Named after the Urdu word for revolution Inquilab is a research lab located at the Human-Centered Design and Engineering Department of University of Washington. Inquilab is committed to community-centered approaches of research and inquiry—designing means of tech accountability in close partnership with local groups and organizations situated in Seattle and the greater Washington region. There are a number of active projects currently taking place in Inquilab, all converging at the overarching theme of critical computing.


Inquilab is led by Assistant Professor Sucheta Ghoshal. PhD student members of the lab include Lubna Razaq, Samuel So, Adiza Awwal, Mckane Andrus, Joice Tang, and Anny Gakhokidze.


Inquilab is invested in generating community-centered critiques of culture, economy, and politics of technology, while simultaneously designing and developing technologies of resistance and accountability with communities otherwise affected by the hegemonic practices of tech. Some of our current projects include:

Research and/as Relation. As an ongoing methodological exploration, this project aims to establish relational intimacy and allyship as a core method for responsible engineering and computing research. With this work, we intend to develop 1) a comprehensive understanding of how community-engaged researchers relate to their participants as they navigate competing commitments and responsibilities 2) a theory of community-centered methods for design and development that build upon the rhizomatic understanding of Relation. NOTE: we are actively recruiting for this study; if you are a community-engaged researcher affiliated with an university consider participating in this research by filling out this form.

2023 Tech Layoffs and Workplace Accountability. Supported by the NSF, this project seeks to investigate the complex implications that 2022-2023 Big Tech layoffs carry for ongoing shifts within workplace accountability in the technology industry. We will study both the technological/managerial meaning-making and the technological/managerial imaginaries of laid-off workers affected by the 2023 mass layoffs. Specifically the project team will answer two research questions with this work: 1) What are some of the perceptions, meaning-making processes, and folk theories—held by laid-off employees—around the role of technologies (such as HRM softwares) in the 2023 Big Tech mass-layoffs? 2) How can we leverage these grounded folk theories of lay-off technologies towards developing counter-strategies and infrastructures of accountability in the workplace? NOTE: we are actively recruiting for this study; if you were recently laid off from the tech industry in 2022-2023 consider completing this screener form to participate in this research.

Diaspora, Agriculture, & AI. Black diasporic urban farms generate food throughout cities, enact values of ecological well-being, resource conservation, interdependence, and foster the possibility of social and political transformation for black, indigenous, racialized and marginalized groups. These groups often have needs for advanced technologies for activities such as risk management, soil health monitoring, and crop harvesting rely on repeated, time-consuming work that is challenging to support on limited budgets, resources, and labor. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises solutions to many of these challenges, the market innovation rarely centers or even includes the farmers. This project aims to (1) advance understanding of sociotechnical ecosystems involving AI to support diasporic urban farming; (2) collaboratively develop AI-based technologies that better integrates and sustains technological gains with diasporic knowledge, and (3) systematically assess the impact of AI-based farming technologies on black diasporic communities while establishing channels of accountability towards the smart agriculture industry.

Co-designing Critical Data Practices with Grassroots Organizers. This research project aims to study current data practices of community organizers and activists in the Seattle area, with a goal of understanding their epistemological beliefs around sensitive (such as: law enforcement) data. In this research, we will 1) conduct a series of workshops with community organizers develop a framework for critical data consciousness - a theoretical grounding to support critical engagement in data collection and analysis 2) design a block-based system through which activists can apply critical data practices in their organizing goals.

The Otherwise School. The Otherwise School is a global research initiative towards transnational solidarity and movement building. This project is a collaboration with black study and predictive policing scholar J. Khadijah Abdurahman. The Otherwise School aims to explore the questions: what would it take for us to build technologies of resistance in the face of an ongoing global crisis of fascism, capitalism, anti-blackness? How can we best locate technology in these intersecting forces of harm?


Email sghoshal at uw dot edu for more info on Inquilab.