March 2023

Hackathon, digital research methods & ChatGPT

Hi there,

I’ll dedicate this month’s newsletter intro to reflect a bit on the organising process of a feminist hackathon (because, full disclosure, it’s taking up about 90% of my headspace these days). 

While this is the second time I am organising a feminist hackathon, there have still been a lot of ‘firsts’ this time around, given that the event will be both in-person and online. This means we get the joy of working out logistics for both worlds. The process of organising an event such as this really is a crash course in so many ways, and you become terribly aware of how inaccessible a lot of events are when you make a conscious effort to make yours inclusive and accessible.

Everything from timings to venues to participant journeys to communication and documentation – all of it has gone through our intersectional feminist, collective, inclusion machinery. Everything has been questioned and reflected upon: Is this how/where we should spend money? How can we best serve a function of wealth redistribution? How do we define our community guidelines in a way that is both decisive and open-ended? 

I’m incredibly proud of the team that has been making it all come together, and I’m excited to get to read our team member Alberte Bjerke’s thesis that she is currently writing about this whole process. Beyond that, I’m thankful to the many, many people who have believed in this project and are supporting us with their time and their skills. 

This next month, I'm sure, will be a rollercoaster! 

- Henriette 


We’d always love to hear your feedback on the newsletter. Reach us here: 


What’s new?  

FFC event with IDA
In collaboration with the IDA Union, one of our hackathon partners, we organised a pre-event on March 13th where potential hackathon participants joined us to hear more about the format and the different tracks. It was a full house, and was such a joy to get to meet a lot of curious people wanting to engage with big societal questions from a feminist lens.

ChatGPT workshop 
The lab helped to co-organize and facilitate a discussion about the role of ChatGPT in our teaching, particularly for those courses that draw upon sociocultural and humanistic approaches to technology in society, such as the courses taught by ETHOS members. 

We presented some research that Luis Landa has done into how students are working with the chatbot, mostly in the areas of programming. While many of the examples drawn upon by our University so far to illustrate both the utility and risks to learning and evaluation have been focused on computing education, our discussion reveals some of the risks as well to more qualitative work, specifically written exams that are aimed to discuss, relate, recognize and reflect upon IT systems in real world cases. We shared some examples where we have tested out our own exam questions with the bot to see what it is capable of and then opened up for a discussion on implications for students as well as for organizing our own teaching efforts. There are obvious repercussions to our workload if we keep our exams the same but have to find ways to evaluate and report on suspected uses of the bot that count as cheating. If we want to shift our means of evaluating students, then we also lack resources to, for example, develop alternative exam forms to maintain pedagogic integrity beyond auditing student work for cheating and enforcing repercussions. While some of us may want to creatively enable the use of the bot, especially on courses that pertain to the ethics and impacts of AI systems, many of us feel that there are blind-spots to the bot that could lead to unwanted shifts in the teacher-student relationship. 

We discussed how the overall policy of the ITU towards the bot presents a possible entrenchment of OpenAI into our education where we suggest to students that what society needs is people educated in effective use of IT systems, where the bot is one such example. 

We also require further resources and strategies to, for example, communicate our expectations regarding the use of AI to our students, understanding the capabilities and biases of the bot,  and communicating the risks to students of using the bot as part of their learning. How will this shape learning in the long term? What ecologies of AI might we want in our education beyond this one hyped solution of the moment?

Feminist digital research methods
Throughout the Spring Term, we have been lucky to spend time together hearing about one another’s research and considering feminist digital research methods. 

In February, Michael Hockenhull brought us examples from his work researching and building databases to help us consider the impacts of black boxes and categorization on the data that we encounter, or aren’t able to encounter. We also considered how databases work as an accountability tool and how they could be presented in comparison to existing digital methods interfaces (such as Gephi or Gephisto). We’re looking forward to a follow up workshop with Michael in the coming weeks. 

Luis Landa brought the provocation of ‘slow machine learning (ML)’ to a workshop where we collectively thought through the trade-offs involved in making a viable or feasible ML model. How might we work with trade-offs around the ‘largeness’ or a dataset, alongside ethics of care and the maintenance required to ensure the fidelity of the data.

In March, Lara Reime discussed the differing ethical approaches to conducting digital ethnography with marginalised communities. Lara presented approaches from differing studies and problematized the difficulty in finding a method that respected the community being researched without being extractive or intrusive, while still having data that stands up to disciplinary scrutiny. This session opened up a conversation about the multiple ways to define feminist and ethical research and asked us to consider where our commitments lie: to the communities we research or to the fear of peer review.

We hope to collectively write up our reflections on this workshop in the next few months, so watch this space!

What's next?

Breaking and Making Code Poems: Launch party
Later today (Friday) we will be hosting a little launch party for “Breaking and Making Code Poems” booklet at the lab. The booklet is the long awaited result of the 2021 Ada Lovelace Day workshop on code poetry. At the launch some of the co-authors will be doing poetry readings, and Winnie Soon, who has also written the preface for the booklet, will be tuning in from London to share some of their work on queering code poetry. Starting at 15:00 in the lab (and if you would like a last minute invite, shoot an email to Henriette,

Feminist Futures Copenhagen: Happening soon 
Two weeks from now we’re officially kicking off the Feminist Futures Copenhagen 2023 hackathon, and we are both extremely excited and also baffled at how quickly time has passed. We’ve got an incredible line-up of mentors and partner organisations. We’ll also be hosting a panel on April 21st feminist methodology in practice, which will be announced very soon - so keep your eyes peeled for that. Generally the most frequently updated platform to stay informed about all things FFC is Instagram: @feministfuturescph.

Final Pitch & Play with the Junior Researchers
On April 18th we will be gathering for the fourth and final P&P with this year’s cohort. I, Henriette, would like to take this opportunity to share how proud I am of the work the students have been doing. Many of the students have faced challenges in their research, but they have managed to pivot and learn and come through on the other side as more experienced (and perhaps even more curious) researchers. If you are curious to read about their projects, you can go read their blog posts up on the ETHOS blog right now. 

We’ll be doing the call out for our next cohort of Junior Researchers in September.

CHI 2023 in Hamburg
PhD fellow Lara Reime will present the paper ‘Walking through Normativities of Reproductive Bodies: A method for critical analysis of Tracking applications’ at this year’s CHI conference in Hamburg. The paper is a collaborative work done with Vasiliki Tsaknaki and ETHOS co-head Marisa Cohn. The presentation will be part of the ‘Social Justice Methodologies’ track on the 24th of April at 14.30 (Link to program:

The paper explores approaches to investigating Menstruation and Fertility tracking apps (MFTAs). The authors scrutinise the normativities of reproductive bodies by deploying the “walkthrough method” (Light et al. 2018) to uncover sociotechnical entanglements of the MFTAs Clue, Tilly, and Drip. The paper discusses how the walkthrough method contributes to HCI’s methodological repertoire for studying intimate bodily tracking apps and unpack­ing their normativities. It also offers suggestions for using this method to critically analyse existing apps and extend approaches to design with and for a plurality of in/fertile bodies.


Updates from the blog

Tarot reading for the lab in 2023

Tarot reading for the lab in 2023

By Marisa Cohn What does it mean to act as “a lab”? This has been a fundamental question we have faced as a collective of researchers and as an institutional unit within the University. This pertains to the question of our ambitions and our remit. The lab has always been many things - a workers’ collective every Wednesday to discuss …

Read more.


 Wishing you all a beautiful rest of your day!

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Co-heads of Lab: Marisa Cohn & Jessamy Perriam
Lab Manager: Henriette Friis


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