Bringing the SIGCHI
Community to Poland:
The Łódź Summer School.
the summer school. To our delight,
they were happy to listen in during the
lectures. We hope we also stirred their
interest in HCI.
The program had several highlights.
On the first lecture day, all participants
took a leap of faith and rode a zipline
across Manufaktura’s square. This
helped lighten the mood in the group.
We also hosted a public event where
students tested the prototypes
they developed during the summer
school. They invited local residents to
participate and rewarded them with
food and drink. Despite a downpour
that made the testing extra difficult,
many participants enjoyed using the
new devices and learning about HCI.
It also provided an exercise in popular
science for both students and faculty.
The school ended with a momentous
dinner featuring abundant quantities of
Poland’s first major HCI education event took place in July 2017. The SIGCHI-sponsored Łódź Summer School on Methods in HCI invited students from
around the globe for an exciting week
full of activities. We were lucky to be the
organizers of the event.
Our plan was simple. We wanted
to bring world-class HCI faculty
and international HCI students and
involve them with local students and
communities to foster interest in HCI.
The response we got was overwhelming.
We were happy to receive support from
the Łódź University of Technology
(TUL) as well as local businesses. Most
important, we got a very high number
of applicants. But we were sad to have
to turn down more than half. As we
wanted the event to be meaningful for
our region in particular, we gave priority
to students from Central and Eastern
On July 7, the event kicked off with
32 students and 14 lecturers. We began
with an opening talk and a dinner to
break the ice. The remaining days of
the summer school were action-packed!
Each morning began with a keynote
by an expert on a hot HCI topic. The
rest of the days were spent in hands-
on classes focusing on a particular
method. On most days we would visit
Manufaktura, a former cotton mill
turned entertainment center and Łódź’s
prime tourist attraction, to engage local
users. This “one method a day” program
was quite intensive, but it enabled
students to get an overview of a variety
of methods and pick the ones to study
further. We invited local undergraduate
students to help with the logistics of
We were very glad to see local and
international students extend their
networks with peers and professors.
We have already received reports of
research work conducted based on ideas
developed during the summer school.
Most important, we managed to put
HCI on the map in Poland and show its
relevance to academics and the public.
What’s more, the activities included in
the summer school contributed to other
initiatives: Shortly after, an HCI student
club was established. The school also led
to an extended international network,
which now supports the process of
establishing Poland’s first HCI master’s
We are grateful to SIGCHI, the
organizing universities, our lecturers,
and the students for their commitment
and support. We believe that the
summer school is only the first step
toward establishing a strong research
and education agenda in Poland and
Eastern Europe. The school will have its
second edition in the summer of 2019.
Paweł W. Woźniak is an assistant
professor at Utrecht University. While he
loves HCI in all its breadth, his focus is
on understanding and designing better
technologies that support well-being and
augment the experience of physical activity.
He also conducts research in multi-surface
interactions and augmenting sensory
Andrzej Romanowski is vice dean
and assistant professor at the Institute of
Applied Computer Science, Łódź University
of Technology (TUL). He is a pioneer in
problem-based learning and design thinking
at TUL. As a practice-oriented academic with
industry experience, he is primarily interested
in stimulating user development through
DOI: 10.1145/3281762 COPYRIGHT HELD BY AUTHORS
INTERACTIONS.ACM.ORG 94 INTERACTIONS NOVEMBER–DECEMBER2018
Paweł W. Woźniak,
University of Stuttgart
and Utrecht University
Summer school students exploring artifact