Hello! I’m Udayan Tandon, a 3rd Year Ph.D. Student in the Department of Computer Science at University of California, San Diego. I’m advised by Dr. Lilly Irani and am part of the Feminist Labor Lab, Just Transitions Initiative, and The Design Lab. I’m also co-advised by Dr. Kristen Vaccaro. I’m an Institute of Practical Ethics Fellow and a 3C Fellow for the 2021-22 cycle.
In my research, I draw on knowledge and methods from Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Science and Technology Studies, Infrastructure Studies, and Community-Based Research. I’m an ethnographer, organizer, and community-engaged researcher in training. I believe that if HCI and computing have to achieve its goals of ethics, justice, inclusivity, and equity then we need to take political agency and community power building seriously. Most of my current work, research, and teaching capacities are in service of that. I work in collaboration with United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD), an immigrant-led taxi worker advocacy organization, to create an alternative platform for dignified driving work. My work here is not to design or build, per se, but rather to co-investigate with UTWSD the possible configurations of socio-technical infrastructures that are accountable to drivers and the broader communities who are typically excluded from technological visions. In my writing and presentation of this work, I develop a thick-description and put it in conversation with literature from Participatory Design, Design Justice, Real Utopias, and more to analyze the political economy of community-driven technology development and discuss strategies and pathways forward. I also draw on my past experiences as a computer scientist, and software developer throughout.
I completed my Bachelors of Technology (B. Tech.) in Computer Science from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology. I was a Research Fellow for 2 years at Microsoft Research India in the Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) team (now called Technology and Empowerment). At TEM, I worked with Dr. Jacki O’Neill and Apurv Mehra and others on developing a platform for financial inclusion. Before that, for a while, I was a core maintainer of an open-source software community called coala.