Call: “HCI at the Boundary of Work and Life” – Special issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing on “HCI at the Boundary of Work and Life”

Guest Editors: Erik Grönvall, Luigina Ciolfi, Gabriela Avram, Chiara Rossitto, Louise Barkhuus

This special issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (Springer) on “Human-Computer Interaction at the Boundary of Work and Life” aims to explore how HCI themes, concepts, design and technical sensibilities can be extended and applied to practices blurring the boundary between work and life. Technology has moved from workplaces to become part of nearly every aspect of everyday life. Similarly, HCI research spans not only work settings and practices, but also other life domains, from family life, to gaming, tourism and other leisure activities. However, the neat distinction between which activities are work-related and which are not is becoming less and less meaningful, as often the spheres of work and life blur into each other. Similarly, the use of technology is not limited to specific work vs. non-work situations. It is increasingly difficult to keep work and life separated, to the point that attempting to achieve work-life balance might be counter-productive or more demanding than managing the blurring between them. Studies on the use of mobile phones, instant messaging and social media have also shown how the same communication channel is often used for work and private activities almost at the same time. Mobile technology and mobile interaction have often been a frame for looking at these phenomena, linked to the ideas of “mobilization” of practices as well as of infrastructure, and mobilities studies have been the frame for other examples of existing work on shifting patterns of home life and work life physically, temporally and organisationally.

This special issue will bring together a set of papers addressing the analytical, design and technical challenges entailed in issues of technology and work-life balance. Is the blurring of practices a problematic issue that should be addressed, or a new way of working and living that people are increasingly embracing? How do people coordinate and interact when work tasks, personal tasks and leisure tasks blur into each other, and how to support/facilitate/mediate this through design and technology innovation? How are work and life practices negotiated when someone’s workplace is someone else’s private space? How can we (re)think the design and implementation of current and novel platforms and services with respect these issues?

Specific topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordination, awareness, planning around work/life practices;
  • The permeation of work and private life with respect to managing work despite interruptions;
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of interactive systems and services for the support of both work and life practices;
  • How collaboration and social interaction occur across work and life domains;
  • The design of new technology platforms, services and interaction modalities that support/mediate the blurring of work and life;
  • Theoretical and methodological issues on how to study these issues (merging and/or developing existing frameworks, new conceptual approaches, developments in methodology, etc.);
  • Explorations of settings where this occurs (at home, in the workplace, on the move…).
  • Critical studies on the permeation of work and private life with respect to maintaining sustainable lifestyles;
  • Investigations of the reciprocal permeations of work-related values into private life and vice-versa.

Papers should follow the PUC instructions for authors ( and be submitted in PDF to

Important Dates:

March 13th, 2015 – submission deadline
June 15th, 2015 – notifications due
End of August 2015 – revised submissions due
End of September 2015 – final notifications due
Early 2016 –  Publication of the Special Issue in PUC


Guest Editors:

Erik Grönvall, IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
Luigina Ciolfi, Sheffield Hallam University (UK)
Gabriela Avram, University of Limerick (Ireland)
Chiara Rossitto, Stockholm University (Sweden)
Louise Barkhuus, Stockholm University (Sweden)


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