Bio: Nitin Sawhney

Here is a brief blurb about my background and interests:

I am an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement. I completed my PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I conducted research in networked collaboration and ubiquitous computing at the MIT Media Lab, and taught at the Program in Art, Culture and Technology including production courses on artistic interventions in crisis and Tactical Design.

At the MIT Center for Civic Media I established the Department of Play, a research collaborative to design participatory media tools for marginalized youth. Since 2006 I have been conducting digital storytelling initiatives (called Voices Beyond Walls) with youth in the West Bank and Gaza. Last summer I began a pilot research study examining cultural constructs of resilience through participatory media among Palestinian youth in Gaza. I have also been working on a documentary film, Flying Paper, about the participatory culture of kite making among children in Gaza, with support from National Geographic.

This spring I am developing a pilot digital media workshop with at-risk youth in Chelsea in collaboration with the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center and the People’s Production House; for this project we are creating participatory research tools for use with youth.

I hope with that introduction you may get a sense of my interests and aspects where I may offer some insights. Overall I see this production studio as a critical and collaborative learning environment where I hope to learn a great deal from everyone in our discussions of readings, workshops, fieldwork and projects together during the course of this term. I look forward to interacting with everyone in class and on the blog regularly.

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Categories: Biographies


Nitin Sawhney is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. As a human-centered design researcher he examines the critical role of technology, civic media, and urban interventions in crisis and contested spaces. Nitin engages user experience design, participatory action research, sensory ethnography, and multi-modal (speech/audio) approaches for complex contexts of human-machine interaction. Nitin has recently been conducting research at the intersection of AI and HCI for real-time news as well as humanitarian and crisis situations.


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