Balancing Digital Transformation
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I am Akhilesh Kumar Vedam from Chennai, India. In this website, I display my collaborations and works in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) as a user researcher and interaction designer.
Although I was born in Nellore, a city located in the south of the state of Andhra Pradesh in South India, I grew up all my childhood in Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. I completed all my schooling in Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School and finished my high school along the streams of Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.
In 2017, I joined Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka, another state located in southern India. Although I majored in Physics and minored in Applied Mathematics, the course requirements of the overall programme made me conduct qualitative research in Gulbarga, north Karnataka during a field immersion course we had to do. I grew fond of conversing with people and understanding their perspectives and needs and wondered that it wouldn't be a bad idea to revisit researching in the future.
In 2020, when the world went into lockdowns, when the means and methods of activities changed, I reconsidered my personal goals and ambitions. Like everyone else, I too had experienced a shift and relied more on technologies than ever before. My life changed when I received an offer letter from International Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru for a Master's of Science in Digital Society - an interdisciplinary programme between information technology and social science. This programme helped me understand the relationship between technology and the society using theoretical frameworks as well as how to practically apply it in the real world to provide better experiences of technology for the society's users. The courses ranged from Human Computer Interaction to Policy and Regulations in Information Technology. The requirements in these courses trained me to understand the presence of technology and what it means to the different actors in the society while also making me conduct research with different demographic groups and propose inclusive design solutions being accessible to all.
In 2021, I received the Gary Marsden Travel Awards to attend CHI 2021 conference which was happening virtually from Yokohama, Japan from 6th of May till 15th of May. In this conference, I was able to see people from all over the world presenting their work in the field of HCI which really inspired me. The conferences also gave me the opportunity to network. I will always consider this as a turning point in my life towards building a career in this field.
In 2022, I completed a traineeship in the Digital Transformation Intensive Program under Digital Society School, Amsterdam. This traineeship was done by me to fulfill my requirement to do an internship the final semester of my Master's programme. We, a diverse team of five researchers, were actively engaged in tackling the design challenge, Futuring Knowledge Institutions: HvA2030 (more in the projects page) for 20-weeks. We were presented this design challenge as part of the EdTech for Social Change track in Digital Society School. A couple of weeks after completing this project, I received my Master's degree on the 3rd of July.