I earned my PhD in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, USA in 2012, where I was based at Virginia Tech Center of Human-Computer Interaction. I then returned to Egypt, and I am currently an Associate Research Professor at the City for Scientific Research and Technology Applications (SRTA-City). I was a post-doc in Open Lab, Newcastle University, UK (March 2015 – March 2016). My research interests include participatory design, cross-cultural collaborations, post-colonial computing, and decolonizing HCI. My previous projects included designing low-cost education, mobile health technologies, and heritage documentation technologies for marginalized populations in Egypt.
My efforts to establish a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research program in Egypt were challenged by the fact that HCI is not institutionalised in academic programs. Colleagues in Arab and African countries, where Egypt culturally and geographically belongs, were facing similar hurdles. That has led me to realise two issues that shaped my HCI scholarship and contributions. First, capacity building in my local and regional contexts is a necessity. Second, a knowledge gap exists because HCI methods and practices used to design globalized technologies, used by 68 Arab and African countries, are created primarily via Western lenses. Such gap is well-recognized by HCI scholars as underlined in Dourish and Mainwaring article “Ubicomp’s Colonial Impulse”. It would be addressed, I argue, by establishing a local HCI scholarship and an inter-cultural dialogue with the global HCI community. I saw the two issues as inseparable.
Since 2013, I designed and conducted HCI schools training 137 students. Using an action research, reflective approach, challenges related to training local designers were identified and published in 4 peer-reviewed venues. In 2016, I co-founded ArabHCI, an initiative aims at promoting HCI research and education in Arab countries. ArabHCI workshops resulted in 46 position papers by Arab and non-Arab researchers addressing the nuances of working in the Arab context. In 2018, I co-facilitated with ACM fellow and SIGCHI VP at large Dr Susan Dray a SIGCHI meeting for the Arab countries that contributed to SIGCHI decisions to reduce its membership fees for developing countries, and initiating an early career mentorship program. Furthermore, I contributed to the existing African HCI community (AfriCHI) by co-organizing workshops, panels and HCI training schools.
Contact me: shlazem at acm dot org
Why I love HCI?
I love HCI because I get to critically examine complex problems, integrates a holistic approach to design human-centered technologies, integrate knowledge from diverse disciplines/ backgrounds.
I love travelling, learning about cultures, and linking different cultures as well. So far I experienced and enjoyed living in Egypt, US, and UK.