A half-day workshop at IEEE VIS 2021

Not all work that moves the field forward fits into the model of a standard conference paper or conference talk. The memorability or intellectual impact of work is often inextricably linked to this non-conventional form, whether it is a reflection, provocation, critique, satire, artistic statement, or manifesto. Successful venues like ACM CHI’s alt.chi (“a forum for controversial, risk-taking, and boundary pushing research at CHI”) and various “unconferences” have emerged in the past years as a way of providing an outlet for this sort of unconventional work.

Visualization, and IEEE VIS specifically, which incorporates perspectives in the intersection between art and design, statistics and psychology, we believe is uniquely placed to both generate and value the non-traditional. What’s more, we have observed a long-running desire for an outlet for non-traditional work among both long-time attendees as well as those researchers or practitioners who do not currently feel welcome or appreciated in the IEEE VIS environment.

Therefore, based on the (often unexpected) utility of unconventional work, the long standing and successful models of “alternative” conferences, and an expressed interest in bringing these models to the IEEE VIS community, we propose an “alt.VIS” workshop as avenue for work that is otherwise difficult to place in the main conference venues for reasons of form, format, or topic.

The remit of this workshop, mirroring alt.CHI, will be relatively broad both in terms of scope of topics and presentation types: our selection criteria are more focused on impact. What sort of work might cause the field to rethink its priorities or ways of operating? What work might highlight under-explored or neglected areas of visualization study or application? What, as per Kant, would “interrupt [our] dogmatic slumber” and stir us to action?

Call for Proposals

We invite the submission of bold, provocative, unusual, unconventional, thought-provoking works related to visualization in the broad sense. Authors should submit their work via the Precision Conference System (PCS) by July 30th, 2021. Given the wide range of submission formats that alt.VIS encourages, the only hard requirement is that an alt.VIS submission must include a title, an abstract, and a PDF submission of no longer than 5 pages (not including references) in the VGTC conference style template (although we note that the submission itself does not need to have the form of a traditional conference paper). Notifications of acceptance will be shared by August 31st, 2021.

Examples of submissions we encourage include (but are not limited to):

  • Provocations, manifestos, or other critiques of visualization research and practice
  • Creative and thought-provoking presentations of data (especially unconventional data), either as traditional visualizations or as multimedia presentations or artworks
  • Novel and unconventional visualization techniques or design processes

Given our focus on work that does not yet have a home in the main conference, we are unlikely to accept work that could conceivably be accepted to a main conference track.

Submissions will be evaluated on clarity, novelty, and their ability to promote productive thought and discussion for the alt.VIS audience.

Accepted submissions will be made publicly available on the workshop’s webpage. They will not be considered archival but could be cited. We leave the door open for short papers, including position papers, to be centralized under a DOI at authors’ discretion.

If you are unsure of how to submit your work, or if you want to discuss your submission with us, do not hesitate to contact us at alt.vis.workshop@gmail.com.


Jane Adams
Northeastern University

Lonni Besançon
Monash University

Michael Correll
Tableau Research

R. Jordan Crouser
Smith College

Charles Perin
University of Victoria

Paul Rosen
University of South Florida