Museums. Technology. Social Justice.

Hello! I'm a Web Developer at a museum in Chicago, but you likely know me by the activism work I do in museum and tech communities.

I'm an application developer at a museum in Chicago and a social justice activist. My activism work focuses on ending rape culture and patriarchy through my role as a volunteer educator for Rape Victim Advocates. I'm also a regular contributor at The Incluseum, co-creator of, and my writing has been featured in Model View Culture and Fwd: Museums. You will also find me playing my guitar and sitar, composing noise, hiking, making herbal medicines, and drinking warm glasses of chai on cold winter nights.

Most people have heard about me from the above video of the Ignite talk I gave at MCN 2015 where I articulate my thoughts on museums and oppression. You may also know me by my work as co-creator of the Visitors of Color blog, where we document the experiences of people from marginalized communities who visit—and don't visit—museums.

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Front view of Aisha looking straight into the camera. Text reads “I want curation that shows the diversity within each culture, things that challenge the stereotypes that we subconsciously hold because of all the oppressive messages we see, hear and feel everyday.” Aisha Chaudhri, Reproductive Justice Activist and Educator

Recent Projects

Monica, Porchia, nikhil, Adrianne, Aletheia, Joanne, Chris and Karleen sitting on a stage speaking at MASS Action year two.

MASS Action

October 2017

Over the course of most of 2017, I collaborated with a group of about 50 amazing, radical museum workers/activists to write a toolkit about enacting the idea of museums as sites for social action. The toolkit turned into a book, and in our second annual gather we introduced the toolkit to a group of museums committed to taking it back to their home institutions and using the tools to enact transformation of their institutions. I led the group that wrote a chapter on museum collections. The toolkit is available as a free PDF download here:

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Kamilah, nikhil, Brett, Anthony and Oli seated on a stage while nikhil speaks into a microphone. A large photo of Willow Smith standing in a dramatic pose is projected behind them.

Bitch, Be Realistic

February 2017

In February 2017, Kamilah Rashied invited me to join in a feminist conversation to explore the narratives of women in their lives. I talked about my mother’s lifelong commitment to gain independence from the patriarchy, and the journey that brought her to the United States. She was in the audience that night, and it was the first time she heard me narrate her own story back to her, with my own interpretations of what her story says about her, and how she’s affected my life as a pro-feminist man. It was also her 75th birthday, and the whole audience indulged me in singing happy birthday to her!

nikhil and Nenette seated with a large circle of people in a gallery. Three large iol paintings hang on the wall behind them.

Intersections: The Gender Box

February 2017

As a volunteer educator at Rape Victim Advocates, I joined a friend at the Art Institute of Chicago to give a lunchtime public gallery talk the gender box. We discussed common ways people define binary notions of gender, and how these stereotypes are often used to justify the perpetuation of gender-based violence. From this lens, we then looked at two paintings depicting very different images of women: Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist and The Abduction of the Sabine Women.

Miguel, Evan, nikhil and Kamilah sitting on a stage having a conversation.

The Gathering: Everyone is Talented

November 2016

In November 2016, I joined two other local artists—Evan La Ruffa and Miguel Aguilar—at the Art Institute of Chicago to have a conversation facilitated by Kamilah Rashied to explore how creativity informs social transformation. It was in the days after the U.S. election, and I was feeling particularly emotional that night. I shared some questions I had been simmering on about whether museums need to exist at all anymore, and some vulnerable connections I have with colonialism, and I how that informs my activism work. It was a powerful conversation.

Awards and Honors

A photo of me with the Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates. I'm holding my Gender Equality Award, and hand-carved wooden sculpture, and we're standing in from of a banner that reads

Gender Equality Award, United Nations Women


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Some of the gifts I received as part of my award: a pin that says

Education & Training Volunteer of the Year, Rape Victim Advocates

A photo of me playing sitar during The Masrayana

Jeff Citation Award, Original Incidental Music



Recent Blog Articles


MCN 2017 takeaways

MCN is one of two museum technology conferences that happen annually. While there are many talks and conversations diving deep into technical topics, the conference is most known for its threads on organizational culture and social transformation. Following are some of my major takeaways.



Text from my Ignite talk at MCN 2015

Last night I gave an Ignite talk at MCN 2015 in Minneapolis about museums and oppression. An Ignite talk is a 5 minute presentation with 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds. I fit a lot in there, so I thought it might be useful for folks at the conference to refer back to what I said. Below is a video, my slides, and the text from my talk, entitled Towards an Anti-Oppression Museum Manifesto:


Museums and #BlackLivesMatter

There’s been discussion among museum professionals questioning if and how our institutions should participate in the movements that have arisen from Ferguson in some way. As I’m sure many people in the conversation have been, I’ve been extremely affected by the recent decisions to not indict law enforcement in the killings of unarmed black people, and these recent injustices have occupied my mind a great deal in recent weeks. I recognize that these decisions are part of a history of the state murdering black people with impunity that goes back hundreds of years. I also recognize that this history includes the murder of and sexual violence against women and trans folks as well, whose stories are often met with silence. With this weight, I share in the great mix of emotions many of us are experiencing. And if we do talk about responding in some way, I want it to be based in reason and compassion, with an understanding of our relationships with black people and our shared histories.

Starting a Mens Feminist Reading Group

Over the past year, I’ve gotten together with a group of three of my friends who are men every two months or so to read writings by feminist authors. We’ve read fiction, non-fiction and essays by feminist writers, mostly women of color. It’s been fun for me to connect with my friends in a new way, and for all of us to grow our thinking together and be critical of ways in which we participate in sexism, male domination and rape culture. Here’s essentially what I did to get it going:

Towards an anti-oppression museum manifesto

During a panel about open authority at #MCN2014, I was struck by a question Porchia Moore asked: “why don’t visitors of color participate at the rates of other groups?” This is a question that I’ve pondered myself for some time, and I appreciated her creating space for discussion with other museum professionals.

Diwali: joy, hope and justice

For some years now, I’ve been wanting to rethink Diwali in a way that celebrates the holiday as an expression of my wishes and hopes for a new year. In a conversation about pujas and Hindu ritual this week, a friend said to me “personally, the best prayers are those that are from the heart.” Her words inspired me to let go of my longing for finding connection in rituals that I don’t understand to create an expression of ritual that is meaningful to me. I still appreciate that many Hindu rituals have been performed for a long time by people all over the world, there’s something powerful about sharing in a common consciousness through shared ritual. But this year, I thought I’d take some of the information and perspectives shared with me over the past several years to think about what a celebration of Diwali would be like that fully resonated with me.

WTF is Linked Open Data?

I’ve been hearing about Linked Open Data for years. I’ve sat in on sessions at conferences and followed many discussions on Twitter and e-mail lists. At times, the tone of these conversations seemed like “this is such an awesome tool that nobody is using.” But I never really understood what it was. I was left still wondering “WTF is Linked Open Data?”

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