ISDT Faculty Bios and Lecture Titles

Click on the topic for a synopsis of the faculty member's lecture.

Sunil Abraham

Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore

Topic: Legal and Technical Control and Resistance on the Internet

imageSunil Abraham is the Director of Policy at the Centre for Internet and Society based in Bangalore. The Centre for Internet and Society aims to critically engage with concerns of digital pluralism, public accountability and pedagogic practices, in the field of Internet and Society, with particular emphasis on South-South dialogues and exchange. Sunil is a social entrepreneur and Free Software advocate. He founded Mahiti in 1998 which aims to reduce the cost and complexity of Information and Communication Technology for the Voluntary Sector by using Free Software. He was elected an Ashoka fellow in 1999 to ‘explore the democratic potential of the Internet’. He was granted a Sarai FLOSS fellow in 2003. Between June 2004 and June 2007, Sunil also managed the International Open Source Network a project of United Nations Development Programme’s Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme serving 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ademar Aguiar (associate faculty)

University of Porto

Ademar Aguiar is a Professor at Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto (FEUP) and does Research & Development at INESC Porto.

He has over 20 years of experience on software development and has specialized on software design and architecture, namely application frameworks and software patterns, agile processes, and software documentation, topics about which he has authored research papers and presented courses to academic and industrial audiences.

He holds a PhD from FEUP addressing the topic of documenting complex software systems using a collaborative approach supported on wikis.

He acts regularly as a reviewer in journals and conferences, and has co-organized workshops and tutorials at conferences such as WikiSym, ICSE, PLoP, and EuroPLoP. Ademar served as conference chair for WikiSym 2008, PLoP 2007, and was program chair for PLoP 2008. He is a board member of Hillside Group, and a member of WikiSym steering committee.

Currently, his main research interests are on wiki-based tools and open-collaboration systems to support agile software development, agile documentation, and collaborative environments for software engineering.

Beyond the field of software engineering, Ademar is also exploring and applying social software to other fields, being music information systems, and collaborative and social systems for elementary schools and education (up to 12 years old students), the two most important presently.

Patricia Aufderheide

School of Communication, American University, Washington, D.C.

Topic: Copyright and Citizenship

imagePatricia Aufderheide is a professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C., and the director of the Center for Social Media there. She is the author of, among others, Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007), The Daily Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2000), and of Communications Policy in the Public Interest (Guilford Press, 1999). She has been a Fulbright and John Simon Guggenheim fellow and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival among others. She has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including career achievement awards in 2006 from the International Documentary Association and in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association. Aufderheide serves on the board of directors of Kartemquin Films, a leading independent social documentary production company, and and on the editorial boards of a variety of publications, including Communication Law and Policy and In These Times newspaper. She has served on the board of directors of the Independent Television Service, which produces innovative television programming for underserved audiences under the umbrella of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and on the film advisory board of the National Gallery of Art. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota.

Rui Barros


Topic: Technology Issues and Small Municipalities

Project Leader at INESC Porto in the Information and Communication Unit, since 1996.
Researcher in Informatics advanced technologies at INESC Porto, since 1995.

Warigia Bowman

University of Mississippi

Topic: Challenges to and Opportunities for Information Technology in East Africa

imageWarigia Bowman earned her doctorate in public policy from Harvard University in May 2009.  Bowman has significant work experience in the public sector at the federal, state and local level in the United States. She also has experience in African NGOs and academic institutions. She has worked in a number of U.S. federal agencies, including the United States Department of Labor and the United States Department of Energy. She served at the United States Department of Justice as an honors trial attorney in the Environment Division under Janet Reno and Lois Schiffer during the Clinton Administration. Ms. Bowman has acted as a freelance research consultant for the African Technology Policy Network (ATPS) and the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) since 2004.

Rupert Daniel (Associate faculty)

Black South West Network

imageRupert Daniel is the Regional Programme Director for Black South West Network (BSWN), an NGO focused on human rights, equality, access to knowledge and socio-economic inclusion within the framework of advocating on behalf of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

Rupert has over twenty years experience working within the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in the UK in a variety of capacities ranging from communications to implementing regional social development programmes.  In his role as Regional Programme Director Rupert has led the implementation of Black Net Solutions, an online infrastucture support service for the VCS. He has supported the development of management systems for the modernisation of the third sector and has been involved in lobbying for the introduction of equality measures within local and regional government.

Rupert is a founding member of the new national infrastructure voice for the BME Third Sector, Voice4Change, and he is the Vice Chair of the South West Regional Race Forum.

Fiorella De Cendio

University of Milano

Topic: Facilitating Participation and Deliberation at the Urban Level

imageGraduated “summa cum laude” in Physics in 1976, since 1988 is associate professor at the Dept. of Informatics and Communication, Univ. of Milano, where, after teaching for many years Programming Languages, she now teaches of Distributed Systems Foundations and Virtual Communities. Her research is twofold. On the one hand, it concerns languages and methods for the analysis, the design and the implementation of distributed systems, giving special attention to user involvement in the system development process (participatory design). On the other one, her research concerns the design and implementations of social interactive computer systems as well as their deployment in real life settings. In 1994, she promoted the Civic Informatics Laboratory (LIC), for which she is since then responsible, and, in this role, set up the Milano Community Network (RCM), which is now a Participatory Foundation. She also promoted the Association for Informatics and Civic Networking of Lombardy (A.I.Re.C.) which groups the Community Networks in the Lombardy Region. Fiorella De Cindio is now President of both. In December 2001 she got the Ambrogino d’Oro, the civic top-most award assigned to Milan Municipality to citizens who have contribute to the city development.

Martha Fuentes-Bautista

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Topic: Access Cultures and the Construction of Networked Citizenship in the American Technopolis

imageMartha Fuentes-Bautista is assistant professor of the Department of Communication and the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research explores current trends in social stratification of information and communication technologies, and the role of municipalities, non-profits and social movements in digital inclusion efforts in the U.S. and Latin America. Her recent work examines patterns of deployment and use of mobile broadband services in public spaces, and how the politics and culture of media advocacy organizations and the local government shape communication policies and practices of public computing networks. She is currently engaged in an evaluation of the impacts of the digital transition on community access channels.

Lisa Nakamura (Associate faculty)

University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

imageLisa Nakamura is the Director of the Asian American Studies Program, Professor in the Institute of Communication Research and Media Studies Program and Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.  She is the author of Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity and Identity on the Internet (Routledge, 2002) and co-editor of Race in Cyberspace (Routledge, 2000).  She has published articles in Critical Studies in Media Communication, PMLA, Cinema Journal, The Women’s Review of Books, Camera Obscura, and the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies. She is editing a collection with Peter Chow-White entitled Digital Race: An Anthology (Routledge, forthcoming) and is working on a new monograph on social inequality in virtual worlds.  Her research focuses on race and gender in online social spaces such as Massively Multiplayer Online Role playing games, and she is currently investigating the racializaton of labor in transnational contexts and avatarial operations in a “postracial” world.

Tanya Notley

Tactical Technology Collective, London, UK

Topic: Data Visualisation

imageTanya Notley is the Skills Building Project Leader at Tactical Technology Collective ( Her position involves supporting a number of Tactical Technology’s mobile and advocacy initiatives as well as monitoring and evaluating their impact. Tanya has more than 10 years of experience working with research institutes, international development agencies and community-based organisations in Australia, the UK, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. She has produced training manuals for radio production, digital storytelling and participatory research methods and has delivered many workshops in these areas. In 2008 Tanya completed her PhD with the Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation (ici) at Queensland University of Technology. Her PhD thesis examines the different ways young people in Australia are using online networks to participate in society.

Tapan Parikh

University of California at Berkeley

Topic: Sustainable Economic Development and Information Systems

imageTapan Parikh is an assistant professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information.  Tapan’s research interests include human-computer interaction (HCI), user interfaces for semi-literate users, mobile computing and information systems for microfinance, smallholder agriculture and global health.  He holds a Sc.B. degree in Molecular Modeling with Honors from Brown University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Washington. Tapan was also named Technology Review magazine’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2007, for his work bringing accessible mobile services to microfinance groups in rural India.

Tiago Peixoto

European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Topic: Participatory Budgeting

imageTiago Peixoto is a PhD researcher at the European University Institute in Florence (EUI). His main research interests are related to identifying factors that contribute to successful policies aiming at reinforcing political participation, such as the role of institutions in participatory engineering or the use of Information and Communication Technologies on democratic processes (e-democracy). He has been involved in pioneering work concerning Participatory Budgeting and on e-democracy experiences at the local level funded by the European Commission. He has worked as a consultant on governance policies for different international organisations such as the World Bank and the OECD.  Among other publications, he is author of the World Bank / OECD joint publication “Beyond Public Scrutiny: A Stocktaking of Social Accountability Initiatives in OECD Countries”. He holds a Masters in Organized Collective Action (Sciences-Po, Paris) and in Political and Social Sciences (EUI). He is also a research associate of the Electronic Democracy Centre, a joint venture between the EUI, the University of Zurich and the Oxford Internet Institute.

Alison Powell

Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford, UK

Topic: The Future of the Internet from the Bottom Up

imageAlison completed a PhD in Communication Studies at Concordia University in 2008 and now holds a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Oxford Internet Institute. Her work focuses on the social and political implications of different forms of networked communication, including the internet and mobile devices. In particular, she explores how innovations such as local networking projects influence policy discourses, and what these discussions imply for the governance and regulation of future communications systems. Her PhD thesis studied the outcomes of the community WiFi phenomenon in the United States and Canada. Her current work concentrates on how grassroots technology projects and processes of “peer production” transform the technical and policy structures of the internet. Alison also works as a consultant on public interest communication projects. She is committed to conducting empirical social research that helps to develop communication and information policy for the public good.

Nicholas Reville

Participatory Culture Foundation

Topic: Social Change Infrastructure: Building values into the way our world works

imageNicholas Reville is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Participatory Culture Foundation, creators of the popular open-source Miro video distribution tool and player. Nicholas has lead several other online organizing campaigns and projects around media reform, politics, copyright, and open-source.

Scott S. Robinson

Universidad Metropolitana, Iztapalapa campus, Mexico City

Topic: From Telecenters to Cybercafes

imageScott S. Robinson received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Cornell University, and he currently teaches in the Anthropology Department at the Universidad Metropolitana, Iztapalapa campus, in Mexico DF. He has published on topics including the adaptation of information and communications technology to rural producers and communities in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America; ethnography of the villages at the edge of Mexico DF; and issues in visual anthropology. Since 1969 he has produced and directed film and video documentaries about a variety of topics in Mexico, elsewhere in Latin America, and the Philippines. Most recently, he has been a co-participant in the design of a binational health insurance program for Mexican migrants in the U.S, a project funded in two phases by the Ford Foundation.

Jorge Martins Rosa

Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Topic: Flow: Understanding the Latest Trend of Social Networking

imageJorge Martins Rosa is Assistant Invited Professor of Communication Sciences at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal where he teaches several courses including the post-graduate seminars «Fictional Modes: Fiction and Technology» and «Cyberculture». His research interests involve the connections between literature, science, and digital culture.

Christian Sandvig

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Topic: Networked Television Beyond Television Networks: The Policy Problems of Internet Video Distribution

imageChristian Sandvig is Associate Professor in Communication, Media Studies, and at the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He is also currently (2009-10) a Berkman Faculty Fellow at Harvard University and a visiting scholar at MIT.  Sandvig’s research investigates the public policy problems of new communication infrastructures.  His current research focuses on wireless Internet infrastructure.

Sandvig previously served as Markle Foundation Information Policy Fellow at Oxford University.  In 2002 he was named a “next-generation leader in technology policy” in a junior faculty competition organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2006 he received the Faculty Early Career Development Award from the US National Science Foundation (NSF CAREER) in the area of Human-Centered Computing. His research has also been funded by the Social Science Research Council, the European Commission, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), and others.  Sandvig is a computer programmer with industry experience consulting for a Fortune 500 company, a regional government, and a San Francisco Bay Area software start-up company (now bankrupt).  He received the Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford University in 2002.

Doug Schuler

Public Sphere Project, Evergreen State College, Seattle, WA

Topic: Reinventing Social Thought and Action with Civic Intelligence

imageTrained in computer science and software engineering, Douglas Schuler has been working on the borderlines of society and technology for over 20 years. He has written and co-edited several books, including New Community Networks: Wired for Change (Addison-Wesley, 1996; also, most recently Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution (MIT Press, 2008), a civic intelligence undertaking with 85 contributors. He was a founder of the Seattle Community Network, an early, free public-access computer network and the Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing symposium series sponsored by Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Formerly an AI Researcher at Boeing Computer Services, Doug has been teaching at The Evergreen State College, a non-traditional liberal arts college in Washington State, since 1996.

Leslie Regan Shade

Concordia University, Quebec, Canada

Topic: Public Interest Activism in Canadian ICT Policy: Blowin’ in the Policy Winds

imageLeslie Regan Shade is an Associate Professor at Concordia University in the Department of Communication Studies. Her research focus since the mid-1990s has been on the social, policy, and ethical aspects of information and communication technologies (ICTs), with particular concerns towards issues of gender, globalization, and political economy. The research contributions straddle the line between academic and non-academic audiences, including policymakers and non-profit groups. She is the author of Gender and Community in the Social Construction of the Internet (Peter Lang, 2002), and co-editor of Feminist Interventions in International Communication (with Katharine Sarikakis, Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), two volumes in Communications in the Public Interest (edited with Marita Moll, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) and with Moll, For Sale to the Highest Bidder: Telecom Policy in Canada (CCPA, 2008). Articles have also appeared in Continuum, The Gazette, Canadian Journal of Communication, and Government Information Quarterly. She has a PhD degree from McGill University and MLIS from UCLA and a BA in Communications-Visual Arts from UCSD. For more information see

Micah Sifry

Personal Democracy Forum,

Topic: The Useful Myth of the Obama Campaign

imageMicah L. Sifry is co-founder and editor of the Personal Democracy Forum, a website and annual conference that covers the ways technology is changing politics and , an award-winning group blog on how the American presidential candidates are using the web and how the web is using them. In addition to organizing the annual Personal Democracy Forum conference with his partner Andrew Rasiej, he consults on how political organizations, campaigns, non-profits and media entities can adapt to and thrive in a networked world. In that capacity, he has been a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation since its founding in 2006. He and Rasiej also write the “Politics 2.0” column for Politico.

From 1997-2006, he worked closely with Public Campaign, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on comprehensive campaign finance reform, as its senior analyst. Prior to that, Sifry was an editor and writer with The Nation magazine for thirteen years. He is the co-author with Nancy Watzman of Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? Washington on $2 Million a Day (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (Routledge, 2002) and co-edited The Iraq War Reader (Touchstone, 2003) and The Gulf War Reader (Times Books, 1991). In June, his latest book, Rebooting America, an anthology of writing on how the Internet and new technology can be used to reinvent American democracy, co-edited with Allison Fine, Andrew Rasiej and Josh Levy, was published. (It’s available online for free download at He is also an adjunct professor at the Political Science Department of the City University of New York/Graduate Center, where he teaches a course called “Writing Politics.” His personal blog is at

María de la Paz Silva Contreras (Associate faculty)

Vinculart AC, Mexico City, Mexico

imageMaría de la Paz Silva Contreras graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and is director of Vinculart AC, a non-profit organization founded in 2000 working on projects that are focused on human development, social, cultural, educational and economic status in rural populations of Mexico. Her areas of interest include the incorporation of new digital ICTs into the local development process in the global South, community telecenters, and community radio stations’ use of emerging digital technologies in Mexico.

Laura Stein

University of Texas at Austin

Topic: Social Movement Communication

imageLaura Stein is an Assistant Professor in the Radio-Television-Film Department at the University of Texas at Austin. She researches and writes about communication law and policy, political communication, and alternative and public media. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals and books, including Communication Law and Policy, Media, Culture & Society, Javnost/The Public, Peace Review, the Handbook of New Media, Community Media in the Information Age, and Radical Media. She is currently working on an edited collection, titled Making Our Media: Global Initiatives Toward a Democratic Public Sphere, about grassroots attempts to transform the policy and practice of information and communication media around the world. She has a M.A. in Education from Columbia University, a Ph.D. in Communication from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Siva Vaidhyanathan

Media Studies and Law, University of Virginia

Topic: The Googlization of Everything

imageSiva Vaidhyanathan, a cultural historian and media scholar, is the author of the forthcoming book, The Googlization of Everything (University of California Press, 2010). He is also the author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity (New York University Press, 2001) and The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System (Basic Books, 2004). He co-edited (with Carolyn de la Pena) collection, Rewiring the Nation: The Place of Technology in American Studies (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). Vaidhyanathan has written for many periodicals, including American Scholar, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times Magazine, MSNBC.COM,,, Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation. After five years as a professional journalist, Vaidhyanathan earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at Wesleyan University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison , Columbia University, New York University, and now is an associate professor of Media Studies and Law at the University of Virginia and a fellow at both the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Institute for the Future of the Book. He lives in Charlottesville, VA.

Katrin Verclas

Topic: Mobile Phones and Social Development

imageKatrin Verclas is the co-Founder and editor of, and a recognized expert in mobile communications for social impact. She is the co-founder and editor of, a global network of practitioners using mobile phones for social impact. She is also a principal at Calder Strategies, focusing on mobile strategy, impact evaluation, effectiveness and ROI assessment, and interactive capacity building.

Katrin has written widely on communication strategies and new media in citizen participation and civil society organizations, and for development. She is a co-author of Wireless Technology for Social Change, a report on trends in mobile use by NGOs with the UN Foundation and Vodafone Group Foundation.  She is a frequent speaker on communications and ITCs in civil society at national and international conferences, and has published numerous articles and publications on technology for social change in leading popular and industry publications.