May 2020

Virtual and Distributed 

In 2018, the first virtual conference 'Displacements18' by Society for Cultural Anthropology was held as a hybrid virtual and in-person gathering. Actively interrupting their status quo practices of gathering global people in one physical location in the US, the experiment was to focus anthropological attention on contemporary forms of displacement, but also to displace the conventional conference format. Environmental and egalitarian inclusion concerns such as carbon footprints from travels and equitable access for non-US participants were rationales that drove the experiment into being at high risk and uncertainty. The experiment proved an unexpected success sky-rocketing participants from 200, predominantly from the US, to 1300 people from over 40 countries! Read more on the team's reflections and intentions.  

As a meta-experiment on displacements and distribution, the hybrid conference format consists of a virtual interface and local nodes proposed by individuals or institutions. Central to the conference is the ethos of decentralizing, democratizing, and internationalizing knowledge production - an ideology more relevant than ever in these pandemic times.

For this year's conference DISTRIBUTE2020, ETHOS Lab's co-head of lab Rachel Douglas-Jones was planning to host a local node in the physical space of the lab. Although, a new distributed layer of restrictions are upon us and we will retreat to the online space of Zoom on Great Prayer Day, Friday May 8. We would like to encourage lab rats, community and friends to join, not only our local node but also the conference in its full 3-day length, including the Film Festival. Curious? Watch the conference teaser


Our Junior Researcher Tea Meineche invites us into her meta-reflections of taking on the ethnographic participant-observer when already immersed in the culture and practices of the community. Fieldnotes from an echo chamber reveal the invisibility, in-built and taken-for-granted logic that we may as ethnographers bring to our field site. 

A big THANKS those that made it to the Zestivus of our online celebration of 5 years as a lab! We had a truly AMAZING time with a lab quiz, speeches, gifts and a song!! We now rotate in orbit towards what will become our physical celebration when we arrive at the orbital antipode of our anniversary: Friday, October 16! Please mark the date for the anniversary including physical presence - you are invited!

Keep up to date with the lab by subscribing to the newsletter and follow us on twitter, facebook or Instagram.

Stay safe out there!

All the best,

Co-heads of Lab: Marisa Cohn & Rachel Douglas-Jones
Post doc: Katrine Meldgaard Kjær
Lab Manager: Marie Blønd

Local Node @ ETHOS Lab for Distribute 2020 Conference

Join us for Distribute 2020 Conference

MAY 7-8-9, 2020: Distribute 2020 attends to contemporary practices, theories, and forms of distribution and redistribution; and it seeks to re-distribute the conventional conference format as a scholarly and democratic practice, promoting knowledge as a rhizomatic network of exchange. Distribute 2020 is a low-cost, highly accessible, nearly-carbon-neutral conference we hope will pave the way for rethinking the mega-conference model.

Read more on their website

A fundamental element of the conference is a series of local nodes across the world, where participants gather to not only view the conference but join in for related activities. You can join the conference on all days but ETHOS Lab is also hosting a node on Friday, May 8. Please join us for the conference! 

Local Node by ETHOS Lab: Friday, May 8 from 9-12:00 on Zoom

Read more.

Field Notes from an Echo Chamber

Field Notes from an Echo Chamber

Blog post by Tea Meineche, Junior Researcher in ETHOS Lab and student in MSc Digital innovation & Management

How to observe a phenomenon in virtual settings, through search engines or social media is a much-contested topic in STS (e.g. Marres 2015). This blogpost, however, argues that our online experiences and habitus shapes us as researchers outside the digital realm too.

This blogpost is based on my experience as an intern with a software company in autumn 2019. As many university interns, my purpose was two-fold: explore the labour market and build competencies and secondly make use of the academic skills set acquired through 4+ years of high education to examine a new organisation.

Read more



The Zestivus on Zoom for ETHOS Lab's 5th year of existence was amazing with over 30 people joining in for what started as a "LIVE" drone hovering outside the ITU buildig to look into the abandoned ETHOS Lab!

Seeing familiar faces from the last 5 years in various roles and capacities of the lab, was warming and heartfelt and we want to thank all of you for joining in.  

A fun mosaic of celebration with a wonderful, deep time memento of the lab's 5 year existence and highlights by co-heads of lab Rachel Douglas-Jones and Marisa Cohn. A fun Kahoot quiz hosted by our lab TA Veronika Skotting, Poetic Performance for 'messages in a bottle' by Lab Assistant Luuk Blum. Speeches by Mace Ojala, Simy Kaur, Marie Blønd and Michael Hockenhull. Also, thank you to Brit Winthereik and our sister Tant Lab for the wonderful present - see all gifts and messages here. 

We ended up singing together! A song written by the Data As Relation Group for the Data Times conference with the following chorus: 

   We live together in a state

   of digi-trust and hope

   but who will read our common fate

   in the data horoscope?

Community is the backbone and the hybridity of the lab and this online event was merely a warm-up as we travel in orbit around the sun towards the orbital antipode of our anniversary: 

Friday, October 16, 2020!

Please mark the date and send us a message in a bottle before next celebration!


Pandemic Diaries

Pandemic Diaries

We have moved into a new phase during the pandemic - a gradual opening of society. Dare we dream? Dare we hope for a new turn of events?

Our vocabulary has been re-configured, our socializing have changed, new tools, craves and practices are emerging. 

The Lab community has made a patchwork collection of short stories, pictures or diary logs/outtakes from our current experience and encounters with living in pandemic times. 

We are hoping to create A Unique Time Capsule specific to our lab community and interests.

You are welcome to share your short stories or send quotes, pictures or outtakes from your everyday pandemic life to Luuk – please state if you are comfortable with us publishing these on our website and if you want them anonymized.   

Read the ongoing development of Pandemic Diaries


Other News & Info

Thinking Outside the Crisis: Imagining Communities Through Data
For further pondering in these abnormal times, we recommend this article about the politics of counting and data.


Podcast Recommendation
You've probably heard it a million times already, climate breakdown is a result of excessive use of (seemingly) resources on a finite planet. But what about alternatives to the present system of organizing society?

Julia Steinberger and Elena Hofferberth of the University of Leeds take us through the empirical evidence currently proposed by alternatives to capitalism (from reform to radical ones) as well as recent developments such as the Green New Deal in the U.S and Just Transition proposals in Europe. 

Seeing as IT plays a key role in both the consumption and production in our current system and likely in future systems. Having an overview of the alternatives and propositions can be helpful to situate our expertise.


Digital Methods Initiative Summer School
Amsterdam University
29 June - 3 July 2020 - Online via Zoom

Social media manipulation: from artificial amplification and inauthentic behaviour to deplatforming and counter-speech

Social media platform rationales for demonetising and deplatforming — terms for removing and downgrading an individual account or content — are evolving, as are the cultural debates, across North America and Europe, concerning their desirability and efficacy compared, for example, to ‘counter-speech’ or responding rather than banning. This year’s Summer School reflects upon what counts as artificial amplification, inauthentic behaviour, organised hate, a dangerous individual and other categories of accounts and content that have been put into play to justify take downs. It seeks to develop research protocols to study removals and the politics of deletion and delisting. Specifically, it strives to organise projects that critically assess content review and moderation across platform types that result in removal or down listing. It also examines alternatives to removal, such as Wikipedia's flame retardation strategy for dealing with trolls, and introduces means to study them. Application deadline 10 June


PhD/Job Calls

Research Assistant/ PhD Candidate in Organisation Studies to research the impact of AI technologies, algorithms and datafication on everyday life - see here

PhD position for the research project DATA4ALL at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen - see here

Studentship A Data Ethics Framework for Agriculture read more

Social scientific doctoral student focused on transparency and explainability in a medical AI project see here

Three PhD positions at the University of Bologna for the research project 'The Hau of Finance: impact investing and the Globalization of Social and Environmental Sustainability'. Application details for global health and migration and climate finance and fintech read more here

Five PhD studentships at The Edinburgh Futures Institute supporting research into the ethical challenges posed by the growing use of data and artificial intelligence. Funded by global investment firm Baillie Gifford. Read more..

PhD scholarship in Public Communication of Artifical Intelligence in the Responsible Technology Group at DTU. Read more.. 


Opening hours are Tuesday and Thursday at 12.30-16:00 in 3A30 - please e-mail us at as long as the physical lab at ITU is closed.