ESPMI’s own Negin Dahya – New digital youth assistant professor is passionate about addressing social inequities

Congratulations to our very own Negin Dahya on her recent position as Assistant Professor at the Information School, University of Washington. She is getting featured already!


“When Vancouver. B.C. native and new iSchool Assistant Professor Negin Dahya wrapped up her undergrad degree in psychology and English lit at the University of British Columbia in 2005, she wasn’t sure what direction she wanted to go with her career. So she took time off to travel to Brazil, where she volunteered facilitating arts-based education with young people in local urban slums or favelas. While there, she was struck by the way popular media—like American TV shows dubbed in Portuguese and watched in many households—influenced the way local community members, especially young people, perceived or understood North American culture.

“I was also frustrated by how much intensive on-the-ground work was underway, and the continued challenges of fighting the structural issues related to lack of social security, healthcare and education for these young people, as these would not change unless larger and governing social and economic structures changed. It was an important moment for me,” Dahya said. “When I finished my work there I wanted to do something to get more power to implement change.”

That something was going back to school at Toronto’s York University, where Dahya earned a Masters in Education and a PhD. In English Literature and Psychology, focusing her work on digital media technologies, as well as gender and ethno-racial difference related to social justice issues.

“I think new technologies offer unique opportunities to address inequities. However, it’s complicated and nuanced. Things won’t necessarily change if you just give someone a mobile phone or a computer or access to the Internet. But by asking questions about who uses technology, and who makes and designs technology, we as people and communities can contribute to creating more equitable social conditions.”