Nitin Sawhney

Nitin Sawhney

Professor of Practice
Department of Computer Science

Prof. Nitin Sawhney leads the CRAI-CIS (CRitical AI and Crisis Interrogatives) research group in the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University. Working at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), responsible AI, and participatory design research, he examines the critical role of technology, civic agency, and social justice in society and crisis contexts. Prof. Sawhney has previously conducted research in speech/audio interaction, wearable computing, distributed open source collaboration, civic/participatory media at the MIT Media Lab and The New School.

At Aalto University, he is the principal investigator for a 3-year Research Council of Finland project on Reconstructing Crisis Narratives for Trustworthy Communication and Cooperative Agency, jointly conducted with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). It aims to analyze crisis narratives using mixed-methods, combining qualitative research with computational data analytics of crisis discourses in news, health communications, and social media. In December 2021, he received an award from the Kone Foundation for a 4-year research project Civic Agency in AI? Democratizing Algorithmic Services in the City (CAAI), which was subsequently awarded an additional 4-years of funding from the Research Council of Finland in June 2023. In September 2022, he was awarded a Strategic Research Council grant for the project Designing Inclusive & Trustworthy Digital Public Services for Migrants in Finland (Trust-M)

Prof. Sawhney is a member of the research program on AI and Society at the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI). At Aalto University he helped establish the research areas on Digital Ethics, Society and Policy (Digital ESP) and Human-Computer Interaction and Design (HCID). His work has been published in journals including IEEE MultimediaACM Transactions on Computer-Human interactionPersonal and Ubiquitous ComputingPlanning Practice & ResearchAI & Society: Knowledge, Culture and Communication, and Digital Creativity. He is an associate editor for the International Journal of Child Computer Interaction.

He has previously been involved in several tech startups in clinical data platforms and real-time news and social media analysis in Cambridge and New York, and co-directed two feature-length documentary films in Gaza and Guatemala. 

CRAI-CIS Research Group:

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Full researcher profile

Research groups

  • Computer Science Professors of Practice, Professor of Practice
  • Computer Science - Human-Computer Interaction and Design (HCID), Professor of Practice
  • Computer Science - Digital Ethics, Society and Policy (Digital-ESP), Professor of Practice
  • Professor of Practice Sawhney Nitin, Professor of Practice


Invisible Lives, Visible Determination: Creative Agency as Resilience among Palestinian Children under Siege in Gaza

Nitin Sawhney 2024 Lived Resistance against the War on Palestinian Children

Practitioners' Perspectives on Inclusion and Civic Empowerment in Finnish Public Sector AI

Karolina Drobotowicz, Nghiep Lucy Truong, Johanna Ylipulli, Ana Paula Gonzalez Torres, Nitin Sawhney 2023 Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Communities and Technologies - Humanization of Digital Technologies 2023, C&T 2023

Emerging AI Discourses and Policies in the EU: Implications for Evolving AI Governance

Ana Paula Gonzalez Torres, Kaisla Kajava, Nitin Sawhney 2023 Artificial Intelligence Research - 4th Southern African Conference, SACAIR 2023, Proceedings

Language of Algorithms: Agency, Metaphors, and Deliberations in AI Discourses

Kaisla Kajava, Nitin Sawhney 2023 Handbook of Critical Studies of Artificial Intelligence

A User-Centered Lens into Digital Excess : Exploring the Superfluity and Environmental Burden of the Digital World

Thomas Olsson, Olli Pyyhtinen, Anna Rantasila, Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Minna Vigren, Johanna Ylipulli, Nitin Sawhney 2023 LIMITS'23, June 2023, Everywhere All at Once

Contextual Inquiry of Affordances for Collaboration in Crisis : Lessons from the Finnish Context

Minttu Tikka, Rahim Ahsanullah, Uttishta Varanasi, Vuokko Härmä, Nitin Sawhney, Teemu Leinonen 2023 Proceedings of the 20th International ISCRAM Conference

Collaborative Sensemaking in Crisis : Designing Practices and Platforms for Resilience

Uttishta Sreerama Varanasi, Teemu Leinonen, Nitin Sawhney, Minttu Tikka, Rahim Ahsanullah 2023 DIS '23 : Proceedings of the 2023 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference

Re-evaluating Evaluation : Looking for Value-based Metrics in Public Service Design

Uttishta Varanasi, Ruta Serpytyte, Nitin Sawhney 2023

An Approach to Computational Crisis Narrative Analysis

Henna Paakki, Nitin Sawhney, Faeze Ghorbanpour 2022

Devising Regulatory Sandboxes and Responsible Practices for Designing AI-based Services in the Finnish Public Sector

Nitin Sawhney, Ana Paula Gonzalez Torres 2022 International Workshop on AI Compliance Mechanism (WAICOM 2022), 35th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (JURIX 2022), Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

Age Against the Machine: A Call for Designing Ethical AI for and with Children

Sumita Sharma, Marianne Kinnula, Netta Iivari, Leena Ventä-Olkkonen, Heidi Hartikainen, Eva Durall, Tonja Molin-Juustila, Jussi Okkonen, Sirkku Kotilainen, Nitin Sawhney, Grace Eden, Charu Monga 2022

Studying the potentials and pitfalls of ICT tools designed for crisis communication & management

Minttu Tikka, Rahim Ahsanullah, Nitin Sawhney, Teemu Leinonen, Uttishta Varanasi 2022

Augmented reality sandboxes

Teemu Leinonen, Jaana Brinck, Henriikka Vartiainen, Nitin Sawhney 2021

Re-thinking Pedagogy and Dis-embodied Interaction for Online Learning and Co-Design

Salu Ylirisku, Giyong Jang, Nitin Sawhney 2021 Proceedings of Nordes 2021

Ecologies of Contestation in Participatory Design

Nitin Sawhney, Anh Ton Tran 2020 16th Participatory Design Conference (PDC 2020)

Te Awa Tupua: Sacred Rivers and Cooperative Urban AI Ecosystems

Nitin Sawhney 2020 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2020)

Cooperative Crisis Response among Emergency Responders & AI Systems

Nitin Sawhney 2019 22nd ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing

Zona Intervenida: Performance as Memory, Transforming Contested Spaces

N. Sawhney 2019 Rethinking Peace: Discourse, Memory, Translation, and Dialogue

Audio Journaling for Self-Reflection and Assessment among Teens in Participatory Media Programs

N. Sawhney, C. Graver, E. Breitkopf 2018 IDC '18: Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children

Mobilizing Collective Urban Actions through MicroActs

Nitin Sawhney, C. de Klerk, S. Malhotra 2015 Civic Media Project

Aago for Mobile Media Narratives Created by Teens

N. Sawhney, A. Dougherty, L. Shim 2013 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '13)

Digital Technologies, Visual Research and the Non-Fiction Image

R. Coover, R. C. Pat Badani, F. Caviezel, Mark Marino, N. Sawhney, W. Uricchio 2012 Advances in Visual Methodology

New Directions in Participatory Video: Emerging Digital Technologies and Practices

A. Dougherty, N. Sawhney 2012 The Handbook of Participatory Video

Voices Beyond Walls: The Role of Digital Storytelling for Empowering Marginalized Youth in Refugee Camps

N. Sawhney 2009 IDC '09: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children

ThinkCycle: Supporting Open Source Collaboration and Sustainable Engineering Design in Education

N. Sawhney, T. Prestero, Y. Maguire, S. Griffith 2008 Engineering Education in Sustainable Development (EESD)

ThinkCycle: Sharing Distributed Design Knowledge for Open Collaborative Design

N. Sawhney, S. Griffith, Y. Maguire, T. Prestero 2002

Everywhere Messaging

C. Schmandt, N. Marmasse, S. Marti, N. Sawhney, Sean Wheeler 2000

Nomadic Radio: Scaleable and Contextual Notification for Wearable Audio Messaging

N. Sawhney, C. Schmandt 1999 CHI '99: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Auditory Context Awareness via Wearable Computing

B. Clarkson, N. Sawhney, A. Pentland 1998

Speaking and Listening on the Run: Design for Wearable Audio Computing

N. Sawhney, C. Schmandt 1998 Second International Symposium on Wearable Computers

Teaching and Learning as Multimedia Authoring

G. D. Abowd, C. G. Atkeson, A. Feinstein, C. Hmelo, R. Kooper, Sue Long, N. Sawhney, M. Tani 1997 Proceedings of the 4th ACM International Conference on Multimedia, MULTIMEDIA 1996

Authoring and Navigating Video in Space and Time

N. Sawhney, D. Balcom, I. Smith 1997

Nomadic Radio: A Spatialized Audio Environment for Wearable Computing

N. Sawhney, C. Schmandt 1997 First International Symposium on Wearable Computers

Dynomite: A Dynamically Organized Ink and Audio Notebook

L. D. Wilcox, B. N. Schilit, N. Sawhney 1997 Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

HyperCafe and the “Hypervideo Engine”

N. Sawhney, D. Balcom 1996

HyperCafe: Narrative and Aesthetic Properties of Hypervideo

N. Sawhney, D. Balcom, I. Smith 1996 Proceedings of the Seventh ACM Conference on Hypertext