Researcher Blog: ECSCW2017 – stories from the Student Volunteer Team

ECSCW2017 Student Volunteer Team

About the authors

This blog post on the ECSCW conference was co-authored by three PhD students: Caroline Claisse, Ghayda Al Juwaiser and Eleonora Mencarini.

Caroline Claisse is doctoral candidate in C3RI in her 3rd year pursuing a practice-led PhD investigating the potential of embedded technologies and tangible interaction for engaging with heritage. Caroline’s supervisory team are Professor Daniela Petrelli (Director of Studies), Professor Luigina Ciolfi and Nick Dulake.

Ghayda Al Juwaiser is doctoral student in C3RI where she is in her 4th year researching the use of social media by Saudi women to represent and communicate their identity. Ghayda is supervised by Professor Luigina Ciolfi and Dr Geff Green.

Eleonora Mencarini is a PhD student from University of Trento in Italy currently visiting C3RI.  Eleonora is studying the use of haptic feedback in learning sports, with a particular focus on climbing.

Caroline, Ghayda and Eleonora were Student Chairs for this summer’s 15th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work. The conference was hosted by Sheffield Hallam University and co-chaired by C3RI’s Professor Luigina Ciolfi.

In this post Caroline, Ghayda and Eleonora talk about their roles as Student Volunteer Chairs during the recent ECSCW conference at Sheffield Hallam and each reflect on what they have taken away from the experience.


Hello! We are Caroline, Ghayda, and Eleonora and we were student volunteers at the 15th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW).  This conference was hosted by Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) from 27th August – 1st September 2017.

Professor Luigina Ciolfi and Professor David Randall opening the ECSCW conference.

Prof Luigina Ciolfi & Prof David Randall open ECSCW2017

ECSCW is a series of international conferences located in Europe that focuses on enhancing our understanding of the practices of cooperative work aiming to explore and design technological support. This year, the event was held between 28th of August and 1st of September and was co-chaired by Professor Luigina Ciolfi from SHU and Professor David Randall from the University of Siegen (Germany).

Many conferences offer the opportunity for students to be involved as volunteers (SVs) to assist with different aspects of the running of the event. In exchange for helping with registration, guiding guests, setting up rooms and bringing around microphones during Q&A moments etc, students can attend the conference for free. It is always a good opportunity for early-career researchers to network with senior and junior members of the international research community.

Being Student Volunteer Chairs

For ECSCW 2017, our role as Student Volunteer Chairs was first to review applications from students and select motivated candidates with research topics that linked best to the conference’s themes. This was very difficult job as we received an overwhelming number of responses from students all around the world! As a result, our team of SVs was very diverse in terms of experience, research topic, year of study and nationality. This greatly encouraged a dynamic and interesting discussion within the group.

ECSCW2017 Student Volunteer Team

The ECSCW2017 Student Volunteer Team

During the five days of the conference, we each undertook specific tasks according to our interests and carried out up to twenty hours of work. Being part of the SVs team was an opportunity to meet other students, share common research interests and receive feedback on our work from peers.

As Student Volunteer Chairs, we also learned more about the behind the scenes of organising an international conference, which was a very valuable and inspiring experience.



Keynote speaker Dr David A Shamma

Keynote speaker Dr David A Shamma


The conference started on Monday with two days of workshops and masterclasses before the official opening on Wednesday. We welcomed around 120 delegates for the keynote speaker and plenary sessions at the official opening.

Taking good care of the SV Team
ECSCW2017 Conference Dinner at the Cutlers’ Hall

ECSCW2017 Conference Dinner at the Cutlers’ Hall

We made sure there was a separate room allocated where the SV team could take their breaks. In the spirit of drawing on our own specialisms and expertise, Ghayda took great care of the team by supplying homemade Arabic coffee and desserts. This welcome addition helped the team recover between the day’s busy sessions.

Whilst helping every day with the conference organisation, there were plenty of opportunities for us to enjoy the discussions and meet the delegates during workshops, coffee breaks.  A highlight was the conference dinner which took place in the prestigious Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield.


A take-away from the conference from each of us

Ghayda: Further to the volunteering experience, I had several valuable gains from ECSCW2017, which I can highlight only few of here. Although the first workshop I was scheduled to wasn’t directly my field of research (Data-work in Healthcare: New roles, tasks and challenges) I learned so much about the interwave of technology and the medical sector. On the second day, at the nomadic work culture workshop I learned the word Hoffice. This refers to the unbalanced work-life way of living, where there is no clear line between the house and the office: it became my new favorite to use. I was also, super-excited to hear more about Luigina and Eleanor Lockley ‘s ongoing research on nomadic work, which I had attended its early stages 8 months before @ SHU. The chance to share my thoughts on Gloria Origgi’s keynote on her new book Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters, as a researcher in social media also (me), will be always a memorable commentary! My discussion with Dave Randall, besides other lovely conversations with Myriam Lewkowicz, Mateusz Dolata, Jonathan Foster and Matt Willis, are absolutely vivid ECSCW souvenirs!

Caroline: I was inspired by the way research was presented and the scope of the papers e.g. the various frameworks and theoretical contributions, which gave me a lot of food for thinking about my own research process. One of the most inspiring talks for me was the panel on discerning designers’ intentions, which questioned foundations of design practice. The panel was quite thought-provoking by questioning if we should care about designers’ intentions at all. The different perspectives brought to the table challenged me to re-consider what design process means in different contexts and the importance to step back to reflect, question and understand design process – its complexity in more depth.

Eleonora: What really impressed me by ECSCW is the intellectual depth of this conference, where the influence of technology on work practices is analysed in all its aspects and there is the real goal to have an impact on how society develops and the desire to make it fairer. Furthermore, I was particularly impressed by the Cutlers’ hall where we had the conference banquet… It’s a magnificent place! And I’m happy that this conference made me know hidden corners of Sheffield!


For more information on the ECSCW conference, you might find the following links useful:





Please note: Views expressed are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of SHU, C3RI or the C3RI Impact Blog.