Banner photo: geometric pattern/wall, Ryerson University Student Center

social events

social meetups | ask-me-anything sessions


Below we have details about the social events offerings this year at UIST. Please see the UIST 2021 program for links to access any of the events (you will need to be logged in & registered for the conference to see the links).

After each program block we will have Social Hours on ohyay.

All times are shown in UTC in the table below.

Oct 12 Oct 13 Oct 14
Social Meetups

3am: Who2chat

7pm: XR Social Meetup

11am: To be in person or not to be in person?

12pm: Who2chat

7pm: To be in person or not to be in person?

7pm: FabLunch

7:30pm: UIST Haptics

7:30pm: Who2chat

AMA Sessions

6pm: Applying for Faculty Positions (Stefanie Mueller)

10am: How to Design Your Thesis Statement (Wendy Mackay)


Social Meetups

Research communities coming together are the core of innovation and collaboration, and a fundamental element of a successful conference. This year's UIST will provide an opportunity for members of the research community to socialize in a casual digital atmosphere in the form of “Social Meetups” to discuss their topics of interest.

We invite attendees to organize such meetups centered on research topics like fabrication, virtual reality, or general themes like diversity in academia.

More information on how to organize a Meetup can be found HERE.

List of Social Meetups

To be in person or not to be in person? Logo

To be in person or not to be in person?: What should the UIST conference look like?

Chris Clarke, Nur Hamdan, Eunice Jun, and Kelly Widdicks

Oct 13, 11am UTC and Oct 13, 7pm UTC

Despite the many difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has given us an opportunity to reflect on conference priorities and witness a large-scale experiment of moving conferences to a virtual format. Last year we gathered data from the UIST conference, and it is clear participants favored in-person elements over their virtual counterparts. However, this data was complicated due to the COVID pandemic, as many struggled with care giving responsibilities and a general lack of social contact. We as a community could also have done a better job with the virtual experience as we continuously learn how to optimise it. The goal of this meetup is to begin a discussion about the community's priorities and to explore virtual and hybrid options for conferences beyond the Covid-19 pandemic - particularly in ways which improve diversity and sustainability.

UIST Haptics Logo

UIST Haptics

Jasmine Lu and Jas Brooks

Oct 14, 7:30pm UTC

Haptic technologies are deepening the relationship between users and interactive devices. With haptics, not only can the user control their devices, the devices can directly transmit information to the user's body, in the form of vibrations, temperature, touch, pressure, forces and much more. Our community at UIST has been on the forefront of many haptic developments but there has never been a meeting specifically on this topic at the conference, so here we are: ready for the UIST haptics meeting!

This social event open to everyone who's interested in haptics (for accessibility, VR/AR, real-world, motor learning, communication, you name it!). We will be meeting in an informal setting and breaking out into smaller groups so we can talk to each other about everything XR! This event is designed to give you a chance to network with other like-minded haptic researchers but also to discuss big challenges in haptics: where are we going as a field, what haptic cues are missing, what's possible and impossible, and more!

XR Social Meetup Logo

XR Social Meetup

David Lindlbauer, Pedro Lopes, and Michael Nebeling

Oct 12, 7pm UTC

The interactive exploration and design around Virtual and Mixed Reality (XR) are one of the largest parts of our UIST conference! As such, we are calling all XR-interested researchers to join us during UIST 2021 for a special social event for everyone who's interested in XR, be it AR, VR or just R! :) Similar to our CHI 2021 XR meet-up, we will be meeting in an informal setting and breaking out into smaller groups so we can talk to each other about a variety of topics in XR!

FabLunch Logo


Thijs Roumen, Laura Devendorf, and Mustafa Doğa Doğan

Oct 13, 7pm UTC

Digital fabrication continues to be one of the hot topics at UIST, also this year the fab community is well represented with a large number of papers and demos throughout the conference. This informal social event is an opportunity to connect with like-minded researchers, and contemplate what futures we see for digital fabrication.

We will host a series of smaller rooms to keep the informal nature and give everyone a chance to be involved in dialogues. We prepare a few topics of interest to discuss and encourage the community to contribute with their own topics/statements and to add links to interesting papers/videos/books/content the community should know about. We look forwards to see you there!

Who2chat Logo


Soya Park, David Karger, and Jaeyoon Song

Oct 12, 3am UTC, Oct 13, 12pm UTC, and Oct 14, 7:30pm UTC

UIST is piloting Who2chat, a system to help you meet new people at conferences. Who2chat helps you figure out who at the conference would be good to meet, then helps coordinate brief coffee-break-style meetings with those people.

If you're a senior researcher, Who2chat helps you welcome new members to the community. You can find specific people to meet based on their research interests and help your junior colleague or students to find the right researchers to talk to. It can also help you meet old-timers you haven't met yet.

If you're a newcomer, even a shy one, Who2chat can help you figure out who to talk to and help you approach them in a natural way. You can start by joining an ongoing conversation involving someone you already know. Or you can ask your friends or advisors to suggest people to talk to.

To prepare, you should use Who2chat in advance to set up your profile so people can find you, and to create your list of people you'd like to meet. UIST will then use Who2chat during our online coffee breaks, to connect you to the people you've chosen to meet or who've chosen to meet you.

Link to the tool: (Code: U!ST2@21)
For more information, refer to these guidelines (
For technical support, contact or

Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) Sessions

Ask-Me-Anything sessions are a great way to provoke discussion around research-related topics, share experience about career development in academia and industry, or hear different opinions about how our field should move forward in regards to diversity and inclusiveness. Great AMA sessions raise questions, provoke discussions, and are controversial and innovative.

Topics for AMA sessions include, but are not limited to:

  • Emerging developments in XR
  • Social computing
  • Novel fabrication technologies and physical user interfaces
  • Career development
  • Grant writing
  • Diversity and accessibility
  • How to survive the PhD?
  • How to find postdoc positions

More information on how to organize an AMA session can be found HERE.

List of Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) Sessions

Stefanie Mueller

Applying for Faculty Positions

Stefanie Mueller

Oct 12, 6pm UTC

In this AMA, I will answer any questions you may have about applying for HCI faculty positions. The main focus will be on the job market in North America (US, Canada) but we can also crowdsource answers about how job applications work in other countries from the participants of the AMA. I will start the AMA with a short talk in which I will walk you through the faculty job application process step by step, including what application materials are required and how to prepare for the on-campus interview. This AMA is particularly suitable for PhD students and postdocs who will be on the job market in the next 1-2 years, but it can also be helpful for students who are still early on the PhD track to help think about how to focus your time and energy in the next years.

Wendy Mackay

How to Design Your Thesis Statement

Wendy Mackay

Oct 13, 10am UTC

If you are at the thesis-writing stage of your Ph.D., it’s very important to develop a crisp ‘thesis statement’: what do you know, as a result of conducting several years of research, and why is it important? The thesis statement includes both the research problem and your unique contribution. A great dissertation is not simply an account of the work you did, but rather an account of something new that you discovered or invented, as well as why it is important and how it will lead to fruitful future research. I will start with a short talk that describes a practical strategy for framing the different kinds of contributions you can make in HCI––empirical findings, methodology, design, technology, and theory––and how you can craft a successful thesis statement based on your particular type(s) of contributions. I will also talk briefly about how the thesis statement can help you when you apply for a job, both in crafting a research plan and describing your research. This AMA is particularly suitable for Ph.D. students who are currently writing their doctoral dissertations, but will be of interest to anyone who wants to ensure that their research papers and project proposals are well-framed.

Social Events Chairs

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