Author Archives: lynndombrowski

Best Paper at DIS 2016!

I am honored to announce that my paper that I co-authored with Ellie Harmon and Sarah Fox titled, “Social Justice-Oriented Interaction Design: Outlining Key Design Strategies and Commitments” has received a Best Paper at DIS 2016! I am really excited about this paper and I hope others in our community enjoy it as well!

Lynn Dombrowski, Ellie Harmon, and Sarah Fox. 2016. Social Justice-Oriented Interaction Design: Outlining Key Design Strategies and Commitments. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 656-671. DOI=

Abstract: In recent years, many HCI designers have begun pursuing research agendas that address large scale social issues. These systemic or “wicked” problems present challenges for design practice due to their scope, scale, complexity, and political nature. In this paper, we develop a social justice orientation to designing for such challenges. We highlight a breadth of design strategies that target the goals of social justice along six dimensions — transformation, recognition, reciprocity, enablement, distribution, and accountability — and elaborate three commitments necessary to developing a social justice oriented design practice — a commitment to conflict, a commitment to reflexivity, and a commitment to personal ethics and politics. Although there are no easy solutions to systemic social issues, a social justice orientation provides one way to foster an engagement with the thorny political issues that are increasingly acknowledged as crucial to a field that is not just about technological possibility, but also about political responsibility.

Congrats to my co-authors!

Honorable Mention Award at CHI 2016!

I am delighted to announce that my co-authored paper, Digital Footprints and Changing Networks During Online Identity Transitions, has received an Honorable Mention Award at CHI 2016.

Haimson, O., Brubaker, J. R., Dombrowski, L., Hayes, G. R. Digital Footprints and Changing Networks During Online Identity Transitions. Proc. CHI 2016. San Jose, CA. May 7-12, 2016.

Abstract: Digital artifacts on social media can challenge individuals during identity transitions, particularly those who prefer to delete, separate from, or hide data that are representative of a past identity. This work investigates concerns and practices reported by transgender people who transitioned while active on Facebook. We analyze open-ended survey responses from 283 participants, highlighting types of data considered problematic when separating oneself from a past identity, and challenges and strategies people engage in when managing personal data in a networked environment. We find that people shape their digital footprints in two ways: by editing the self-presentational data that is representative of a prior identity, and by managing the configuration of people who have access to that self-presentation. We outline the challenging interplay between shifting identities, social networks, and the data that suture them together. We apply these results to a discussion of the complexities of managing and forgetting the digital past.

Congratulations to my co-authors!

Exploring Social Justice, Design, and HCI

I’m pleased to announce that a workshop I am co-organizing, titled “Exploring Social Justice, Design, and HCI” has been accepted to ACM SIGCHI 2016. I’m so excited to work with and co-organize this workshop with so many interesting scholars, including Sarah Fox, Mariam Asad, Katherine Lo, Jill Dimond, and Shaowen Bardzell.

The goal of the workshop is to first and foremost build a community of researchers, practitioners, and organizers around the intersection of technological design and social justice. Specifically, we seek to facilitate the conversations necessary to move beyond “design with good intentions” toward design praxis, or reflection and action directed to transform oppressive structures with and by the dispossessed, marginalized, and oppressed. There are examples of projects that contend with individual systems of oppression—­­however, there is presently no unified community or common understanding of how these research projects and activism can hang together. Moreover, there is a clear need to unpack and provide nuanced understandings of HCI projects that promote “good”.

Second, we strive to build knowledge together. In our experience with social justice related projects, there are particular questions that need a broad range of experiences and perspectives to help answer. For example: “How can researchers balance commitments to research and the particular activist project at hand?” or “How can different principles of social justice inform HCI methods such as decolonization or intersectionality?” In particular, we are interested in building knowledge around design methods, researcher reflexivity, and different epistemic approaches toward design. Just as design is often generative and future looking, so too are social justice endeavors. As the late Grace Lee Boggs, a feminist social activist and philosopher, stated, “…we have the power within us to create ourselves and the world anew”.

Here’s more information about the workshop:

Dissertation Defense Passed!

I passed my dissertation defense!

Here’s a little more information about my dissertation:

Title: “Sociotechnical Food Justice: Examining and designing public interventions for systemic social issues”


In my work, I examine and design public sociotechnical interventions for systemic social issues. I use food insecurity, or a lack of enough food for all household members, as a case of a systemic social issue. Hunger is a major concern that affects millions of Americans. Within the US, government and nonprofit organizations exist that work to alleviate symptoms of hunger and address underlying causes of food insecurity. Despite their efforts, these organizations struggle to meet local food needs. My work explores these efforts and how food inequality is an issue that concerns social justice and interaction design.

I highlight three studies focusing on public sociotechnical interventions to address hunger. First, I examine how hunger-focused nonprofit organizations help their local community members access and use online government applications. I demonstrate that while state-led technological initiatives hold the promise to create additional access to government nutrition programs, actual access and use requires considerable direct assistance by other key stakeholders. Second, I share findings from a study in which I co-designed an inter-organizational location-based information system to help local nonprofit address information goals. Based on this study, I highlight the significance of  inter-organizational politics when designing for collective action among hunger-focused nonprofit organizations. Finally, I held participatory design workshops with urban farmers, hunger-focused nonprofit organizations, and community members to deal with local issues of food insecurity. With these workshops, I examine how different ways of conceptualizing justice impact the design process surrounding public interventions aimed at social issues. I present insights that inform design practice for social-justice oriented design projects. Collectively, this work contributes to larger discussions within human-computer interaction on the strengths and limitations of sociotechnical interventions in addressing systemic social issues.

Also, a heartfelt thank you to my committee: Gillian Hayes, Melissa Mazmanian, Geoffrey Bowker, & Carl DiSalvo!

Future of the Field Community Engagement Award from University of California, Irvine.

I am deeply honored to announce that I received this year’s “Future of the Field” Community Engagement Award from University of California, Irvine.

“This award recognizes one graduate student for exemplary leadership in integrating civic and community engagement into their teaching and learning activities. This individual is clearly committed to building bridges between UCI and local communities. Evidence of this can include a focus on engaged learning as a Teaching Assistant or course instructor, conducting community-based research, or identifying additional means of enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good.” – From Engage UCIFuture of the field award

CSCW 2015 Honorable Mention

Congratulations to my co-authors, Oliver Haimson, Jed Brubaker, and Gillian R. Hayes.

I am please to announce that my co-authored paper, “Disclosure, Stress, and Support During Gender Transition on Facebook” has been awarded an Honorable Mention by the “Best of CSCW” committee. Only 23 papers out of 161 accepted submissions were awarded an Honorable Mention by a dedicated review committee.

Awarded the 2014-2015 Roberta Ellen Lamb Fellowship

I just received news that I have been selected as this year to receive the Roberta Ellen Lamb Endowed Memorial Fellowship in ICS for the 2014-15 academic year! I am deeply honored and pleased to be this year’s recipient.

Information about the Fellowship:

“The Roberta Ellen Lamb Endowed Memorial Fellowship was created to honor the life of Associate Professor of Informatics Roberta Lamb, who passed away in late 2006. Her parents, Mosselle and Bob Pione, funded an endowment to honor Roberta’s life, the body of work she completed, and the important work left unfinished by her untimely death, and also to inspire others to continue the legacy she left behind. With this fellowship, the Pione’s hope that you will be able to continue your research and dissertation.”

Publications accepted for CSCW 2015!

I am pleased to announce that two publications, where I am a co-author, will be presented at CSCW 2015.

Hamison, O., Brubaker, J., Dombrowski, L., & Hayes, G. R., Disclosure, Stress, and Support During Gender Transition on Facebook. To appear in the Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW).

Ringland, K., Wolf, C., Dombrowski, L., & Hayes, G. R., Making “Safe”: Community-Centered Practices in a Virtual World Dedicated to Children with Autism. To appear in the Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW). 

Congrats to my co-authors, and I hope to see you in Vancouver!


Awarded 2014-2015 Newkirk Graduate Student Fellowship

I am pleased and grateful to announce that I have been named a Newkirk Graduate Student Fellow for 2014-2015.

About the Newkirk Graduate Student Fellowship:
The fellowship “support[s] [doctoral] research projects that engage the community with scientific knowledge and research. The Newkirk Center anticipates that the notions of “engagement,” “community,” and “scientific knowledge and research” will vary greatly among successful proposals, but the most successful proposals will be those that take seriously the notion of civic engagement with science and serve the Center’s priority of assisting the community to connect to the development of science intended to serve its needs.”