Karen E. Fisher




Karen E. Fisher is a Professor at the Information School, and Adjunct Professor in the Communication Department at the University of Washington. She is also a Consultant (embedded field ethnographer) for UNHCR Jordan, Adjunct Professor, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland, and Visiting Professor at the Information School, Siegen University, DE. An advocate of humanitarian research, her passion is how HCI-industry-NGO collaborations can help people displaced by conflict and build futures. Karen’s focus is the Syrian war and she works in the Levant, using design ethnography and other methods to increase literacy and education, livelihoods and social connectedness. Much of her work is at UNHCR Za’atari Camp in Jordan. Major missions include youth as ICT wayfarers, the Za’atari Camp Cookbook—a multi-year co-design project with over 2000 Syrians about preserving indigenous knowledge of food, Arab medicine and culture; and Za’atari Camp Libraries—the world’s first, refugee-run, camp-wide library system. With colleagues she received a 2020 Google Inclusion Research Award to codesign social media/mobile privacy features and information literacy tools with Syrian girls based on the Quran and Arab culture.


  • University of Western Ontario, Ph.D., 1997
  • University of Western Ontario, MLIS, 1991
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland, B.A., 1989