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Dr Reem Refaat Talhouk

Assistant Professor

Department: Northumbria School of Design

I joined Northumbria University in 2020 as a Vice Chancellor Research Fellow at the School of Design and Centre for International Development after completing my PhD at Newcastle University. My research draw son multiple design methods to investigate how technologies and design methodologies can be used in humanitarian contexts. I have conducted research in the Middle East, Europe and Australia on the role of technologies in improving refugee and asylum seekers’ health, resilience and security.


I have been awarded the Young Digital Leader of the Year (2020) by Digital Leaders 100 and the Newcastle University Medical Sciences Doctoral Prize (2020) for my PhD Thesis.


I am currently the Participatory Design Conference 2022 International Hubs Co-Chair and I am an active member of the Refugees & Human-Computer Interaction and the HCI4D communities. I am affiliated with the Center for Research on Population and Health at the American University of Beirut.

Reem Refaat Talhouk

Campus Address

City Campus East 2
Room 202
Newcastle upon Tyne

My research interests lie at the intersection of design, innovation and global development. My research questions the interplay between technological designs, humanitarian innovation processes and practices, public health and community resilience in contexts of marginalisation. I am interested in working with humanitarian innovators to understand their practices and work towards integrating novel and pluralistic design methodologies and principles in to humanitarian innovation practices. To that end, I have been working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, TraidCraft Exchange, Global Innovation Gathering, R0g and academics at the American University of Beirut to embark on an exploration of how humanitarian innovation can be done in a socially just manner and in support of socially just outcomes. Additionally, I draw from decolonial theory, intersectional feminism, design justice and social justice when working with displaced communities to innovate in how design is conducted as well as to create new mediums for interaction that increase refugee agency and capabilities. In doing so my research aims to challenge existing marginal ways of being.

I lead on a project that aims to develop an understanding of design justice in contexts of compounded crises. Using Lebanon as a case study, we explored the historical, social, political and economic factors that needs to be accounted for when designing in spaces of competing social justice claims. I am also a co-investigator on a SIGCHI Development Fund grant that aims at enabling design and Human-Computer knowledge exchange with youth and academics in Timor Leste.

I am also highly interested in addressing racial inequalities in Higher Education. I have recently received a Vice Chancellor Diversity Fund Grant to conduct future workshops with students and staff in an effort to reimagine a racially equal university. The research will inform Northumbria University’s RACE Equality policies and processes.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Food Aid Technology: the Experience of a Syrian Refugee Community in Coping with Food Insecurity, Talhouk, R., Coles-Kemp, L., Bjerg Jensen, R., Balaam, M., Garbett, A., Ghattas, H., Araujo-Soares, V., Ahmad, B., Montague, K. 14 Oct 2020, In: Proceedings of the ACM: Human Computer Interaction
  • Towards a conceptual framework for understanding the challenges in refugee re-settlement, Almohamed, A., Talhouk, R., Vyas, D. 14 Jan 2022, In: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
  • Decolonising in, by and through participatory design with political activists in Palestine, Clarke, R., Talhouk, R., Beshtawi, A., Barham, K., Boyle, O., Griffiths, M., Baillie Smith, M. 19 Aug 2022, PDC 2022 Vol. 1: Participatory Design Conference 2022: Volume 1, New York, NY, United States, ACM
  • Dialogues on Decolonial Participatory Design Praxis During a Revolution, Talhouk, R., Armoush, S. 19 Aug 2022, PDC '22, New York, US, ACM
  • Social Agriculture: Examining the Affordances of Social Media for Agricultural Practices, Schoemaker, E., Talhouk, R., Kamanu, C., Mdconaugh, E., Mcdonaugh, C., Casey, E., Wills, A., Richardson, F., Donner, J. Jun 2022, COMPASS '22, New York, US, ACM

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Oral presentation: Data Driven Technologies as Experienced by Syrian Refugees 2019
  • Oral presentation: Community Action to Cope with Food Insecurity in a Syrian Refugee Settlement: A Qualitative Study 2019
  • Invited talk: Digital Civics in Refugee Camps 2016
  • Oral presentation: From Coping to Community Resilience: Considerations for Syrian Refugee Food Security 2019
  • Invited talk: How Mobility Influences Designing Maternal Health Interventions for Refugees 2016
  • Invited talk: Critiques of Humanitarian Innovation and Design as a Counter Narrative 2021


  • PhD May 11 2020
  • Computer Science MRes September 28 2015
  • MPH June 01 2015
  • Nutrition BSc June 01 2014

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