Lisa Nathan

Hi! I am an Associate Professor at the iSchool, and I teach design-oriented courses related to information practice, information ethics, Indigenous information initiatives, and information policy. From 2010-2018 I served as the Coordinator of the First Nations Curriculum Concentration. I am also a member of UBC’s Designing For People Research Cluster. I hold a PhD from the Information School at the University of Washington, an MLIS from Simmons College, and a BA(Education) from Eckerd College.

I started working in the area of collections related to traumatic events in 2008 when I co-founded the Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal project at the University of Washington. We conducted video interviews with personnel from the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, asking them to share their insights related to the ideals of justice and reconciliation. The focus of this work was the design of an information system that would enable multiple generations to engage with the videos in meaningful ways. If you have questions about what ‘meaningful’ means, you may be interested in my work.

Through the lens of information practices, I work with others to (re)imagine and (re)design dominant ways of managing information to address long-term societal challenges (e.g., environmental adaptation, decolonization, social justice). I work with a range of collaborators as part of the Information Practice Research & Design Collective. Our inter-disciplinary, collaborative scholarship joins discussions in the fields of Design, Human Computer Interaction, Archival Studies and Information Science. Contributions include design methods (e.g., The Envisioning Cards, Value Scenarios), design theory (e.g., Values as Hypothesis, Multi-lifespan Information System Design), and approaches for designing transformative information practices (i.e., using information technologies to support social and ecological justice).


  • Designing information practices
  • Indigenous information initiatives
  • Information ethics
  • Information policy
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Multi-lifespan information systems
  • Sustainability
  • Value sensitive design


  • Hazas, M. & Nathan, L.P. (eds.). (2018). Digital Technology and Sustainability: Engaging the Paradox. Routledge

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Peer Reviewed Conference Papers

  • Nathan, L.P., Kaczmarek, M., castor, m., Cheng, S. and Mann, R. (2017). “Good for Whom?”: Unsettling Research Practices: ACM Affiliated Conference on Communities & Technology (C&T ‘17)
  • Meyers, E.M. and Nathan, L.P. (2016). Impoverished Visions of Sustainability: Encouraging Disruption in Digital Learning Environments. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW ‘16). (222-232) Paper received honorable mention
  • Halbert, H. and Nathan, L.P. (2015). Designing for Discomfort: Supporting Critical Reflection through Interactive Tools. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW ‘15), (349-360).
  • Nathan, L.P., Shaffer, E., Campbell, S., Castor, M. (2015). Collections Of Trauma: Identifying Generative Frictions. Proceedings of the iSchool Conference (iConference ‘15) (9 pages, acceptance rate 58%). Nathan contributed framing and 80% of the writing.


  • Hazas, M. and Nathan, L.P. (2018). Introduction to Digital technology and sustainability: engaging the paradox. In M. Hazmas & L.P. Nathan (Eds.). Digital technology and sustainability: Engaging the paradox. (pp.3-13).
  • Brown, Pam, Carpenter, J., Lawson, G., Lawson, K., Nathan, L.P. and Turin, M. (2017) Uplifting Voices: Indigenous Languages in Canada in the 21st Century. Reflections of Canada: Illuminating our biggest opportunities and challenges at 150 years. Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, Vancouver, Canada
  • Janet Davis and Lisa P. Nathan (2015). Value Sensitive Design: Applications, Adaptations, and Critiques. Handbook of Ethics, Values, and Technological Design, 11–40

Other (Professional Magazines & Reports)

  • Bates, O., Thomas, V., Remy, C., Friday, A., Nathan, L.P., Hazas, M., and Mann, S. (2018). Championing Environmental and Social Justice: Embracing, embedding, and promoting broader notions of sustainability in HCI. ACM interactions, 23(5)
  • Carpenter, J., Guerin, A., Kaczmarek, M., Lawson, G., Lawson, K., Nathan, L. P., and Turin, M. (2016). Digital Access for Language and Culture in First Nations Communities (SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Final Report).
  • Nathan, L.P. (2016). Teaching, Writing and Reflective Practice. Bulletin of the Association for Information Science & Technology, 43(3)
  • Nathan, L.P. & Meyers, E.M. (2016). Enriching Visions of Sustainability. Through Informal Public Pedagogies. ACM interactions, 23(5)

Current Courses

Winter 2020
No LAIS course(s) were found for W2020 term.Winter 2020
No LIBR course(s) were found for W2020 term.
Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (SIG CAS)
Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIG CHI)
Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA) Indigenous Matters Committee
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA): Member (2012-ongoing)
British Columbia Library Association
American Library Association (ALA)
American Indian Library Association
American Society of Information Science & Technology
Progressive Librarians Guild

My intention as an educator is to support students in becoming reflective information professionals who take responsibility for making informed, ethically grounded decisions concerning the design and use of information systems. I strive to enhance students’ critical thinking skills, enrich their experiential knowledge, and develop their capacity for humility.

The success of any course is tied to students’ willingness to actively participate in the learning process. Therefore, I work towards an environment (whether in-person or online) that generates, guides and supports engaged inquiry. Informed by relationships made during my years as Coordinator for the iSchool’s First Nations Curriculum Concentration (FNCC), I encourage students to identify and address issues of marginalization and inequality in dominant information practices (i.e., how information is organized, shared, stored and managed). In 2016 I was honored to receive the Thomson Reuters Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award from the Association for Information Science & Technology. In 2017 I was surprised by a thoughtful Ph.D. student who acknowledged me as a “Great Supervisor” through the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ #UBC #GreatSupervisor campaign.

I currently supervise three inspiring doctoral students:


Michelle Kaczmarek (2016-ongoing)

  • Research interests: Sustainable Information Practices; Information, Disruption and Resilience; Migration and Displacement; Human-computer Interaction.


Saguna Shankar (2016-ongoing)

  • Research interests: Human-Information Interaction; Information Practices of Newcomers to Canada; Information Services to Support Social Inclusion; Visual Research Methods.


Rodrigo dos Santos (2019-ongoing)


I had the pleasure of supervising Dr. Elizabeth Shaffer’s dissertation (Completion 2019)


CTLT Indigenous Initiatives: Classroom Climate Series: Territory Acknowledgment (Sept. 2016) [link].

Open UBC: Exploring tension and risk in open scholarship (Nov. 2017) [link].

Designing for People: Why It’s Okay to Be Uncomfortable While Learning (Jan. 2019) [link].

The Daily of UW: The need for humility in the fight against the climate crisis (Jan. 2020) [link].