My research focuses on designing technologies in humanitarian contexts. With a background in Human Computer Interaction and Public Health I have worked with refugee and asylum seeking communities and third sector organizations in the Middle East, Europe and Australia.

I am interested in designing with refugees and asylum seekers technologies food security, access to healthcare, mental health and speech and language development. My research also considers the use of social media in humanitarian contexts and the socio-political contexts in which humanitarian technologies are deployed. I also use experience-centered design and other design methods to reconfigure existing humanitarian technologies and work towards inclusive humanitarian innovation processes.

Ongoing projects:

  • Codesigning technologies and processes for speech and language development in the Arab region
  • Redesigning blockchain technologies for collective purchasing & refugee food security
  • Developing an Intersectional Conceptual Framework for Designing Technologies for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia
  • Designing mental health apps to support young refugees and asylum seekers


When the Civic Turn turns Digital: Designing Safe and Secure Refugee Resettlement

  1. Rikke Bjerg Jensen
  2. Lizzie Coles-Kemp
  3. Reem Talhouk

2020CHI '20: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


Involving Syrian Refugees in Design Research: Lessons Learnt from the Field

  1. Talhouk R
  2. Balaam M
  3. Toombs AL
  4. Garbett A
  5. Akik C
  6. Ghattas H
  7. Araujo-Soares V
  8. Ahmad B
  9. Montague K

2019Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '19)

A Call For Embedding Dignity In Humanitarian Technologies

  1. Talhouk R
  2. Montague K
  3. Garbett A
  4. Araujo-Soares V
  5. Akik C
  6. Ghattas H
  7. Ahmad B
  8. Balaam M

2019The 9th International Conference on Communities & Technologies

Refugee Food (in)Security: Surfacing Experiences of Adaptation, Navigation & Negotiation

  1. Talhouk R
  2. Montague K
  3. Ghattas H
  4. Araujo-Soares V
  5. Ahmad B
  6. Balaam M


What is participation? Emerging challenges for participatory design in globalized conditions

  1. Kruger M
  2. Duarte AB
  3. Weibert A
  4. Aal K
  5. Talhouk R
  6. Metatla O



In a new land: Mobile phones, amplified pressures and reduced capabilities

  1. Coles-Kemp L
  2. Jensen RB
  3. Talhouk R

2018Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '18)

Human computer interaction & health activism

  1. Talhouk R
  2. Morrissey K
  3. Fox S
  4. Pantidi N
  5. Simpson E
  6. Michie LE
  7. Balaam M

2018CHI '18 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

HCI for blockchain: Studying, designing, critiquing and envisioning distributed ledger technologies

  1. Elsden C
  2. Nissen B
  3. Jabbar K
  4. Talhouk R
  5. Lustig C
  6. Dunphy P
  7. Speed C
  8. Vines J

2018CHI '18 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Decorating public and private spaces: Identity and pride in a refugee camp

  1. Nabil S
  2. Talhouk R
  3. Trueman J
  4. Kirk DS
  5. Bowen S
  6. Wright P

2018CHI EA '18 Human Factors in Computing Systems


Za'atari Refugee Cookbook: Relevance, Challenges and Design Considerations

  1. Fisher KE
  2. Talhouk R
  3. Yefimova K
  4. Al-Shahrabi D
  5. Yafi E
  6. Ewald S
  7. Comber R

2017ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts

Implications of Synchronous IVR Radio on Syrian Refugee Health and Community Dynamics

  1. Talhouk R
  2. Bartindale T
  3. Montague K
  4. Mesmar S
  5. Akik C
  6. Ghassani A
  7. Najem M
  8. Ghattas H
  9. Olivier P
  10. Balaam M

20178th International Conference on Communities and Technologies


Syrian Refugees and Digital Health in Lebanon: Opportunities for Improving Antenatal Health

  1. Talhouk R
  2. Mesmar S
  3. Thieme A
  4. Balaam M
  5. Olivier P
  6. Akik C
  7. Ghattas H

2016ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '16)

Refugees and HCI SIG: The Role of HCI in Responding to the Refugee Crisis

  1. Talhouk R
  2. Ahmed SI
  3. Wulf V
  4. Crivallero C
  5. Vlachokyriakos V
  6. Olivier P
  7. Clara Crivellaro

2016ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2016

The impact of digital technology on health of populations affected by humanitarian crises: Recent innovations and current gaps

  1. Mesmar S
  2. Talhouk R
  3. Akik C
  4. Olivier P
  5. Elhajj IH
  6. Elbassuoni S
  7. Armoush S
  8. Kalot J
  9. Balaam M
  10. Germani A
  11. Ghattas H

2016Journal of Public Health Policy