Dagstuhl Seminar on SportsHCI

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to be invited to attend and present at the Dagstuhl Seminar on “SportsHCI” in Wadern, Germany. This was an exciting opportunity to connect with other researchers interested in the intersection of sports, exercise, human-computer interaction, and technology: “This Dagstuhl Seminar builds on prior work that highlighted that supporting sport and exercise activities with technology should not only be concerned with functional aspects, such as measuring and comparing athletic performance, but also consider the experiential aspects, in other words, how sports people feel about their athletic performance.”

I was invited to give a brief presentation, which focused on broadening participation in sports, through technology:

Much of the historic focus of physical activity-related HCI has either been related to: those starting out their journey; or, to performance, particularly in (semi-) professional athletes. Over time this has broadened to include a range of sports, fitness levels, and technologies. However, more work remains to be done to establish a more inclusive SportsHCI research agenda that caters for all athletes, as well as promotes enjoyment and continued engagement regardless of gender, race, background, ability, body size, or time-pressures. While there is a broader movement in HCI around designing inclusive and accessible technologies, this should be more explicit in SportsHCI. Here I will bring examples from the cycling communities to highlight this need. I argue that a Feminist HCI framework can help emphasise inclusivity and diversity from an intersectional standpoint, allowing SportsHCI to better address individual needs and preferences, challenge stereotypes, and create a more welcoming environment for all.

The Role of HCI in Enhancing Inclusivity and Encouraging Engagement in Sports and Exercise

I was able to present these ideas and get feedback from fellow attendees. It sparked interesting discussions around diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in SportsHCI research.

The seminar took place at the beautiful Schloss Dagstuhl castle in Wadern, Germany, from July 16-21, 2023. Dagstuhl hosts seminars that bring together computer scientists and researchers from around the world to collaborate intensively on topics of shared interest. The center is located in a remote, idyllic setting that encouraged collaboration and allowed us to immerse ourselves in discussing research ideas. Beyond the presentations at the beginning of the week, we held demo-sessions, workshop discussions, and break out sessions, where we discussed a broad variety of topics and approaches for SportsHCI.

In addition to the academic sessions, we also enjoyed meals together, walks around the grounds, the traditional hike on Wednesday afternoon, and social time that strengthened our connections.

This was an invigorating week that has already led to new collaborations and research ideas. I look forward to seeing the field of SportsHCI continue to grow in the coming years as we work to develop technologies that enhance performance, exercise, inclusion, and the overall sporting experience. There are many open challenges and opportunities ahead!

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