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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Author:Nitin

Nitin Sawhney, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at The New School. His research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of technology, civic media, and artistic interventions in contested spaces. He examines social movements and crisis contexts, though forms of creative urban tactics, participatory research, performance and documentary film. Nitin previously taught at the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) and conducted research at the MIT Media Lab on networked collaboration for sustainable product design, ubiquitous computing and responsive media in urban spaces. At The New School he has conducted research on participatory data-driven activism through OccupyData Hackathons in New York City and facilitating DIY urbanism for civic action in neighborhoods of Moscow. Nitin established the Engage Media Lab at The New School for students to design and conduct participatory media-based learning and assessment with youth in New York City, and has previously conducted research with Palestinian youth in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Nitin completed the documentary film, Flying Paper, about the participatory culture of kite making and flying among children in Gaza, with support from National Geographic, which has been screened in dozens of international film festivals. He recently initiated and co-curated the Guatemala Después project, examining contemporary artistic practices through collaborative exhibitions held in New York City and Guatemala from April-July 2015. He is currently completing a new documentary film, Zona Intervenida, focusing on historic memory through site-specific performance interventions in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

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