Listen Closely with Wide.Open.Ears
An engaging and informative podcast that brings forward lessons and experiences from people involved in HCI-related research in South Asia
We are an assortment of enthusiastic designers and researchers who come from HCI and Design backgrounds. Our learning journey in the Human-Centered Design (HCD) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) spaces has been a criss-cross of multiple paths ranging from formal classroom education to self-learning and from hands-on experience in the field to the mindful practice of reflective writing. And along the way, myriad tools and forums have aided us in honing our skills, and challenged our thoughts and practices.
‘WideOpenEars’: The Inception
The idea of making a podcast was not our first thought. Our main objective was to learn from researchers’ journeys, their experiences, methods, and thoughts through the different phases of their practice — and podcasts were one among the many learning opportunities.
We listened to many podcasts, but found that there were barely any that explored the diversity in HCI and design practices from the South Asian HCI community. We felt that this unconventional and diverse knowledge needed to be brought out into the larger HCI community to diversify the community’s knowledge and dimensions of practice and perception.
The variety across HCI-related research and practices in South Asia is entwined with the diversity in the region’s languages, cultures, religions, and methods of adoption of technology. Summarizing all of these in a single lesson is a challenging task. This is where having a dialogue with practising researchers can be valuable. Their stories can enrich the listener’s understanding of the work in this field in an engaging way.
This led us to start our podcast series — WideOpenEars.
WideOpenEars: Goals and Objectives
With this podcast series, we bring forward the HCI activities happening in the South Asian region to a larger audience, including anyone from the experts to the new aspirants in the field, but not exclusive to them. We also aim to give the researchers engaged in HCI-related activities in these regions a platform to disseminate their experiences and findings to a broader audience.
The podcasts will serve as a medium to provide:
- intellectual nourishment from the different perspectives presented,
- a glimpse of the action in the field and the physical, emotional and mental churning behind the scenes, and
- an illustration of the impact and significance of the activities and studies conducted.
Furthermore, the sessions’ aggregated insights can become useful tips for the HCI4SouthAsia community for topics such as research practices and conduct when interacting with different communities, building a master-apprenticeship model, ethical dilemmas like whose voices need more prominence, and much more.
For example, in our first podcast episode on participatory research, Neha Khandelwal talks about her experience with participatory research and the challenges of working as an outsider in a marginalised community. She recommends letting the research session be guided by the participants and their responses, and reveals how this process helps in building trust with the community and the participants, which ultimately results in drawing better insights from them. Neha says her primary learning through her participatory design practice was to keep her thoughts and opinions aside and focus on keeping her Ears Wide Open.
In another episode, Dr Naveen Bagalkot talks about the value of participatory research in the field of Machine Learning. He says that the community has to have a stake in the production and the use of any new kind of technology. He proposes that designers and researchers should enable the community to be able to re-imagine the possibilities of applications of Machine Learning. He firmly believes that this approach will open up new ways of looking at participatory research and speculative design practices for defining new tools and applications in any domain.
The South Asian region consists of 8 culturally vibrant and diverse nations: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. We want to bring forward many more HCI stories from these nations through the designers, researchers, and communities working in this region. We hope to extend ‘WideOpenEars’ to different platforms such as Spotify, Overcast, Castbox, Suno India, Awaz and others, increasing the podcast’s reach. In the future, we would like to support our podcast in more local and regional languages, apart from English. By hosting and making the sessions available in multiple languages, we want the series to also reconnect with the local communities represented by the speakers in these sessions.
If you are an HCI researcher or practitioner working in the South Asia region, or would like to refer any peers working in the region, or are simply interested to join us in this SIGCHI-funded endeavour, write to us at <HCI4SouthAsia@gmail.com> with the subject line including ‘WideOpenEars’.
We welcome any suggestions for enhancing the quality,richness, and reach of our podcast.
Anushri Ghode is a partner and design researcher at theUXWhale, India. Her interest lies in healthcare, education. Her work explores human-computer interaction design, participatory design, and critical making for and with the community.
Manjiri Godbole is a design lead at Digital Impact Square (DISQ), A Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Foundation Initiative. Her work explores the meaning of surveillance on society through speculative design.
Pranjal Jain is a co-founder of a design research studio, theUXWhale. His work explores the intersection of ethical data practices and speculative design in designing privacy-decision interfaces.
Prashansa Rakesh is a partner and design researcher at theUXWhale, India. Her work explores the IT repair industry and designing for futures as imagined by the repair community.
Reach out to us at email@example.com
*ACM SIGCHI-sponsored initiative