Celebrating Ada Lovelace this year, Vasiliki Tsaknaki (Assistant Professor, ITU), Co-head of Lab Marisa Cohn (Associate Professor, ITU) and Lab Manager Marie Blønd designed an experiment in the form of an online workshop on Materializing Data with Macrame.
To warm up to the workshop in one of our Research Group meetings, Vasiliki introduced the ways that knots, tying, and textile arts like macrame, have (might) contributed to computational aesthetics and reflections. Prior to the workshop, we collected data on gender distribution at ITU for both students and staff, consisting of both "raw" and visualized versions, making them available to participants in the Macrame kits distributed before the workshop to participants.   
Attempting to materialize data in macrame, the experiment was conducted to reflect on what happens when we put data into our hands to think and work with through string, beads, and tying knots. E
xploring possible paths to visualizing gender data with macrame knots, we were simultaneously asking how data is produced, designed and communicated. Thinking through how tying and knots might be a way of transmuting and interpreting data on gender representation at our own institutions. More on this below and in the next newsletter... 

A new cohort of Junior Researchers in the lab is working on exciting projects. The projects range from ecological visions, #activism, CPR-registry to forms of learning and hackathons. Read more about the projects and Junior Researchers below and do not hesitate to engage with their brilliant minds. 

Python Study Group is running in covid-19 safe-mode which means a combination of online Discord and offline ITU meet-ups as planned. Thank you to Veronika and the volunteers for being agile in a difficult time for gatherings. Your engagements in giving ITU students the possibility for learning programming in an informal and supportive environment is especially important in these pandemic times. Veronika will have a blogpost in the next newsletter on the unusual experience this semester and last session for the study group will be on the 25th November.  

Blogpost includes reflections on the ETHOS Lab & RethinkIT's experimental DataWalk in Amager Fælled by Luuk Blum. Luuk is active in both communities and frames his reflections with critical inquiries from three years of studying MSc in Digital Innovation & Management at the IT University. 
Former Junior Researcher, now working for Demant, has a blog post on the blindspots of needing ethnographic enquiry when implementing algorithms in decision-making processes. 
Finally, as part of a series 'mastering disaster', Lab intern and junior researcher Benedicte Lange from MCTS, reflects on the semi-automatic process of doing transcriptions using the tool scrintalThe series is a research diary that accompanies the process of writing his master thesis, containing rants, tools, experiences and more.

The reading group Activism X Research coordinated by Lab Assistant and Extinction Rebellion activist Luuk Blum is meeting up on the 20th November for a session - are you interested? Please contact Luuk on lubl@itu.dk  The reading group takes a Stangerian stance approaching research as a constructive enterprise, a diverse, interdependent, and highly contingent system that does not simply discover pre-existing truths but, through specific practices and processes, helps shape them. To inform this process in a way that questions the dominance of academic expert knowledge the goal is to have about half of the participants active within activism, whereas the other half comes from within ITU.

What was going to be a September SURPRISE has been postponed. The book launch on a second volume of the GDPR Deletion Poetry Chapbook!!! The event will most likely be small and held at the volunteer-run bookstore Ark in Copenhagen where it will also be available for purchase.

Interact with us and keep you and us posted on social media [twitter, facebook Instagram] or see you in the next newsletter.

All the best,

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

In search of utopia through data

Ada Lovelace with workshop 

Workshop designed by Co-Head of Lab and Associate Professor Marisa Cohn, Assistant Professor Vasiliki Tsaknaki and Lab Manager Marie Blønd 

To celebrate the international Ada Lovelace Day this year we celebrated by enrolling the lab team into the hands-on workshop Materializing Data with Macrame. 

The history of computation is filled with contributions made by women and their ingenuity, crafts, and art. Exploring possible paths to visualizing gender data with macrame knots, we reflected on how data is produced, designed and communicated. Working hands on with macrame to explore how tying and knots might be a way of transmuting and interpreting data on gender representation at our own institutions. Read more about the workshop


Blog Post

The need for ethnographic enquiry

Written by Amalie Blixt, Junior Researcher in Spring 2020 - now digital business graduate at Demant

We are told that this is the age of algorithms, of machine learning, of big data....
From January to June 2020, Amalie wrote her thesis by immersing herself into an ethnographic study of an algorithm integrated into a large financial company to assist operational decision processes. It became in some ways, a real-life confirmation of Tricia Wang’s statement that “big data needs thick data” (Wang, 2013). However, this opinion was not widely shared in a business environment dominated by numbers. For this company, a machine learning algorithm was unknown territory as this was the first time they would integrate an algorithm into the operational environment. 

"Well, it was the first time [the Machine Learning department] put something into production that had to be interpreted by people."
- Informant/Data scientist 
Read Amalie's blog post here


New Junior Researchers

Welcome Casper, Rikke, Natasja, Benedict and Luis!

We are thrilled with the diversity that the small group of Junior Researchers bring to the lab this semester. 

As a Junior Researcher you do a project in the lab - either related to the lab's themes/projects or a project reflecting your own interest or experimentation. The junior researchers have already done their first "Pitch & Play" and are experimenting with an engaging format online for the second one.

Projects this year range from themes such as hashtag activism, ecological visions, learning, sustainability to hackathons! Read more about the projects here

In search of utopia through data

Blog Post

In search of utopia through data

Written by Luuk Blum, ETHOS LAB Assistant and activist

After the lab's experimental DataWalk in AmagerFælled, Luuk Blum, also a participant in the ecological community RethinkIT, student in Digital Innovation and Social Justice & Climate Activist, reflects and addresses pressing questions following three years of studying MSc Digital Innovation & Management: 

• Why is it possible to speak about the effectiveness of technological products that have been unable to accommodate a design that lasts more than a few decades?

• Why should we accept the objective theories of economic experts that won’t incorporate the scarcity of resources whose exhaustion it had been their mission to predict (Mitchell, 2011)?

• Why could we call, rationalist, technological systems part of an ideal of civilization responsible for a forecasting error so great that it hinders parents from leaving a better future for their children?

• As we delegate the faculty of speed to machine and the entangled structures of their creation, why do we lose the pain of a scarcity of resources, wasteful design, and unlivable futures?

Read the blogpost here

Mastering disaster: Semi-Automatic Interview Transcription

Blog Post

Semi-Automatic Interview Transcription

Written by Benedict Lang Lab Intern, and Junior Researcher

The series mastering disaster is a research diary that accompanies the process of writing my master thesis. It contains rants, tools, experiences, and more. Written in the hope that someone may find it inspiring or helpful. Transcribing Interviews is not the most beloved task of scientists. While some say that they start to interact closely with their material during the transcription process it still remains a huge amount of work. For my master thesis project, I had in total a bit more than 5 hours of interviews to transcribe. Being a part of ETHOS Lab and having access to the resources of the lab meant that I could use an online tool to semi-automize my transcription process. Read the blog post here


Other News & Info


Tools and experiments

New edition to the podcast list is 
Episode of Anthropod on mapping as "ethnographic method and an activist mode of research" in the episode what ACTIVISM sounds like!

The Cognitive Bias podcast by David Dylan Thomas exploring the world of things we do that don't make any rational sense, one bias at a time.

Find the full list of podcasts here

>> Also read the SAGE paper by Ian M Cook Critique of podcasting as an anthropological method

Sketch Engine Software

ETHOS Lab pushed for an institutional license of Sketch Engine (NLP), so any ITU staff or student can use their institutional login to use the software. Go to https://auth.sketchengine.eu


Moving Data, Moving People is welcoming new Research Assistant Qiuyua who will be hosted by the ETHOS Lab, starting this month. Principal Investigator is co-head of Lab Rachel Douglas-Jones - read more about the project

Center for Digital Welfare kicked off the research project STAY HOME funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. The ethnographic data collected in the Everyday Digitalization project is already being put to good use in a cross-disciplinary collaboration with the Theological Faculty and the Saxo Institute from University of Copenhagen, the Architect school, and ITU. Read more about the project



Tomorrow is looking for designers and developers

Positions in STS listed at 4S 

The Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI), with the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, seeks to appoint a Chancellor’s Fellow for EFI’s Centre for Technomoral Futures (CTMF). The successful candidate will hold a primary academic appointment in the Department of Philosophy while working with EFI’s new Centre for Technomoral Futures to develop an ambitious portfolio of interdisciplinary research, teaching and public engagement that advances understanding of the ethical implications of emerging developments in AI, machine learning, and other data-driven technologies. Read more here


LAB opening hours 

Tuesday and Thursday, 12.30-16:00 in 3A30
Limit: 5 people in the lab