Integrating Faith, Religion, and Spirituality in HCI

The ACM CHI Conference On Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2022)

Web exclusive: April 13, 2022. (Virtual)

Hybrid onsite: April 30, 2022.

New Orleans, LA, USA.


HCI scholarship has not yet fully engaged with faith, religion, and spirituality, even though billions of people around the world are associated with such traditions and belief systems. While a few papers and workshops at CHI have focused on particular religions, broader discussions around religion, interfaith relationships, and computing have been absent from mainstream HCI design concerns. In this workshop, we propose to bring together HCI scholars and practitioners, whose work is associated with various faiths, religions, and spiritual practices to start this important conversation, with a focus on three questions: (a) does secularization in computing marginalize faith-based values? and if so, how? (b) how can HCI design address the unique needs and values of faith-based communities? and (c) how can scholarship and practice in HCI benefit from the integration of faith, religion, and spirituality? We hope to form an HCI community of scholars and practitioners focused on the intersection of faith/spirituality/religion and computing.


Despite the prominence of religion, faith, and spirituality in people’s lives worldwide, HCI thus far has engaged with these only marginally. In this interactive workshop, we will reexamine what faith, religion, and spirituality could provide to more meaningful ways to engage (or not) with technology. Participants, in thematic clusters, will create a collective vision for future HCI research domains that will essentially integrate faith/spirituality in design conversations.

We invite researchers and practitioners interested in the intersection of faith and technology to submit position papers under the following themes:

  • Secularization and Computing: How secularization in computing marginalizes, misfits, or conflicts with faith-based values?

  • Designing for Faith-based Communities: How can HCI design address the unique needs and values of faith-based communities?

  • Integrating Faith/Spirituality in HCI Domains: How can scholarship and practice in HCI benefit through the integration of faith, religion, and spirituality?

Important Dates:

  • First round submission deadline: January 31, 2022.

  • First round decision notification: February 11, 2022

We will invite a subset of papers from the first round to submit to a special issue of ACM Interactions.

  • Final round submission deadline: March 18, 2022

  • Final round decision notification: March 24, 2022

Submission Details:

Suggested Formatting:

WORKSHOP schedule

All times are in New Orleans, LA local time.

Virtual program - April 13, 2022

9 AM - 9:05 AM: Welcome and Introduction

9:05 AM - 10:00 AM: Opening keynote

Speaker: Rumee Ahmed, The University of British Columbia

Topic: The Secular Human in Human-Computer Interaction

10:00 AM -10:20 AM: Break

10:20 AM -10:50 AM: One minute talks

10:50 AM - 11:10 AM: Break (prompt question: How do you define “evil”?)

11:10 AM - 12:10 PM: Parallel breakout groups by religion (e.g., Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, atheist, etc.)

Prompt questions: What specific issues might religion X raise for HCI research? What kind of HCI research might religion X inspire?

12:10 PM -1:00 PM: Lunch / optional interaction

Prompt Questions: What do you believe happens after we die? What led you to believe that? What implications does your belief have on how you behave in this life?

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Parallel breakout groups by cross-cutting topic (e.g,. death, gender, etc.)

Prompt questions: In what ways does religion impact topic Y, and how does that interact with HCI?

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM: Break

Prompt questions: What got you interested in academic research? What got you interested in HCI?

2:20 PM - 3:00 PM: Report out of breakout groups

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Panel. Panelist: Elizabeth Buie, Jessica Hammer, Kentaro Toyama, Joyojeet Pal, and Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed.

Hybrid program - April 30, 2022

Room # 292

9:00 AM- 9:05 AM: Introduction

9:05 AM - 10:20 AM: Closing Keynote

Speaker: Robert Geraci

Topic: Religious Values and the Culture of AI

10:20 AM - 11:00 AM: Break

Optional prompt question: How do you define “evil”?

11:00 AM - 11:40 AM: Parallel breakout groups by research methodology (e.g,. design, ethnography, etc.)

Prompt questions: Are there ways in which methodology X interacts with religion (or a specific religion)? In what ways might HCI need to evolve to take that into account?

11:45 AM - 12:20 PM: Parallel breakout groups by requests of the SIGCHI/research community (e.g,. events, accommodations for religious practices, paper reviewing, etc.)

Prompt questions: In what ways would we want to see the SIGCHI or the general HCI research community change, based on issues raised by religion (or non-religion)?

12:20 PM - 2:00 PM: Lunch

Optional prompt questions: What do you believe happens after we die? What led you to believe that? What implications does your belief have on how you behave in this life?

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM: Draft Outline of the Paper

2:30 PM - 3:20 PM: Writing session 1

3:20 PM - 4:00 PM: Break

Optional prompt questions: Have you ever had an “non-ordinary experience” [e.g., out of body experience, return-from-death experience, experience of oneness with something bigger, precognition, telepathy, etc.]? What was it like?

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Writing session 2

5:00 PM - 5:20 PM: Conclusion

How far did we get on the paper? What do we need to do from here?


Web-exclusive event: We will email the zoom link for joining the event the day before the workshop.

In-person/hybrid event: The details are coming soon.


Mohammad Rashidujjaman Rifat

Rifat is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. His research is at the intersection of HCI, ICTD, and faith. Rifat conducts qualitative studies and computational analysis to explore faith-based values, rationality, and politics; and designs technologies to mitigate faith-based intolerance and make technologies more faith inclusive.

Firaz Peer

Firaz Peer is an Assistant Professor at University of Kentucky’s School of Information Science. He is interested in studying issues of accountability, justice, care, and equity that manifest when building, using, and maintaining algorithmic and data infrastructures for marginalized communities.

Hawra Rabaan

Hawra Rabaan is a Ph.D. Candidate at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), School of Informatics and Computing. Her work lies at the intersection of religion, social work, and HCI, with a focus on exploring socio-technical practices and design for countering domestic violence in non-Western contexts using Islamic feminism and justice theories.

Nusrat Jahan Mim

Nusrat Jahan Mim is a Doctor of Design Candidate at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. Her work draws upon cutting-edge critical literature in Urban Design Politics around Faith and Informalities and addresses the contemporary struggles of marginalized communities within the globalized projects of modernization, urbanization, and digitization.

Maryam Mustafa

Maryam Mustafa is an Assistant Professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. Her areas of research and teaching are HCI and ICT4D. She earned her Ph.D. from the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany. Mustafa’s current area of research focuses on the gendered design of technologies to promote equitable access for women in Pakistan. She has been working to understand design for maternal health, mental health, and connectedness within patriarchal, low-income, low-literate communities in Pakistan.

Kentaro Toyama

Kentaro Toyama is the W. K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information at University of Michigan School of Information; fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT; author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology. He has conducted faith-related research in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and the United States.

Robert B. Markum

Robert Markum is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Michigan, School of Information. His previous work in this area examined the effects of digital technology use on meditative and contemplative practices and transcendent experiences. More broadly, his work is centered on understanding digital existence and human-computer interaction from existential, phenomenological, and ethical perspectives.

Elizabeth Buie

Elizabeth Buie Elizabeth is a Senior User Experience Consultant at Nexer Digital Ltd, a user experience agency in the UK. She completed her Ph.D. in 2018 at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, with a thesis titled ``Exploring Techno-Spirituality: Design Strategies for Transcendent User Experience''. For her Ph.D. she developed a grounded theory of transcendent user experiences and devised a design game and new forms of design fiction to develop and elaborate ideas for technologies aimed at facilitating such experiences. She continues to explore the use of design fiction in this area.

Jessica Hammer

Jessica Hammer is the Thomas and Lydia Moran Associate Professor of Learning Science, jointly appointed in the HCI Institute and the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on three core areas: transformational games, educational technology for project-based learning, and inclusive innovation in design.

Sharifa Sultana

Sharifa Sultana is a Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University, USA and a Facebook Fellow. Her research focuses on the rural Bangladeshi population. She is interested in understanding how religious, spiritual and faith-based practices connect to the wellbeing of people in rural Bangladesh and other similar communities, and how technology plays a role in this.

Samar Sabie

Samar Sabie is a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science at Cornell University, working at the intersection of critical participatory design (CPD) and science and technology studies (STS). Her work investigates the role design as a social and material practice can play in mediating the spatial politics of intercultural, interclass, interfaith, and intergenerational differences in urban contexts.

Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed

Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at University of Toronto. He conducts research in the intersection between Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD). He received his Ph.D. in Information Science from Cornell University in 2017. He established the first HCI research lab in Bangladesh in 2009, and still maintains it. His research work is built around the concept of ‘voice’ that connects various branches of political philosophy to technology intervention. His current research focuses on the politics of faith and justification in computing.

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