IMPs as Student Volunteers in SIGGRAPH Asia

Story by Johanna Peltola
The third year of media studies brought along a moment of epic proportions for two IMPs: Amir Abdi and I had been accepted as student volunteers in Asia’s biggest computer graphics –event – in Hong Kong! It was going to be a smashing trip, and so it was, I tell you.

Last December we were getting ready for an 11,5-hour flight from Paris to the massive Eastern metropolis of over seven million city dwellers. The destination was no less than SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 –conference.

Can you hear? The world is calling!

Essentials first: SIGGRAPH is a conference focused on computer graphics, annually convened in North America by the ACM SIGGRAPH organisation. SIGGRAPH Asia has been arranged along the main event in various Asian capitals since 2007 as it gathers together Asia’s biggest artists, designers, researchers, scientists, developers and manufacturers on the field.
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

How did IMPs end up there?
Well, piece of cake. We filled out applications to be student volunteers in the conference and were blown away when found out that we got accepted along with 130-something CG-lovers around the globe. Being a student volunteer made us members of the conference-team and provided plenty of exciting experiences.
IMPs Amir and Johanna on duty in SIGGRAPH Asia 2011

Each SIGGRAPH student volunteer works in the conference for 15-25 hours carrying out various simple tasks from general assistance to gate keeping, and that's not all there is: SV's also get a full access to the conference program including the animation festival.

SIGGRAPH program included panels and talks by industry experts in digital media. The gallery of emerging technologies was very intriguing and provided a glimpse to the future of 3D-technologies. Technical stuff was a big part of the conference but certainly not all: inspiring installations and works of art were part of the program as well as the must-see works of 2011 in computer graphics. Augmented reality, especially in mobile phones, and stereoscopy were the prevalent topics across the conference.

Participating in SIGGRAPH entailed lots of learning via talks and workshops. The program invited the participants to take a peek at the fourth generation of CG, perception in graphics, virtual environments and animation and cross-cultural user experience design, to name but a few items on the diverse list of courses.
Student volunteers and team leaders in orientation briefing

After a 13-hour flight and a one day jetlag recover, we were to meet other student volunteers in an orientation session taking place in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Everything was well organized and the team leaders were always there to help if needed.

The week was intensive and I’ve never met so many people in such a short period of time. The vibes were warm and friendly: already after the first day the volunteers had formed a close and comfortable community in which it was easy to feel at home.
Lovely breakfast company from left: Kayee (USA), Mina (Japan),
Cheryl (China) and Kyle (Philippines)
Student volunteers Nikita and Joel both study Animation Design
in Supinfocom in Pune, India

Taking part in SIGGRAPH conference is also a decent opportunity to meet industry professionals on a global scale. The conference program included a networking event in a striking venue of Cyberport, offering not only chats with new friends and potential future employers but also live music and luxurious dinner buffet.

Hong Kong of course provided much more than just the conference: plenty of exotic culinary delights, sights and experiences.
Hong Kong street kitchens provide a hungry traveler lots to choose from
Sai Kung - A peaceful oasis is only an hour away from the city

SIGGRAPH was a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime (or hopefully more…) experience that I can warmly recommend to anyone, whether it’s for professional interest, making friends or pure curiosity – go and see for yourself.

Fancy some 3D-thrills in the City of Angels?
Your next chance to join SIGGRAPH will be in Los Angeles on 5.-9.8.2012 and the search for student volunteers is on! Send your application by 14th February 2012, 08:00:00 EET. Apply here!

Images by Amir Abdi and Johanna Peltola

Johanna and Amir are students of our international Degree Programme in Media
Read more stories from/about IMPs, the Media students