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People  •  Journalism, Art + Design  •  Assistant Professor

Rahul Bhargava

Rahul Bhargava is an educator, researcher, designer, and facilitator who builds collaborative projects to interrogate our datafied society with a focus on rethinking participation and power in data processes. He has created big data research tools to investigate media attention, built hands-on interactive museum exhibits that delight learners of all ages, and run over 100 workshops to build data culture in newsrooms, non-profits, and libraries. Rahul has collaborated with a wide range of groups, from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil to the St. Paul library system and the World Food Program. His academic work on data literacy, technology, and civic media has been published in journals such as the International Journal of Communication, the Journal of Community Informatics, and been presented at conferences such as IEEE Vis and ICWSM. His museum installations have appeared at the Boston Museum of Science, Eyebeam in New York City, and the Tech Interactive in San Jose.

Research/Publications Highlights

Bhargava, R., Bishop, C., Zuckerman, E. (2020). Mapping and Visualizing News Images for Media Research. Presented at the Computation+Journalism 2020, Boston, MA, USA.

Bhargava, R., Dave, A., Papakyriakopoulos, O. (2020). Investigating Attention and Influence Online with Media Cloud. Tutorial presented at the 14th International Conference on Web and Social Media, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Zuckerman, E., Matias, J. N., Bhargava, R., Bermejo, F., & Ko, A. (2019). Whose Death Matters? A Quantitative Analysis of Media Attention to Deaths of Black Americans in Police Confrontations, 2013–2016. International Journal of Communication, 13(27).

Bhargava, R., Gaikwad, N., Jen, D., Saldías-Feuntes, B., Chung, A., Hope, A., Zuckerman, E. (2019). Gobo: A System for Exploring User Control of Invisible Algorithms in Social Media. Presented at the 22nd ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing, Austin, TX, USA.

D’Ignazio, C., & Bhargava, R. (2018). Cultivating a Data Mindset in the Arts and Humanities. Public, 4(2).

Bhargava, R., & D’Ignazio, C. (2017). Data Sculptures as a Playful and Low-Tech Introduction to Working with Data. Presented at the Designing Interactive Systems, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

Bhargava, R., Kadouaki, R., Bhargava, E., Castro, G., & D’Ignazio, C. (2016). Data Murals: Using the Arts to Build Data Literacy. The Journal of Community Informatics, 12(3).

Professional Affiliations

Media Ecosystems Analysis Group (board member)

Research Affiliate, MIT Data + Feminism Lab


Journalism, Art + Design


  • Master of Science in Media Arts & Science, MIT
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Minor in Multimedia Production, Carnegie Mellon University


  • 2021 – (Grant) International Hate Observatory – Knight Foundation
  • 2019 – University of Hyderabad. Visiting Researcher, College of Communications.
  • 2018 – (Grant) Reality Redrawn Challenge Mozilla Foundation
  • 2017 – (Grant) Digital Impact Grant Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civic Society
  • 2016 – (Grant) Prototype Grant Knight Foundation
  • 2014 – (Grant) Innovation Grant Making All Voices Count
  • 2014 – Best Software American Political Science Association
  • 2011 – Interactive Award Applied Arts

Past Clients

  • Sasaki Associates. Visualization Designer. 2009
  • WGBH Forum Network. Website Developer. 2009
  • Science Museum of Minnesota. Museum Exhibit Design Consultant. 2006