June 2020

Research, Interrupted


Interrupted, in our daily life routines, in doing research, in establishing social and fieldwork relations, in conference networking and gathering face-to-face for discussions that matter. Alondra Nelson, a leading STS scholar, who in her role as president of the Social Science Research Council (USA) has described the sense of uncertainty facing social researchers: 

How do we do social research at a time when, for the foreseeable future, borders are closing, global cooperation is yielding to widespread mistrust, and necessary public health accommodations such as “social distancing” create hurdles for both human connection and research? While there are certainly digital and other means for accomplishing our work, what does it mean to do video interviews in a time of “deep fakes”? How do we account for the information that might be lost when physical contact is not possible, the inability to see gestures like toes tapping and nervous hands, the “intersubjective encounter”?
Alondra Nelson, SSRC, 2020)

For some, this "lockdown" has created precarious situations for social, family- and work-life. Premises and conditions for performance became asymmetrical as care-work, homebound internet-connections and restricted mobility affected individual circumstances. In academia, particularly junior researchers have been affected and suggested a response from ETHOS Lab for interrupted research-design and fieldwork. Co-head of Lab and Associate Professor Rachel Douglas-Jones and Post Doc Katrine Meldgaard Kjær have designed the response, a PhD course 'Research, Interrupted' and involved online peers from other international labs such as Vitality lab (AUS) and The Ethnographic Studio (US).

Our Twitter PhD course calls for applicants went viral and the number of applicants was overwhelming. Rachel and Katrine are therefore considering making the course material available as a resource for other institutions and universities to be inspired by and prompted to act on behalf of their juniors.  

The ETHOS Lab Junior Researchers will be presenting their exciting projects on June 9 for the final 'Pitch & Play' and we are very much looking forward to seeing how their hard work has manifested. If you, as a researcher at ITU, want to take part in this, please e-mail us.  

On the Meta-Data blog, we have tied up collective reflections and recommendations for the planning, participating and online hosting in a local node of the Distribute2020 conference. Prior to the pandemic, we had planned to gather for Distribute2020 in the Lab, watch the stream together, eat good food and discuss. Once universities began moving online, it became increasingly evident we would need to gather online too - to convene our existing network in Zoom and figure out ways to watch and discuss the conference together. Common or shared activity, captured locally in the Danish term “fælles”, is something we all miss while the University buildings are closed, and we live under conditions now known as “lockdown”.

This is our third newsletter during the COVID-19 pandemic Danish lockdown, hoping that when we return after the summer holidays, we will be in our physical lab space at the IT University. To end the semester off, we are inviting the ETHOS team and network to our annual summer party in "nature" with fun, games and social distancing. Please read the invitation below for Friday the 19th June from 15-17 and remember to register so we can update you on the details of when/where/what.

Finally, we want to congratulate several TiP researchers and their teams on grants (see other news) and highlight Rachel Douglas-Jones receiving a large grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark for the project `Moving Data-Moving People: Reorganizing Trust through China´s Social Credit System´. Congratulations! 

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

Have a great and safe summer!  

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

PhD Course 10-12 June [online]

PhD Course,

10-12 June [online] 

Research, Interrupted: Methods and (re)design of Fieldwork in Anthropology and STS

Rachel Douglas-Jones and Katrine Meldgaard Kjær have organized a PhD Course in the ETHOS Lab that focuses on research projects that have been interrupted and projects that are re-considering questions of method. 

Alondra Nelson, a leading STS scholar, who in her role as president of the Social Science Research Council (USA) has described the sense of uncertainty facing social researchers (see above in the newsletter). The response of more than 150 applications for our course suggests the overwhelming need for convening around the current challenges to research projects.

Since this course will take place online, we have invited colleagues around the world to prepare presentations on method, interruption and more. Keynotes are Andrea Ballestero, Ethnography Studio, Rice University USA and Marianne Clarke, Vitalities Lab, UNSW Sydney. 

Thank you to Jess Perriam and James Maguire for co-facilitating the course. 

The course is already filled but you can read more here.

Becoming a Node: Distribute 2020

Blog post:
Becoming a Node: Distribute 2020

Rachel Douglas-Jones, Marie Blønd, Caroline Salling, Ester Fritsch, and Marisa Cohn

Node: from Latin nodus ‘knot’

In the ETHOS Lab, we have gathered to study data visualisations – their persuasiveness, power and contemporary prominence – for half a decade. As part of the Navigating Complexity course here at ITU, students learn to explore Gephi visualisations, identifying and labelling “nodes”, critically analysing their significance. But this Spring, we became a node ourselves, for Distribute2020 a distributed online conference, hosted by the Society for Cultural Anthropology and Visual Anthropology, both organizations based in the United States of America.............. 

The blog post is encouraged by Anand Pandian’s write up of #Displace18 that made the idea of gathering around an online event, inspired by Michelle Bastian's reflections on running an online workshop and motivated by Bürge and Skelton’s invitations for node participants to work imaginatively together in “Organizing a Node”. We, the organisers and hosts of the ETHOS Node, have tied up a collective reflection and recommendation for hosting a local node - read it here



Friday 19th June from 15-17.00 

The ETHOS Lab Team and Network are invited to join the lab's summer party taking place outside in "nature" with fun, food and games.

We just climbed a pandemic mountain together, but apart. It's time for some social gathering (of course within the guidelines given by the Danish government) !!

Please sign up here so we can give you more details on when, where, what to bring. 


Final Pitch & Play by Junior Researchers

Tuesday 9th June, 9-11:30  

The ETHOS Lab Junior Researchers will be presenting their exciting projects on June 9 for the final 'Pitch & Play' and we are very much looking forward to seeing how their hard work has manifested.

If you, as a researcher at ITU, want to take part in this, please e-mail us on mblo@itu.dk. 

Read more about the Junior Researcher's projects here.  

Pandemic Diaries

Pandemic Diaries

The gradual opening of Danish society is taking place. National borders may even open. What is the "new normal"? How can we prepare for fall or design our social events? What does the future look like post-pandemic?

New vocabularies have entered our language, social distancing has re-configured us introvert, new tools have become our companion species and cui bono - who wins? 

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 lubl@itu.dk – 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


The Independent Research Fund Denmark (Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond) has granted funding for the project `Moving Data-Moving People: Reorganizing Trust through China´s Social Credit System´ with Principal Investigator Rachel Douglas-Jones. Link

Nordforsk has granted funding for the project `Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing´ by Vasilis Galis and team - Link

Nordforsk has granted funding for the project `Infrastructures for partially digital citizens: Supporting informal welfare work in the digitized state´ by Brit Ross Winthereik and team Link


Podcast Recommendation

> Julia Steinberger & Elena Hofferberth (University of Leeds) on Capitalism and Climate Breakdown: From Analysis to Rebellion from SOAS Economics: Seminar series, public lectures and events

> List of STS podcasts (from blogpost by Viktoriya Feshak)


How to Think About Science, Pt 1

Snap Judgement

Note to Self

Racoon Resistence

Farms Race

Digital Sociology

Burden of Proof

Telling Responsible Stories – Telling Stories Responsibly


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 https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/Dmi/DmiAbout


PhD/Job Calls

Research Project Coordinator (University of Oxford) Deadline 8th June - Read more

Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Science and Technology Studies (Technical University of Denmark) Deadline 28th July - Read more

PhD fellow (Copenhagen University) in Computer Supported Cooperative Work / Critical Data Studies in asylum decision-making - deadline 1st June (!) Read more

PhD fellow (Lund University) in Political Science, theme: The politics of plastics - deadline 3rd June (!) Read more 

PhD positions in Gender Studies (University of Stavanger) with a particular focus on ethics and technology-mediated care practices at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Deadline 1st August - Read more

PhD positions (NTNU, Norwegian The Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

1. Nurturing productive cultures of dense and flexible work spaces: The case of universities.

Norway is restructuring and partly rebuilding the main campus of its largest university. So far a likely outcome will be that we end up with an 'activity based' workplace concept, in which employees move more or less freely between different 'activity spaces'. Some employees thrive under these more flexible conditions, while others doubt that they can be productive at all without a permanent office. This PhD is expected to produce knowledge about the relation between academic knowledge production and its material conditions in the form of work spaces.

Application deadline: 15th June, Read more 

2. Representing zero emission built environments

A zero emission balance in the built environment is a very abstract thing, condensing into one number a large number of heterogeneous actors that are dispersed in space and time. How can such an abstract thing be communicated to those who are not fluent in the language of science? The PhD will search for new answers to this question by exploring a wide variety of sources, including but not restricted to art theory and innovative forms of journalism. The project's goal is to study and improve the current state of science communication in science based efforts to create carbon neutral built environments.

Application deadline: 30th June 2020, Read more 


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