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), ethical 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, participatory media and civic engagement at the MIT Media Lab and The New School. He is currently leading a research project on Reconstructing Crisis Narratives for Trustworthy Communication and Cooperative Agency, supported by a 3-year grant from the Academy of Finland. The project, jointly conducted between Aalto University and THL, proposes to analyze and reconstruct crisis narratives using mixed-methods, combining qualitative research for narrative inquiry with computational data analytics of crisis discourses in news and social media among diverse publics.

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. Prof. Sawhney is a member of the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI) Society and the research program on AI and Society. He has participated in establishing the research area on Digital Ethics, Society and Policy (Digital ESP) at Aalto. His work has been published in journals such as 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.


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  • Professorship Sawhney Nitin, Professor of Practice
  • Computer Science - Human-Computer Interaction and Design (HCID), Professor of Practice
  • Computer Science Professors, Professor of Practice


Augmented reality sandboxes

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

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

Salu Ylirisku, Giyong Jang, Nitin Sawhney 2021 NORDES

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

Civic Engagement through DIY Urbanism and Collective Networked Action

N. Sawhney, C. de Klerk, S. Malhotra 2015 Planning Practice and Research

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 International Journal of Technologies for the Advancement of Knowledge and Learning

Aware Community Portals: Shared Information Appliances for Transitional Spaces

N. Sawhney, Sean Wheeler, C. Schmandt 2001 Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

Nomadic Radio: Speech and Audio Interaction for Contextual Messaging in Nomadic Environments

N. Sawhney, C. Schmandt 2000 ACM Transactions on Computer-Human interaction (TOCHI)

Everywhere Messaging

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

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

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

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

Auditory Context Awareness via Wearable Computing

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

Teaching and Learning as Multimedia Authoring

G. D. Abowd, C. G. Atkeson, A. Feinstein, C. Hmelo, R. Kooper, N. Sawhney, M. Tani, Sue Long 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 IEEE Multimedia

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 SIGWEB Newsletter

HyperCafe: Narrative and Aesthetic Properties of Hypervideo

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