SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival Electronic Theater: Official Selections Announced

ACM SIGGRAPH DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION SUMMIT

Join the ACM SIGGRAPH Diversity & Inclusion Committee for a two-day Summit to inform and educate our community about diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.

Program Content

ENCOURAGING POSITIVE IMPACTS

ACM SIGGRAPH Diversity & Inclusion Committee promotes diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and access. Diversity makes us more innovative, creative and leads to better decision-making, among all other positive impacts. We are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming space which celebrates diversity of people and content across all communities.

The Diversity and Inclusion Summit, hosted each year at SIGGRAPH since 2018, aims to turn the spotlight on how diversity and inclusion makes our communities, our industries and our teams stronger and on how we can make our world more inclusive and accessible.

This event is open to all but registration for SIGGRAPH 2020 is highly encouraged!

Register Now

Tony Baylis ACM SIGGRAPH DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION COMMITTEE CHAIR

Saturday, 22 August

9-9:55 am - BLM, COVID-19, and SIGGRAPH

Individual experiences and historical events that serve as a catalyst for the recent Black Lives Matter movement and the disproportionate effect of the Pandemic on the Black community are rarely understood or discussed by the broader community. The focus of this panel is to provide insight into these topics and also solicit ideas of how the SIGGRAPH community can help in educating people in creative ways like leveraging immersive technologies or designing games and characters that address some of these issues.

Moderator: Dr. Kevin Griffin
Panelists: Bilali Mack, Everett Downing Jr., Dr. Jonathan Allen, Makaiya Brown

BIOS

Jonathan E. Allen has worked in bioinformatics research under the Science and Technology and Global Security programs for thirteen years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). He leads an informatics team focused on modeling and managing data for complex biomolecular systems. He has extensive experience developing new software tools for pathogen characterization from complex biological samples, transcript analysis in host response and machine learning for small molecule drug discovery. Currently, he serves as a technical director for computing in the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium. Dr. Allen received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University in 2006, after conducting his thesis work at The Institute for Genomic Research (now The J. Craig Venter Institute).

Bilali Mack was born in Accra, Ghana and raised in Windsor, Connecticut. He graduated with a B.F.A. in animation and motion media from Emerson College and has rapidly established himself as a talent to watch in the visual effects and animation space. He has honed his approach as an artist with stints at Brickyard VFX, Smoke & Mirrors and MPC, working with top directors including Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Bezucha, The Russo Brothers and Lance Accord. He is currently A VFX Supervisor at Alkemy X and The Show VFX Supervisor for the Starz Hit TV Series Power. He furthers his education at the forefront of animation technology through his continued involvement with SIGGRAPH. Outside of the studio, he spends his free time perfecting his street photography, taking in the latest indie film launch and strategizing his next meal.

10-10:55 am - The Importance of Inclusivity: Now That's Comical Sense (Keynote)

Be empowered and inspired into the heartfelt stories told by South African native, best-selling author, TV personality, and illustrator Trevor Romain, who takes us through firsthand experiences filled with practical strategies and techniques that have already resonated with over 1 million children worldwide. Explore how connection and creativity impacted Trevor’s life and career by using inclusive storytelling. Plus, go behind the scenes into Trevor’s award-winning animated television series Comical Sense. As seen on PBS affiliate stations across the United States, the series follows the adventures of animated best-friends Jack and Skye who explore and overcome tough topics including: grief, facing fears, bullying, cliques, moving and more with some guidance from Trevor along the way. Discover through Trevor’s insights and intention of belonging was instrumental to the series success and why inclusive storytelling is essential today!

BIO:

For over 30 years, South African native, best-selling children’s author, illustrator, TV personality and motivational speaker Trevor Romain has dedicated his life and career to empower kids to become happier, healthier, and more confident. Find his award-winning animated series, books, educational materials, podcast and more at TrevorRomain.com.

11-11:40 am - From Ducks to Dojos: How to Teach a Toolkit for Diversity

Creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace has become a focus of many tech companies in recent years, although the question of how best to do so remains open. While most people in the industry are aware of problems in the pipeline, attempting to address them at the end can only have limited success since much of the talent has already leaked out. A more effective place to direct this focus is toward the entry point of students into the world of computer science. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators all play a role in how accessible and equal computer science education is. The initial teaching style, and level of community support shapes the rest of a student’s interest and career. Education in this field should be like showing a child how to put together a toolkit; instead of providing a standardized set, they can be pushed to use their creativity and understanding to flesh it out themselves. Diversity comes naturally when people are given the freedom to customize their own kits, where the tools selected are specialized for what they want to build, be that games, apps, or servers. These kits then have individuality, and are the same ones subsequently carried into the workplace. The culture of an industry is shaped by the expectations of those that belong to it. Cultivating the beliefs of the next generation to leave out current unconscious biases naturally leads to a more equitable workplace and community for all. This talk will share observations and practices by seasoned educators with an emphasis on how to support those who are not yet sure of their foothold in this field. We will explore what seems to be going right, going wrong, and what everyone – from novices to veterans – can do to help day to day.

Speaker: Joyce Lee

BIO:

Joyce Lee is a software engineer whose love for computer graphics has drawn her to projects everywhere from virtual reality content creation to simulation for autonomous vehicles. A former instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, she continues to pursue her interest in education while working at Google.

11:45 am - 12:40 pm - Women in Animation

Content coming soon!

12:45 - 1:45 pm - WFH Leadership: How to Lead Effectively While Working From Home

In “WFH Leadership: How to Lead Effectively While Working From Home,“ Maggie Oh will cover how her workstyle and work philosophy changed during the shelter-in-place order; her process changes and techniques; and how to care for others in a time of social distancing. Much of your day as a manager or team lead can be spent in meetings, chatting with folx, brainstorming, strategizing, and managing careers – all these activities have a social/face-to-face aspect where interactions and non-verbal feedback is foundational. At the time of writing this proposal, we are in the midst of a global health crisis. All over the world, non-essential employees are told to shelter-in-place (SIP) and work from home (WFH). How does a manager or team lead do their job effectively in this new work setting? In light of these circumstances, Maggie Oh postures that the soft skills and empathy are what teammates are looking for and need in their worklife. It is not simply enough to rely on hard-skills and recurring meetings alone. However it’s also not simply enough to “just chat” – a delicate balance should be socialized in order to establish service level agreements (SLAs) for oneself, team, and community. This talk is a follow up to her talk at Siggraph Asia 2019, “An Atypical Career Path: Film to Games to AR to R&D- How Engineering & Art Enhance Each Other.” Keywords: leadership, WFH, working from home, shelter in place, SIP, process, social distancing, COVID19, remote work, grief, management, soft skills.

Speaker: Maggie Oh

BIO:

Maggie Oh is currently at Google Stadia R&D as the Lead Technical Artist. Her experience ranges from art, engineering, and production in film, games, and AR in Mandalorian, London Fashion Week, HoloLens, Halo4, Pirates2, and Star Wars. Maggie holds an S.B. from MIT in EECS, and is currently at Harvard.

1:30 - 2:25 pm - BuzzFeed Animation: Any Women Leaders? Yeah, 80%.

People talk a lot about gender equality, but what does it really look like to work on a team led by women? Does any work actually get done? Is everything better? Worse? Do they bring in cookies? While more women are being hired in tech and animation roles, top leadership is as male dominated as ever. Join us to talk to BuzzFeed Animation’s top senior creatives, 80% of whom happen to be female. After a short introduction through the lens of their individual career paths, they will lead our discussion and Q&A session about what it means to not just be a woman in a male-dominated industry, but to be at the top of the pack. We will also discuss general diversity in the workplace, what BuzzFeed is doing differently, and how easily you can be the spark for change.

Speaker: Nick Butera

2:30 - 3:15 pm - The Unexpected is in our DNA & the DNA of Transformation. How to capture the complexity of multi/cross background to fuel purpose

Cross-countries, cross-modal, multi-disciplinary to inter-national to multi-sensory, we are diverse. It is not easy to put us nor Priscilla Koukoui in a box. As today French-Australian, who worked in over 10 countries, for over 20 different companies across industries and verticals, she will present what it is to be a bridge between worlds, a citizen of the world, and how curiosity leads to develop Passion, in this case for multi-sensory experiences. What doesn’t change is the change movement itself. Impermanence.

Speaker: Priscilla Koukoui

BIOS:

Emerging Tech adventurer and XR Creator, Priscilla Koukoui is the Founder of OviSquare.com, a company shaping the Future of XR (VR/AR) Business mainly for AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction), and re-imagining Entertainment by crafting meaningful multisensory XR stories. She leads multi-functional teams through complex digital transformation and the creation of innovative solutions delighting customers. https://www.linkedin.com/in/priscillakoukoui/ https://www.ovisquare.com/

3:15 - 3:30 Wrap

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee wraps the day’s events.

Sunday, 23 August

9-9:40 am - Teams Crossing Borders: Diversity in Perspectives

Software Development has evolved to include greater contribution from a variety of stakeholders. Stakeholders are often not only from a different job role but different gender, nationality, race, belief leading to very different perspectives in product development. In graphics more so than any other field the value of different perspectives is highly sought. The experiences of stakeholders enrich the design and development of systems to produce creative and stimulating visuals. However, inter-disciplinary efforts and diversity of perspectives have their own challenges. Working with teams which span not only countries but continents forces an awareness of cultural diversity which extends beyond traditional borders and into borders of mind-sets. A number of companies are working to engage teams with gender, nationality and neuro diversity but it is not without difficulties. In this presentation some of the key successes and failures of diversity in development teams are discussed. The contributors to the presentation will share information, experiences, and lessons learnt, on practical issues that are relevant to professional teams. The topics of the presentation will touch on the importance of inter-disciplinary professional networks and embracing diversity in all aspects of professional development.

Speaker: Ruth Lennon

BIO:

Ruth Lennon, Chair of the ACM-W Europe is a lecturer with Letterkenny Institute of Technology for 20 years. Ruth is member of a number of standardisation working groups. Ruth is the Chair of the ACM-W Europe and Academic Advisor to the ACM-LYIT and ACM-W-LYIT Student Chapters.

9:45-10:25 am - Unconscious Bias & Inclusion

Humans do not think rationally. We believe that we have an accurate perception, an accurate memory, or that we can multitask efficiently. We believe that we are in full control of our decisions according to our values, that we have free will, that we can understand others, and that we are logical beings. Sadly, this is a fallacy. This talk proposes to explore some of the most common cognitive and social unconscious biases that trick us into making bad decisions in everyday life and prevent us from building a more inclusive environment, even if we understand the importance of diversity. Since we can hardly avoid falling prey to our biases, what can we do? We need to identify these biases and focus on redesigning the workplace in order to avoid them in the first place. This talk will cover a few starting points to improve inclusion in the hiring and promotion processes.

Speaker: Celia Hodent

BIO:

Celia Hodent holds a PhD in psychology and has over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry. She currently leads an independent consultancy, conducts workshops, and provides guidance on the topics of game UX, ethics, unconscious bias, and tech inclusion. Celia is the author of The Gamer’s Brain.

10:30 - 11:15 am - Exploring Empathy & Creativity To Tell Inclusive Stories

Join an interactive conversation between global emcee Dan Ram and South African best-selling author, illustrator and speaker Trevor Romain for a journey on how empathy and creativity can join forces to create meaningful and inclusive storytelling. Dan and Trevor will highlight Trevor’s path from his humble upbringing in South Africa to becoming a well-renowned speaker, children’s author, illustrator, company co-founder and TV personality. The pair will also spotlight the importance of inclusivity in Trevor’s award-winning animated series, Comical Sense. The conversation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Presenters: Daniel Ramamoorthy, Trevor Romain

BIOS:

DanRam ignites the stage as an Event MC & Speaker at over 100 events a year. Hosting change-makers like President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, F1 champion Nico Rosberg, Grammy-winning artists and celebrities, his passion is to inspire people to ‘Start Now Start Simple’ to build a future worth living.

For over 30 years, South African native, best-selling children’s author, illustrator, TV personality and motivational speaker Trevor Romain has dedicated his life and career to empower kids to become happier, healthier, and more confident. Find his award-winning animated series, books, educational materials, podcast and more at TrevorRomain.com.

11:15 - 11:55 am - From Grassroots to Global - A story of bringing diversity, equity and inclusion to creative education and industry in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a small island in the Indian Ocean where graphics, film and animation skills are limited to the capital, Colombo. Only a few privileged people run the industry and learning opportunities are limited due to language barriers. This changed with Adobe Youth Voices (AYV), a program implemented by Shilpa Sayura Foundation with Taking it Global. AYV was the beginning of mine and many other rural young people’s creative careers who have become leaders in the Sri Lankan creative industry today. Youth from cities and villages, divided by ethnicity, language and religion got the opportunity to learn graphics, photography, film and animation. They collaborated to create media with a purpose making their voices heard on social issues around them. Finally winning many Adobe Aspire Awards and UNICEF challenge. Rising from the grassroots to the global level.Past eight years, the creative ecosystem created by Shilpa Sayura has produced award-winning youth, film directors, tv-series directors, graphic designers, animators and photographers from rural parts of Sri Lanka. Some of them have set up their own creative businesses in their villages and have become creative entrepreneurs. If AYV did not reach Sri Lanka these youth wouldn’t have entered the creative industry. We created diverse local language creative education programs, with resources from the united nations, engaging rural youth in creating stories for effective social change transforming lives of many and bringing diversity, equity and inclusion to Sri Lankan creative education.This year we have moved online responding to COVID 19, providing local language training to young people age 12- 24 in photography, graphics and animation with adobe creative leaders program reaching across communities to bring diversity, equity and inclusion to Sri Lankan creative industry.

Speaker: Poornima M. M. G. Meegammana

BIO:

Poornima is a filmmaker, animator and social-entrepreneur working towards DIE in creative, technology education and industry. Poornima’s work has recognised with internationally with Adobe aspire award, ISOC 25 under 25 awards, Queen’s young leaders award, Microsoft-World Bank Youth Solutions Award and Poornima is a recipient of Adobe Creativity Scholarship (2013).

12-12:55 pm - Immersive Technology Impacts on Society: Contributions of a Virtual Realty Engineer and Game Designer

Dr. Evie Powell, Lead Virtual Reality Engineer at Proprio and President/Creative Director of Verge of Brilliance, LLC, goals include on creating tools for technology that are people focused. In developing socially pervasive games, where people participate in a game experience without actually knowing it, she considers them as tools for breaking social boundaries as well as having the capacity to pivot its use such as becoming a tool for the current pandemic. Snag’em, a game she developed in graduate school, active and non-active players can input information allowing the system to design specific missions that creates connections among them. Dr Powell recognizes that this feature can be applied as a form of contact tracing among participants using their virtual networks. This is one prime example of how immersive technology such as virtual and augmented reality can impact society.

Speaker: Dr. Evie Powell

BIO:

Dr. Evie Powell is a games researcher and developer specializing in immersive interactions and prototype design. She is the lead virtual reality engineer at Proprio Vision, a surgical imaging company fusing human and computer vision into a powerful new system for surgical performance and training. She founded Verge of Brilliance LLC, an independent experimental games studio in Seattle, and previously worked at Microsoft on natural user interfaces and the Kinect technology at Xbox.With a unique career bridging gaming and healthcare, Dr. Powell integrates game design and UX design to create meaningful experiences that help people learn, play, and work differently. At Proprio, her focus is on anticipating how surgeons think and designing a suite of tools to empower them to think and perform optimally. Dr. Powell graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with her Ph.D. in Computer Science. Her research centered on socially pervasive game experiences and context-aware gaming using mobile technologies.

1-1:40 pm - Demonstrating Hearing Loss and Deafness in Digital Media

Disabilities such as hearing loss are often accounted for in terms of including accessibility in a product, instead I wanted the user’s experience to center around understanding the hearing loss experience though a visual medium. This presentation details a project I created to provide users with a visual representation of moderate and severe hearing loss. Using Max8, I created a digitally interactive piece that offers users 3 choices: to experience a video as though they have regular hearing, moderate hearing loss, or severe hearing loss. After making this choice, a full screen video will play on a monitor and depending on the user’s choice, the video being played with have been put through a different filter (that filter having a higher or lower amount of visual distortion depending on the user’s choice). User’s participation in this piece is meant to illicit a deeper understanding and empathy of what daily experience with hearing loss is like for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Each video’s play and stop features are triggered by different levels of sound – this feature (and the user’s ignorance of this feature) is meant to mimic the daily level of confusion and frustration experienced with hearing loss.

Presenter: Jesslyn A. Parrish

BIO:

Jesslyn Parrish is a PhD student specializing in Digital Media at the University of Central Florida. Her research focuses are interactive media, cultural anthropology, and applied linguistics with past research projects focusing on the Deaf community and Sign Language acquisition.

1:45 - 2:25 - Social Homelessness on U.S. Campuses

Asian women faculty on US campuses may experience the highest levels of isolation, marginalization, exclusion from decision-making and networks, and disrespect. It is a multidisciplinary design project to raise awareness of the marginalization of Asian women faculty on US campuses. It consists of a series of generative selfie by Being Ignored 1.0, site specific art installation, public speaking, Asian Female Scholars, social group to support Asian female faculty on US campuses in predominantly white academic institutions, and mobile application, Social Homelessness 2.0, with public participation. Being Ignored 1.0, as site specific installation, expresses the moment being brushed off. The computer screen displays real-time images captured through the web camera installed invisibly. As viewers move toward the screen, the web camera captures the viewer’s self-portrait and display it on the computer screen. The computer code eliminates the viewer’s facial expression to convey the concept of being avoided and rejected. The author co- founded the group, Asian Female Scholars, with Mary Szto, a law professor at Syracuse University. It is a social group consisting of around 40 Asian female faculties from northwest Indiana, USA, where white populations are relatively dominated in the academic world. The group provided regular workshops and social gathering for mentoring, connection, networks, and, resources such as pedagogical strategies for Asian female faculty to survive and succeed on US campuses. It was held at Valparaiso University and Purdue University Northwest since 2015. The Being Ignored 2.0 is a visual documentation to portray Asian female on US campuses by using generative selfies. The updated version, Social Homelessness 2.0, presents more elaborate visual expressions and styles by using diverse visual elements such. as lines, circles, curves, and text. It can be downloadable at http://www.socialhomelessness.com.

Presenters: Yeohyun Ahn, Ge Jin

BIOS:

Yeohyun Ahn is an award-winning typographer, interaction designer, and educator. Currently, she explores computational graphic art for social homelessness being isolated and marginal in professional areas of American society. She is an assistant professor of Graphic Design at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Dr. Ge Jin is a professor in the Department of Computer Information Technology and Graphics at the Purdue University Northwest. He earned his Doctor of Science degree in Computer Science from George Washington University. He is specialized in computer graphics, virtual reality, computer animation, medical visualization, and educational game development.

2:30 - 3:30 pm - Inclusion at Industrial Light & Magic

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging are a priority for ILM and critical to the success of our company and the VFX industry. We will discuss how our D&I strategy impacts every aspect of our company, from outreach to hiring to creating an inclusive culture for all employees. We will also share how we put our strategy into action.

Panelists: Jessica Teach – Executive in Charge, ILM San Francisco; Danielle O’Hare – Director of Talent Development; Lisa Pisacane – Head of Recruitment; Rob Bredow – Head of ILM

3:30 - 3:45 pm - Wrap

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee wraps the day’s events.