In the Eye of the Student: “An Intangible Cultural Heritage Experience, with a Human-Computer Interaction Twist”

We critically engage with CHI communities emerging outside the global North (ArabHCI and AfriCHI) to explore how participation is configured and enacted within socio-cultural and political contexts fundamentally different from Western societies. We contribute to recent discussions about postcolonialism and decolonization of HCI by focusing on non-Western future technology designers. Our lens was a course designed to engage Egyptian students with a local yet culturally-distant community to design applications for documenting intangible heritage. Through an action research, the instructors reflect on selected students’ activities. Despite deploying a flexible learning curriculum that encourages greater autonomy, the students perceived themselves with less agency than other institutional stakeholders involved in the project. Further, some of them struggled to empathize with the community as the impact of the cultural differences on configuring participation was profound. We discuss the implications of the findings on HCI education and in international cross-cultural design projects. Watch on YouTube or Read:  In the Eye of the Student: “An Intangible Cultural Heritage Experience, with a Human-Computer Interaction Twist”