Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share by email
Skype Connections and the Gaze of Friendship and Family

This academic conference, sponsored by Skype and MSR, was into research on video-mediated communications in private and domestic life. It was particularly interested in the interactional properties of these communications – the forms of talk, gaze and mutual attention rather than the HCI and design aspects. It was held on Jun 3rd and 4th 2015 at MSR Cambridge.

June 3rd and 4th, 2014, Microsoft Research Cambridge, 21 Station Rd, Cambridge, CB12FB


Richard Harper, Microsoft Research Cambridge.

Christian Licoppe, Telecom Paristech.

Rod Watson, Institut Marcel Mauss, Paris.


Call: This invites extended abstracts (of up to 600 words excluding title and affiliation) reporting theoretical and empirical research into the interactional order of video calling in domestic and personal life. Ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspectives are particularly welcomed on such things as:

  • the relationship between the sequential patterns of communication and the medium of Skype-type video connections in the social and family sphere;
  • the methods and patterns of recipient design and repair within such communications;
  • the properties and shape of topic management (e.g., news announcements and personal disclosures);
  • the character and role of embodiment and embodied interaction in such communications;
  • the salience of the visual and 'visual availability';
  • the relation between individual instances of Skype-type communications and the larger activity assemblies of which they are a part – whether it be a routine ‘catch-up’ calls within friendship or a special occasion like a dinner or birthday celebration for a distributed family.

These are of course not exclusive and other topics are welcome.

There will be a preference for wholly original work, though research previously presented of an extremely high quality may be considered. The conference will be framed by keynote addresses by leaders in the field of interaction analysis, CA and ethnomethodology. Announcement of these will be made shortly.

A selection of papers from the conference will be prepared for a Special Issue of Pragmatics, the Journal of the International Pragmatics Association.

Selection will be made by the conference chairs and reviewing panel.

For informal enquiries about the topics and format of the event, please contact Richard Harper (

To attend email

Attendance at the conference is free and will include attendance at a gala dinner in Queens College, Cambridge on Tuesday, June 3rd.

Some support for researchers seeking to attend the event is available.

Accommodation and Conference schedule

Please find information on accommodation and how to find us here.

The conference programme will be finalised after extended abstracts have been accepted.

Important dates:
  • Closed (deadline: 14th March)
  • Announcement of acceptance: Closed (deadline: April 18th 2014)
  • Last date for registration: 19th May 2014
Contact and submissions:

Sponsored by Skype and Microsoft Research


Supported by Telecom Paristech