Skip to content

Sociotechnical Change Agents: ICTs, Sustainability, and Global Challenges

Aligning with the theme of the 2020 ASIS&T Annual Meeting, Special Interest Group Social Informatics (SIG SI) will hold its 16th annual symposium in conjunction with SIG Social Media (SIG SM) and SIG Information Ethics and Policy (SIG IEP), allowing for ASIS&T members to better discuss how we might work collaboratively as “change agents actively addressing society’s grand challenges” (ASIS&T, 2020). This two-part pre-conference workshop will investigate how research and practice focused on the interaction of people, technology, and society may support social change, including addressing the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2015). 

Call for Participation

We are seeking paper and panel proposals and brief poster proposals that consider the use of ICTs (e.g., traditional technologies, computer/networking systems, mobile and pervasive devices, social media platforms, data analytics, and artificial intelligence) in relation to addressing any societal “grand challenges,” including sustainability efforts. We are also interested in broader research in social informatics, social media, and information ethics and policy that considers the social and technical aspects of using ICTs. We additionally welcome practitioners from business sectors, ICT communities, and human rights organizations.

Submissions may include empirical, critical and theoretical work, as well as practice cases and demonstrations. Some topics of interest include, but are not limited to: 

  • Digital equity and the digital divide
  • Sustainability and environmental concerns in ICT manufacturing
  • Human rights to information and technology
  • Equitable and/or sustainable information and knowledge systems
  • Sustainable data protection, storage, and/or privacy
  • AI for change and/or sustainable development
  • ICTs and social change movements
  • Big data approaches to supporting social change and/or sustainability
  • Automation and sustainable job markets
  • Using ICTs to address and/or discuss social challenges (e.g., misinformation spread, spam/bot/cyberbullying detection, health support communities, political analysis of social media)
  • Sociotechnical approaches to supporting the U.N.’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Implications and social influence of ICT design

We encourage submissions in the form of extended abstracts (1,000–2,000 words, including references) that either propose a panel discussion or present work in these topic areas. We additionally encourage the submission of virtual poster proposals (500 words) for works in progress and early research ideas.

Rather than taking a “paper presentation” approach, participants will be encouraged to present their work during breakout discussions using methods adapted from participatory design (Simonsen & Robertson, 2013), thereby allowing them to not only share their own work and ideas but to generate meaningful synthesis and new collaborations. We will organize submissions into themes and focus areas, so that participants may discuss their related work together in more detail during the workshop breakout sessions. Authors should accordingly take this format into consideration in their submissions. 

All submissions should be anonymized for review and in PDF format. Submissions can be made at:

Submissions will be due at 11:59 pm (PST) on July 12, 2020