Research seminar with John McCarthy: The Politics and Aesthetics of Participation in HCI

Välkomna till högre seminarium i medieteknik onsdagen den 6/12 kl 13 – 15 i ME522 då vi gästas av John McCarthy som kommer att tala om The Politics and Aesthetics of Participation in HCI”.
Det kommer att finnas både nyttig och onyttig fika.

Research seminar with John McCarthy

6th December 1 pm ME522

In this talk, John will develop a critical discourse on participation in HCI. In one form or another, participation is deep in the DNA or culture of HCI, from the very earliest pragmatic commitments to have computer users involved (even indirectly) in the design of the systems that they would be expected to use to the more overtly political commitments of approaches such as Participatory Design. Moreover, participation is considered to be a ‘good thing’ in many areas of life e.g. international development, local politics, social media, digital civics, and art. It suggests equality, engagement, and democracy. In some of these areas, the claim that a project is participatory carries with it a political promise to be inclusive, to ensure that all voices are heard and responded to. But participatory projects – in development, regeneration, political decision making, and art – can be tokenistic in fulfilling obligations while ignoring participants’ real concerns. This presentation refers to a number of participatory HCI projects to explore how participation is currently positioned in HCI practice and theory, specifically how they address participants’ real concerns. Along the way some underlying assumptions about participation will be questioned: whether participation is an unqualified good; how participants are positioned in participatory projects; how participation is negotiated; the implications of different logics of participation for innovation and creativity. This questioning will encourage a slightly unconventional take on participation that emphasises the politics and aesthetics of engagement better to understand relationships between researchers, designers, and users (participants?).


John McCarthy is Professor of Applied Psychology at University College Cork, Ireland, where he leads the People and Technology Group (PAT). PAT is a collection of human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers engaged in experience-centred and participatory design of digital technology to understand and enhance people’s lived experience and to ensure their voices are heard in developments that matter to them.

John has over 20 years experience working in HCI research with about 100 publications including three books with Peter Wright on theoretical and methodological foundations of experience-centred HCI Design. The most recent – Taking [A]part: The Politics and Aesthetics of Participation in Experience-Centered Design (MIT Press) – reflects on some design projects that they were involved in, to think about the politics and aesthetics of taking part in HCI design projects. His current research projects are concerned with further developing understanding and practice of participation in HCI. These projects focus on:

  1. The potential to develop dementia friendly research communities to do experienced centred design of technologies and services with people with dementia and their carers in order to understand and enhance their experience and wellbeing;
  2. The emergence of digital communities and publics as expression of civic engagement in e.g. information, support and advocacy around dementia care and sustainable energy.

Exploring Maker Practice – Reflections on Material, Experience and Expertise

Research seminar with PhD student Sophie Landwehr Sydow

Wednesday 4 Oct, 1 p.m.
Södertörn University, room MD338
Please, be in time or announce your presence to Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari since the seminar is held in a closed area.


Making is relevant, as it explores both the encounter with and interactions in between physical and computational materials within the situated context of the act of making.
This presentation – which builds upon Sophie’s halftime seminar – provides insights on her project on maker practice, on the makerspace as site and the people and their experiences within as observed and analysed with the help of ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation. The seminar gives a short account on the current academic discourse on making and perspectives from the standpoint of HCI, but has its main emphasise on the current state of projects and both connected publications (some published and some in progress). By using the notions of experience and expertise as a lens to explore different facets of making, several strands of thought are mapped out. A reflection and discussion on upcoming steps, will conclude the seminar.


Sophie Landwehr Sydow is a third-year PhD candidate in Media Technology and also affiliated within Information Society at the Department for Computer and System Sciences at Stockholm University. She is financed and based at Södertörn and their CBEES graduate school. Her research focuses on the future of making and how the practice of making, hacking and DIY is provoking design and development of future technologies. Current research activities evolve around the concept of material literacy and the 3D printing process.

Research seminar with Louise Barkhuus

Location sharing in mobile technologies
with Louise Barkhuus from The IT University of Copenhagen

  • Wednesday 22 february  1 pm – 3 pm
  • Welcome to MD338
  • The door is locked, please  contact  Maria Normark in advance if you wish to participate
  • Fika is served
  • The seminar will be held in English 

An important aspect of mobile technologies is the sensor information available, particularly location information. In this talk I present issues around location sharing, in particularly in relation to the study of a continuous location-sharing application, used over a period of a month within groups of 4-5 people, which provided detailed awareness between group members. Reporting on issues such as the service’s facility for micro-coordination and enabler of ad-hoc social engagements, I present the distinct ways in which the service was incorporated into participants’ daily lives. The findings highlight how people’s understanding of location- tracking technologies is transitional and how it includes a constant re-negotiation of appropriate services and applications for everyday social management. One conclusion was that map-based continuous location sharing has significant utility among tight- knit dyads, however, less usable between loser-knit relations. The study illustrates my broader research agenda into location-aware technologies.

 Bio: Louise Barkhuus is an associate professor at the IT University in Copenhagen where she researches location-based technology-mediated experiences.

SIMULATE THE WEB! – Do not miss this hackathon at Openlab!

Apply to The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority´s (PTS) hackathon 15th of Mars at Openlab

Websites perceives differently for different people. That´s why they are tested in different browsers and units. Sometimes with the help of simulators. But there is not many tools available to test other variations, like color blindness, dyslexia, language knowledge or mobility impairments. At the same time the demand increases that all people should be able to participate on the web under the same conditions.

Come and simulate different ways to experience the web with the help of our 5 senses, technology and design. Be inspired by a superhero suit that takes away one sense and replaces it with a supersense. Be educated about web accessibility and be a part of creating new tools and ideas that will make the web more inclusive !

The hackathon will be held in swedish.
More information and sign up here!

Simulera webben!

What? Hackathon
Where? Openlab, Valhallavägen 79, Stockholm
When? 15.03.2016


Looking for people for a study about player–character relation!

Petri Lankoski is looking for people for a study about player–character relation. There are two alternatives to take part.

1) If you have not played Dishonored and are willing to play it in laboratory and answer some questions about play experience, contact me ( This would take around an hour. Playing would happen at Södertörn University.

2) If you are starting to play a new character-driven game (such as Batman: Arkham Horror, Half-Life 2, Tekken, Deus Ex, Ico, Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune) and have not played the title for more than ten hours. Before you answer, play the game for at least half an hour and then fill in the questionnaire. I will ask you to fill in the questionnaire again after you have completed the game or alternatively after you have played ten hours more, whichever comes first. The questionnaire is at

Thank you in advance,


Video from Commutathon at Openlab/Swedish radio

This video was produced from the hackaton “Commutathon” arranged by The Swedish Radio in collaboration with Openlab, Trafik Stockholm, Stockholm City, Trafikverket and Trafiklab – to explore the best way to help the daily commuter in Stockholm, using the cell phone as a platform.

The three day Commutathon resulted in several interesting solutions that we have written about before, see previous posts about this event.

A subjective summary of STHLMTech Fest

techfest_product and designYesterday I  (Sophie Landwehr Sydow)
had the pleasure to take part at the STHLM Tech fest – the Swedish answer to web summit, ad tech, dmexco etc. etc. taking annually place around the world. What these events have in common is that they circle mainly around big names, both company – and people wise and ticket prices are skyrocketing from event to event. They are good for getting people to network, see what industry has to offer, discover new startups and promoting your i.e. company/brand/product. The organizers of this years STHLMTechfest kept calling Stockholm a unicorn factory and didn’t try to hide the fact that Stockholm managed to produce more billion dollar tech companies than any other European city in the past decade as the Financial Times mentions online [1]. In a recent study Atomico points out that “on a per-capita basis, Stockholm is the second most prolific tech hub globally, with 6.3 billion-dollar companies per million people compared to Silicon Valley with 6.9” [2], which was also mentioned multiple times throughout the event. Maybe this explains some of the proud and enthusiastic approach STHLMTechfest was going for – or maybe it’s just a very American way of doing events.

In summary this years STHLMTechfest focused on “the future of…” adding different branches were technology already made and are most likely to make a further impact in. Hourly panels, divided on two stages focused on the the future of: media, gaming, product and design, retail, investing, financing, health and transportation. The panels were then filled with experts, coming exclusively from industry, with a tendency to highlight Swedish (and Scandinavian) entrepreneurship. In the end of each panel two fitting start-up companies pitched their product to both panel and audience and an often chaotic conclusion wrapped up the panels.

techfest_gamesDuring the first half of the conference I stated on twitter that there was “a lot of selling/branding my wonderful company/product/team” going on instead of real insights into the companies past, present or future. Actually the whole event was lacking in future orientation despite the proposed session titles to do so. Instead the focus relied on industry representative mentioned state-of-the-art products, success stories and occasionally some suggestion on what the future might hold specifically for their company. The most interesting panels proofed to be the panel on “The future of financing” where old (Bank representatives from SEB and Swedbank) clashed with new (founders of Klarna and iZettle), exposing different approaches to a market still comparably untouched from a major market and game-change. Here comparing to UEBER’s impact on the Taxi business, AirBnB on the travel industry or Spotify in the music industry, all being digital service providers disrupting existing markets.

techfest_robot_CEO_MTGx_RikardSteiberMaybe the most notable insight is the variety of platforms and markets, technology is making an impact in already. This becomes even more visible in the diversity of the panels chosen topics. Even if future itself wasn’t tackled as much in this industry-glorifying event, the future of tech might be which branches it will enter next – which problems will occur and which solutions it’ll find.

Most impressive: The spot-on talk Jason Calacanis had with Daniel Ek (founder of Spotify) for more than an hour, which felt extremely real and honest.

Most important: Pointing out equality on numeral occasions but still having an unbalanced stage- and speaking time ratio; plus the event had an arguable women-only registration agenda which might have helped rising equality in the audience at least

Most fun: Media panel were the MGTx representative as “robot” turned into a delightful sidekick.

Most promising app: dreams – an innovative and creative approach on money-saving

Most tweeted on: The lack of free coffee throughout the event. In SWEDEN – common!

Most annoying: overbooked (too little seats) and unorganised at times

Most missed: Any sustainable or foresighted ideas

Most ironic: The every solution: AN APP

[1] Ahmed, Murad (March 2015) Stockholm: The unicorn factory in Financial Times online. (retrieved: 03/09/2015)
[2] (retrieved: 03/09/2015)

Reflections by / Sophie Landwehr Sydow, PhD Student in Mediatechnology

New publication – Somaesthetic design in Interactions

The Soma mat on the cover of Interactions

In the current issue of the ACM magazine Interactions you can read a cover story about the Soma Project where one of our colleagues, senior lecturer Martin Jonsson, is a co-writer.

In the article Somaesthetic design the Soma Project is presented like this:

The main insights of the article Somaesthetic design in the magazine Interactions.

“In the Soma Project, we searched for an alternative design stance that would not distract us from our own experiences but instead deepen our understanding and engagement with ourselves. Through adopting a somaesthetic design stance, we took on the challenge of engaging participants in deepening the experience of their own felt bodily sensations and movements rather than external sensory interactions.”

The article Somaesthetic design is written by Kristina Höök, Anna Ståhl, Martin Jonsson, Johanna Mercurio, Anna Karlsson, Eva-Carin Johnson.

You can read the full length article here:

Student project nominated at the Swedish Game Awards!

We are very happy to announce that our students game Framing of my life was nominated for Best Execution in Design at the Swedish Game Awards 2015.

The game, Framing of my life is a puzzle game made by Alex Bräysy, Patricia Möllerström, Natassja Berkan, Robert Alm Nilsson and Gonzalo Maldonado.

The game is describe like this:

“You wake up, in the middle of nowhere, as a memory, framed in a painting. No characteristics, in contrast to the world around you, presented in form of a gallery. Go on, search, what piece is missing from your life? Let nothing stop you. Forge your own path, organize your life, frame it as you need to reach your fate. Explore a gallery of handcrafted paintings which you traverse. Take the time to enjoy the view and listen to an original music score. Manipulate the level design with the special “Framing” ability which lets you rearrange every frame to your advantage. Explore the world, search every frame for collectibles or experience the journey.”

You find more information about the game here:

You find the other nominated games here:

Gameplay video from Framing of my life: