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YouTube Channel: videos of all past Sander Series talks, as well as Member Presentations since 2017-02-21, are available on the Tux YouTube Channel.

2017-18 Speaker Calendar

All talks are 1:00-2:00pm (note for U of T attendees: not 1:10pm), preceded by lunch at 12:30.

Date Location Speaker Type
Sept 21, 2017 Autodesk-MaRS Prof. Maneesh Agrawala, Stanford University Sanders Series Invited Lecture
Oct 10, 2017 DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor Prof. David Bouchard and Prof. Steve Daniels, Ryerson University Member Series Presentation
Oct 24, 2017 DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor Prof. Kate Sellen, OCADU  CANCELLED Member Series Presentation
Nov 7, 2017 Autodesk-MaRS Prof. Anind Dey, University of Washington Sanders Series Invited Lecture
Nov 21, 2017 Autodesk-MaRS Dr. Bill Buxton, Microsoft Research Sanders Series Invited Lecture
Dec 5, 2017 DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor Prof. Christopher Collins, UOIT Member Series Presentation
Jan 16, 2018 Autodesk-MaRS Prof. Sara Diamond, OCADU Sanders Series Invited Lecture
Jan 30, 2018 DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor Jay Vidyarthi Member Series Presentation
Feb 13, 2018 Autodesk-MaRS Prof. Mary Lou Maher, UNC Charlotte Sanders Series Invited Lecture
Feb 27, 2018 DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor Prof. Ishtiaque Ahmed and Prof. Fanny Chevalier, U of T Member Series Presentation
Mar 13, 2018 Autodesk-MaRS Dr. Marcelo Coelho, MCS Sanders Series Invited Lecture
Mar 27, 2018 DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor Prof. Ron Baecker, U of T Member Series Presentation

Jay Vidyarthi:
The Role of Mindfulness in Design Activism

2018-01-30 12:30 at DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor


In the past few years, we’ve witnessed powerful unintended consequences of modern technology. Researchers and journalists have been publishing about the pitfalls of an attention economy, the internet as an echo chamber, social media’s effects on mental health, a lack of inclusive design, and more. The hype around an internet utopia seems to be fading. As technologists, it’s becoming more important for us to acknowledge how our context, values and perspectives manifest in the ideas, products, systems, and services we create.

I’ve worked as a specialist in user experience and human-computer interaction in a wide range of contexts, including startups, academic research, hospitals, governments, and fortune 500 companies. 7 years ago, I realized that aligning my personal values was the key to my best work, so I quit my job as a UX mercenary and began to specialize in the intersection of mindfulness, mental health, and technology. It is in this space that I’ve not only done my best work, but I’ve also shifted my perspective about the role of human-computer interaction and user experience specialists. 

Design activism is not just a side hustle, it’s part of the job. Good design is not just about usability, engagement and instant gratification. Modern organizations with lofty missions to improve the world rely on researchers and designers to understand context, but it’s up to us to ensure a holistic approach. The commodification of human attention has enabled today’s technologies to covertly influence our identities, our politics, our relationships, and our health. This is why mindfulness – a practice which has been scientifically shown to train attention and help manage mental health – must play a role in shaping the way we design and use technology in the future.


Jay Vidyarthi is an award-winning experience designer and researcher focused on projects related to mindfulness and well-being. He guides teams through a human-centered approach to creating useful products, systems, and services.

Forbes recently named Jay in a list of “10 world renowned meditation tech experts.” He used a lean, iterative process to design Muse: the brain sensing headband, a successful consumer product experience which gives you feedback on your brain while you meditate. His related academic work on a persuasive technology for mindfulness called Sonic Cradle has been published and well-cited in the literature on human-computer interaction. Jay also leads UX projects for major international clients in a wide range of other sectors.

Jay helped launch A Mindful Society – an annual conference which attracts 500+ leaders in healthcare, education, business and government – where he takes a unique design thinking approach to co-create each event directly with the audience.