Designing to Empower Marginalized Communities through Social Technology

Speaker: Alexandra To , Northeastern University

Date: Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Time: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Public: Yes


Event Type: Seminar

Room Description:

Host: Arvind Satyanarayan, CSAIL MIT

Contact: Cynthia Rosenthal,

Relevant URL:

Speaker URL:

Speaker Photo:
Alexandra to

Reminders to:,,

Reminder Subject: TALK: HCI Webinar - Designing to Empower Marginalized Communities through Social Technology

Technology frequently marginalizes people from underrepresented and vulnerable groups; more and more, we’re learning how social media platforms, AI systems, machine learning algorithms, video games, etc., can enact, amplify, or perpetuate discrimination. In this talk, I will share two studies within a project that exemplify the methods I use for gathering personal narratives of marginalization and for developing and evaluating empowering games and social technologies. The CARE (coping after racist experiences) project uses interactive narrative to study how people experience, cope with, and seek support for interpersonal racism such as racist microaggressions. I will share participatory design work that brings people from marginalized backgrounds to the table in designing for a more empowered future as well as provotypes (provocative prototypes) resulting from that design work. I will end by proposing several promising avenues for future work that extends my work adapting critical race theory to HCI and games research.

Alexandra To is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University jointly appointed in the Art + Design (Games) department in the College of Art, Media, and Design and the Khoury College of Computer Science. Her core research interests are in studying and designing social technologies to empower people in marginalized contexts. She uses qualitative methods to gather counterstories and participatory methods to design for the future. Alexandra is a racial justice activist, a critical race scholar, and game designer. She received her PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University. She previously received a B.S. and M.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University with a focus on HCI and a minor in Asian American Studies. She has received multiple ACM Best Paper awards and published at CHI, UIST, CSCW, CHI Play, ToDiGRA, and DIS.

Research Areas:

Impact Areas:

See other events that are part of the HCI Seminar Series 2021.

Created by Cynthia Rosenthal Email at Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 1:00 PM.