5 Questions With Babak A. Farshchian

Who are the people behind ECSCW 2023? In this series of blogs, we ask our organizing committee some really personal questions. In this post, we talk to Babak who is one of the general chairs of the conference.

1. When and where was your first ECSCW conference?  

I attended ACM CSCW in 1998 when I was a PhD student. We organized a workshop about groupware for user participation in product development. I also attended Group 1997 and COOP 2000. But as far as I remember my first ECSCW conference was actually in 2019 in Salzburg!

2. What sparked your interest in your field of study? 

Initially, my research was design-focused and we worked on designing new services and products in the telecom company I was working. In recent years my interests changed towards qualitative practice-centered research. I think one reason was that I changed jobs from a telecom company to a research institute, and started to work a lot with practitioners in healthcare who wanted to implement digital technologies into their practices. At the same time I also started teaching an empirical research methods course at NTNU that I still teach. Doing research on digitalization practices and how these practices unfold is the topic that interests me a lot these days!

3. What was the last book you read and how did it affect you?

The last non-academic book I read was Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck. This is a book about a retired professor (!) who becomes friends with a group of African refugees in Berlin who are having a political campaign and because of this campaign sleep outside in tents in the middle of Berlin. This is a book I enjoyed a lot maybe because I am both a professor and an immigrant/ex-refugee! But I think it was interesting because it is a book that challenges our media-created views and opinions about refugees.

4. Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies? 

I admit, I am a camera collector and currently own around 40 cameras! My oldest camera is a Leica from 1937. I collect and use these cameras to take photos on actual old-fashioned film. I started this hobby because I own a dog and I have to go for long walks with him. In order to reduce my boredom during these walks (which always happen around our home) I started taking cameras with me.

5. If you weren’t an academic, what career do you think you would have pursued? 

I would have probably been a teacher. The best part of my current job is to work with students. Or maybe a journalist….