Hawaiian Cosmos by Carlos Guerrero Millan

This was my first time presenting a full paper at CHI, which is titled Cosmovision of Data: An Indigenous Approach to Technologies for Self-Determination. It was a very interesting experience that allowed me to share my research with a wider audience, connect with other researchers working on similar domains and explore new, different ideas. I found it to be inspiring, I received insightful comments and questions about my project and I got to listen to very meaningful presentations and conversations. On top of that, having the opportunity to travel to and visit such a remote and unique place as Hawaii was amazing.

Some of the key takeaways I gained from the conference were that programmes like CHI provide the opportunity to find new communities as well as potential to include more voices.

CHI has allowed me to find likeminded groups of people, which I’ve found to be valuable, as I’m not great at networking. Attending sessions or workshops connected to my topic or to a new area I’m interested in exploring, allowed me to engage in interesting discussions. Furthermore, SIGs (Special Interest Groups) are a great way of getting to know new research groups and connect with people.

Coming from Latin America myself, I found that there were not that many researchers or institutions from this region present at CHI, despite the vast amount of research that is created there. CHI is quite an expensive and exclusive conference to attend and funding options in Latin American universities can be limited, so it would be great to create opportunities and partnerships that allow more voices to be heard in these spaces.

The highlights for me were be being awarded ‘Best Paper’, the support I received from and gave to the Edinburgh DI community and the unique opportunity to explore Hawaii.

The paper I co-wrote with my supervisors, Bettina Nissen and Larissa Pschetz, received a Best Paper Award, part of the top 1% of all submissions. I felt honoured to be a recipient of it, not only because it recognises the value of our research, but also the work of Tosepan, the Indigenous organisation in Mexico that I’m collaborating with. I hope the paper brings opportunities for new partnerships and for connecting with other institutions.

I’m happy I had the opportunity to share all of these experiences with other members from DI who attended CHI. Being there as a group made the conference better, having peers and colleagues coming to my presentation made me feel supported, and attending their sessions was inspiring for me too. Being such a big event, CHI can be overwhelming, so having a community to back you up and to keep you company is great.

Visiting Honolulu and Oahu (the island where the city is located) was an adventure by itself. I got to learn a bit about the history, traditions and struggles of the Native Hawaiian People, witness different cultural expressions and admire stunning landscapes, beaches and nature. Furthermore, the closing keynote of the conference was dictated by a Hawaiian researcher, who shared valuable insights and understandings of different knowledge systems.

From my overall experience at CHI I have returned with all the questions, feedback and comments I received after my presentation which have been helpful and valuable for my project. I was surprised learn how other researchers engaged with it and how they felt it could connect or relate to their own discipline. I will definitely take these points of view and perspectives into consideration for next steps of my research process and for future proposals.