to the annual CHI conferences. Some policies are for the ACM SIGCHI Specialized Conferences program only. You should visit the Policies page to understand the current policies and how they relate to the organisation of a sponsored or co-sponsored Specialized Conference.
What is a PAF and a TMRF and why should I care?
A PAF is a Preliminary Approval Form. TMRF are the Technical Meeting Request Forms.

For a sponsored or co-sponsored event please submit a PAF at least 24 month before the conference starts. A PAF once approved locks in your dates and gets your event into the ACM system.

If you have an approved PAF then the next thing you need to do is submit the TMRF. For sponsored or co-sponsored event once your TMRF is approved, then ACM can start paying bills, booking etc. things for the conference. Do not start committing or spending any money until your TMRF is approved.

Even for conferences which have been sponsored or co-sponsored before, getting a PAF or TMRF approved can be one of the greatest sources of frustration. To avoid such frustration, complete these as early as possible and get help from a mentor (eg. your steering committee chair or past conference chair).

I cannot understand this PAF or TMRF!
If you are submitting a PAF or TMRF for a sponsored or co-sponsored event then you should contact your steering committee chair who can get you previous examples and put you in touch with past chairs who can help.

Before Preliminary Approval 

If your start up questions have been answered, then this section covers questions you might have before leading upto any preliminary approval.
What does the ACM have to do with SIGCHI specialized conferences?
SIGCHI is part of ACM that has its policy and procedure guidelines on conference organization.

For you, the ACM maintain an Organizers Conference Manual and the PDF organizer’s handbook. In addition, the ACM provides a page with access to a wide range of other Volunteer Resources which could be of use.

The ACM know the "manual website" and links are difficult to navigate so they put the PDF "Conference Handbook" together in the last couple of years but it is not as detailed as the manual so both remain online. The ACM is in process of releasing the new ACM website and efforts are being made to consolidate information. For now, please use both the manual and handbook which the SIGCHI realizes are synonyms for each other! If you notice any inconsistencies do let us know to help others.

What are the benefits/constraints from being an ACM (co-)sponsored conference?
Please note, the chair of your steering committee has information on how to access these benefits and the implications of these constraints. Please contact them first if you have questions.
  • ACM takes the financial risk and the legal responsibility
  • Based on an approved budget with the ACM they can pay for expenses (block hotel rooms, convention center, …) before the conference
  • Your conference can be advertised through ACM channels (ACM web site, ACM calendar of events)
  • Proceedings go to the ACM Digital Library as an ACM sponsored conference
  • Publishing support from Sheridan (publication time usually 8 weeks including production time)
  • A web site at ACM e.g.
  • FREE Advert 1 page in Communications of the ACM
  • It’s possible to put on your conference website (for one year) the entire proceedings of the conference
  • Organisers must produce a Preliminary Approval Form “PAF” (18 months prior to the conference)
  • Organisers must produce a positive (>0) budget (part of the Technical Meeting Request Form “TMRF”) which needs to be approved before ACM will pay any expenses. (At least 12 months prior to the conference)
What are the benefits/constraints from ACM SIGCHI (co-)sponsorship?
The following are in addition to the benefits and constraints from being an ACM sponsored or co-sponsored conference. Please note, the chair of your steering committee has information on how to access these benefits and the implications of these constraints. Please contact them first if you have questions.
  • The conference can use the Precision Conference System for FREE for handling papers as SIGCHI pays the bill.
  • Your conference logo appears on the login page of PCS
  • Regonline can be used for FREE as SIGCHI pays the bill
  • FREE 1 page advert in the Interactions Magazine
  • FREE use of SurveyMonkey for running surveys about the conference
  • Proceedings go to the ACM DL under SIGCHI SIG
  • Free to put your Conference flyer (which you pay for, produce and deliver) into the CHI conference bag
  • You can request recording stations (conf. only pays shipping)
  • Access to "Conference Development Fund" but any amounts requested within the conference development fund are be based on the overall financial history of the conference series (starting 2011, following the SIGCHI EC agreement in 2013) and the proposed requested support
  • A conference must have a steering committee (SC) and the SC chair is a member of the SIGCHI full CMC
  • A PAF (once approved) results in the dates going onto the SIGCHI website and the dates being considered “dates approved”
  • Conferences (of any type) which come in later (with overlapping dates) and an overlapping community will be encouraged to shift dates
Who are the steering committee chairs of the (co-)sponsored Specialised Conferences?
Each conference which has been organized under the auspices of SIGCHI with the (co-) sponsored status (of at least 50%) has a steering committee (SC). Details of the chairs of these steering committees can be found here The chair of each committee is the privileged contact point with SIGCHI EC and SIGCHI CMC providing feedback on the issues faced by the conference series and transferring information and procedures to the organizers of the next conferences of that series. Each chair is a member of SIGCHI CMC.
How do I get approval from the ACM SIGCHI for my (co-)sponsored conference?
It is first worth noting that the ACM maintains a page which describes their guidelines for organizing ACM conferences. Assuming the conference you are planning to run is one of the existing ACM SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences, then the process for starting to get approval is quite straightforward. Your first step is to submit a Preliminary Approval Form (PAF) at least 24 month before the conference starts. This is a lightweight process and is very helpful as it secures your dates within the overall SIGCHI calendar and get you into the ACM system. Once your steering committee has agreed to you hosting the conference, we would suggest you submit your PAF. Having your PAF approved will take some time to process. The process can be delayed due to conflicting dates, multiple SIGs involved etc. However, once your PAF is submitted the process starts, so please submit early! Some conferences submit their PAFs upto 36 months in advance. Next, once your PAF is approved, you should submit the Technical Meeting Request Forms (TMRF).

General Considerations

This section covers general questions you might have after preliminary approval (PAF) or (TMRF) approval has been granted but before the conference itself starts.
What is the SIGCHI Gary Marsden Student Development Fund?
The SIGCHI Gary Marsden Student Development Fund aims to support postgraduate students from developing countries to attend SIGCHI conferences. We would encourage you to include the following text onto your conference website to let potential applicants know about this program.


"In recognition of Gary Marsden’s contributions and inspiration in HCI for Development (HCI4D) and in order to support HCI in the developing world, ACM SIGCHI has established the Gary Marsden Student Development Fund. This fund is especially intended for sponsoring postgraduate students (Masters or PhD degree intention) from and currently based in developing countries to attend SIGCHI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences. For more information about applying for funding, see the PDF document at Gary Marsden Student Development Fund"

What is the SIGCHI Specialized Conferences Development Fund?
You should first discuss any idea you have around this fund with the chair of your steering committee. This new fund was approved in July 2015 by the SIGCHI EC. In Nov 2105 the SIGCHI CMC published details on the Objectives, Criteria and details on making a proposal.

You should visit this page on the SIGCHI Specialized Conferences Development Fund to learn more about the objective and process involved in applying to this fund, along with seeing examples of prior applications and final reports.
Insurance and Liability
The following does not constitute legal advice. The particular country, area and venue for your conference each impact on any advice which can be given. For ACM Sponsored conference, the ACM takes the financial risk and the legal responsibility. This does not apply for in-cooperation conferences. Decisions you make as organiser, or your chairs make can expose the ACM to large financial risks and the legal problems. Rather than attempt to list all the insurance or liability issues, we ask each conference organiser to communicate with all other organizers to ensure decisions are made understanding what insurances are in place and any liability, which your decisions can expose the ACM to.
Re-publication of work in English that was previously published in another language

English is considered the international language of ACM SIGCHI and its journals and conferences. Work that has previously been presented or published in a language other than English may be translated and presented or published in English in SIGCHI journals and conferences insofar as ACM SIGCHI is concerned. The original author should typically also be the author (or co-author) of work translated into English and it should be made clear that this is a translation. We encourage authors whose work was originally published in languages other than English to do this if they feel their work is of sufficient relevance and quality to be useful to a wider international audience. We encourage conference technical chairs and journal editors to make it clear that papers which are otherwise acceptable should not be rejected on the basis that they have previously been published in a language other than English. In some cases, work originally published for a very select regional audience may be improved by rewriting (as well as translating) so that the relevance to a wider audience is clarified. Of course, it is not acceptable to translate the original work of another author and present it as one’s own. Authors wishing to publish in English a work originally published elsewhere also need to check their original copyright agreement with the original publisher to make sure that this is permissible according to that agreement.

Planning the conference

This section covers questions you might have around topics which will present themselves during the conference itself. We would recommend reviewing these in advance of the conference!
The following does not constitute legal advice. The particular country, area and venue for your conference each impact on any advice which can be given, what we note here is that you need to develop an accessibility policy. SIGACCESS has developed a very useful guide on how to make your conference accessible. In addition there is a SIGCHI accessibility community.
Children at conferences
The following does not constitute legal advice. The particular country, area and venue for your conference each impact on any advice which can be given hence, what we note here is that you need to develop a policy if you expect to have children attending your conference. We expect a conference to develop a policy for how children are welcomed to conferences. Such policies should reflect the work nature of conferences, what standards are communicated to parents who bring children, registration of children to attend events (without registration, insurance and liability can be problematic), access to events where alcohol is served (which can expose the ACM to insurance and liability issues), safety with respect to dangerous equipment/setup etc.
Code of Conduct
The ACM provides a helpful "Code of Conduct" which you should consider linking to or publishing on your conference website. This was formerly refered to as the "ACM’s Anti-harassment policy" but is now called the ACM "Code of Conduct.

After the conference

This section covers questions you might have about what needs to be done, after a conference is over.


Other Topics

This section covers general questions you might have.
What is the ACM SIGCHI?
The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) currently has 47 Special Interest Groups. ACM SIGCHI is one of these "SIGs" with thousands of members. The ACM SIGCHI is run by an Executive Committee (EC), which includes elected officers, the immediate past president, editors of membership publications, and appointed office-holders. This committee organises the activities of SIGCHI on behalf of its members.

The VP for Conferences chairs the Conference Management Committee (CMC) which is made up of a core CMC and full CMC. This has certain delegated authorities from the EC. Broadly: The CMC is responsible for planning and operational decisions relating to the annual CHI conference and support for all sponsored, co-sponsored and in-cooperation conferences. All steering committee chairs, of a SIGCHI Specialized Conference organised under the auspices of SIGCHI with a (co-)sponsored status of at least 50% sit on the full CMC. The full CMC meets annually (typically just before the CHI PC meeting).
What are ACM SIGCHI Specialized Conferences?
ACM SIGCHI Specialized Conferences are all conferences other than CHI that involve ACM SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) as sponsor or co-sponsor, or are in-cooperation with another party.
Why engage with the ACM SIGCHI on your conference organization?
In some cases, the steering committee for the conference you are considering or currently planning to run have made a formal choice to be a sponsoredco-sponsored or in-cooperation event. The links on this page summarize the Benefits and constraints of being a sponsored or co-sponsored conference.

Page maintained by Aaron Quigley, the ACM SIGCHI Adjunct Chair for Specialized conferences

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