A Workshop at CSCW 2019

November 9, 2019

Austin, Texas

Life Transitions and Social Technologies: Research and Design for Times of Life Change

When people experience major changes in their lives, they often turn to social technologies to help navigate shifting identities and networks and find support and resources. People’s experiences using social technologies during times of life transition, and how to better design such technologies, has been a major focus of social computing research. This workshop will gather researchers working in this space to discuss eight themes. Collaboratively, we will 1) synergize insights from workshop organizers’ and participants’ research to determine how social technologies can be designed to better support people during life transitions and 2) outline an agenda for the future of social computing work focused on life transitions.


Workshop Themes

  1. Life events vs. processes

  2. Changing identities

  3. Multiple overlapping life events

  4. Physical and digital transitions

  5. Technology non-use during life transitions

  6. Liminality framework

  7. Theoretical frames to draw from

  8. Methodological considerations


Workshop Goals

  1. Facilitate networking, connections, and collective identity for social computing researchers who study life transitions and social technologies.

  2. Discuss and make connections between the eight workshop themes described above.

  3. Set an agenda for the future of social computing research and design around life transitions and social technologies.

  4. Potentially derive a new concise term that can be used to describe this research area.

  5. Provide the groundwork for a collaborative research publication based on insights gained at the workshop.


Workshop Organizers


University of Michigan


Syracuse University


University of Colorado Boulder


University of Michigan

5912f06b6252d37b1cba0be9_[1] Daniel Prof

University of Dundee


University of Dundee



9:00 AM


9:10 AM


9:30 AM

Short talks by workshop participants about position paper topics

10:15 AM

Coffee break

10:45 AM

Collaborative brainstorming about workshop themes in small groups

11:10 AM

Affinity diagramming based on collaborative brainstorming

11:45 AM

Lunch break

1:30 PM

Keynote speaker: Dr. Marci Gleason, UT Austin

2:15 PM

Walking and talking break-out groups

3:00 PM

Report back from break-out groups and make connections between topics and themes discussed

3:30 PM

Coffee break

4:00 PM

Agenda setting, next steps, future plans



Early-decisions (for those who want to book travel early)

Deadline: August 25, 2019

Notifications: September 2, 2019

Later-decisions (for those who want to do this after the CHI deadline)

Deadline: September 25, 2019

Notifications: October 2, 2019

Interested participants should submit a short paper describing either:

1) Their research, preliminary or completed, related to life transitions and social technologies - or -

2) A position paper arguing for a particular idea or approach related to conducting research on or designing for life transitions and social technologies.

Papers should use the SIGCHI Extended Abstract format and be 2-5 pages long (excluding references).

Please submit papers to the workshop organizers at haimson@umich.edu.

If accepted into the workshop, you will need to register for CSCW 2019 and pay the workshop fee to attend.