The lab research community both hosts and serve as an inspirational playground for research projects. We sometimes engage in projects together and at other times create connections beyond the lab.

Ongoing Projects

Learn about the ongoing projects we are currently working with.

Erasure Poetry and the GDPR

Beginning in 2018, this project has engaged the new General Data Protection Regulation through the form of erasure poetry. Through events in Denmark and internationally, we have convened academics and publics to create erasure poems from the text of the GDPR. Selections have been published in two erasure poetry collections. The collections are available through the Lab, and have been used in training workshops around the world! For an account of the process, see here.

Monster Writing
‘Monster Writing’ approaches writing as a vulnerable practice marked by an unstable boundary between bodies: bodies of text and bodies of the writer. Drawing on feminist theory on vulnerability, embodiment and the monstrous as well as scholarship on creative writing/experimental methods, we develop and organize writing workshops that engage with these instabilities as well as address experiences of difficulties, anxieties, and uncertainty in relation with the text and writing process. We also publish on these subjects, arguing that this potentially more troubled relationship between writer and text should be explored further in scholarship on writing.
SSH Knowledge and Business Sustainability Database
This project critically analyses the sustainability efforts of large Danish companies in the face of multiple climate crises. Such organizations are required by law to detail their efforts to combat climate change in their annual reports, and this research project seeks to use this open data to 1) create a research infrastructure with easy access to the data for others to use and 2) analyze what kind of sustainability efforts companies engage in, and what kind of expertise and knowledge they are based on. The project leverages overlapping traditions such as infrastructure studies, digital methods and the emerging field of digital sustainability, exploring how sustainability is being reported and providing a better overview for further research into this topic.
Moving Data, Moving People
The Moving Data Moving People project is a 5 year ethnographic study of the emergent Social Credit System in China. ETHOS colleagues have been involved in early online ethnography, the establishment of infrastructure for Weibo data collection and analysis, and RAs from the project have been based in the Lab. The MDMP project will be exploring experimental methods 2021-2025.
Computing within Limits

Since 2021, the lab has been host to a solar server. Inspired by the set-up at the Low-Tech Magazine, the solar server  currently hosts the blog and serves as experimental infrastructure. By limiting the energy and forcibly adapting to the energy cycles of the environment. This limitation of energy changes the way we conceive of usual IT infrastructures such as websites or services. Currently the server is being used to host a YouTube transcript downloader. T

Feminist Technoscience in Practice

Through the Feminist Technoscience in Practice initiative, we aim to teach tangible technical skills related to feminist, DEI, and justice-oriented practices. We do this through a workshop format that combines mini-lectures with hands-on exercises. So far these workshops have focused on data visualisations, accessibility tools, and generative AI. 

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The VIRT-EU project was a Horizon 2020 collaboration between five European research partners the London School of Economics (UK), Open Rights Group (UK), Uppsala University (SE), Politechnico di Torino (IT) and Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (DK) hosted at the IT University of Copenhagen. The project aimed to demonstrate how ethical questions can and should be addressed in the development of technology. The project outputs include tool prototypes for self-assessment and for convening conversations about ethics. ETHOS facilitated conversations between the project’s ethnographers and its network analysis scholars, hosted IoT Day with project members in 2018 and 2019.

Nordic Engineers Ethics of AI Report
In 2019, ETHOS facilitated a workshop for the Nordic Association of Engineers to produce a joint statement for Nordic engineers on artificial intelligence and ethics. The report is an outcome of a workshop arranged by ETHOS Lab and ITU researchers, in which Nordic engineers gathered to discuss issues of artificial intelligence and ethics, and put forth policy recommendations and guidelines for engineering practice. You can read the full report here:
Mapping a Colony

ETHOS Lab is part of a funded Europeana research project called Mapping a Colony, marking the centennial of the sale of the Danish West Indies (present day US Virgin Islands) to the United States. The project was conducted in collaboration with The Royal Library, the Uncertain Archives project, the Past’s Future project, and lead by the author Lene Asp. The objective of the Mapping a Colony project was to create an interactive map to highlight and investigate Danish colonial heritage, and ETHOS took a role in discussing the politics of mapping, creating an interactive map based on the databases, and participating in the interdisciplinary datasprint ‘Representing History Through Data‘.

Data as Relation

Data as Relation was a Velux Fonden research project hosted in the TiP group between 2017 and 2020, and focused on digitalization in the Danish State. The ETHOS Lab was a site of methods experimentation in the project, supporting conversations across the PhD projects, hosting “shut up and code” sessions, and a data sprint on Techplomacy. The focus of methodological experimentation in the project was about bringing different fieldsites together in conversation. One way in which this was done was through monster theory, creating a Bestiary of Digital Monsters, as a means of generating conversations across field-sites.

Student Surveillance Project

During the spring semester of 2021, lecturers suddenly discovered that a new risk algorithm predicting student drop-out was activated in ITU’s online learning platform; LearnIT operating through Moodle software. While the algorithm got deactivated, a student project in collaboration with ETHOS lab started, investigating the naturalisation of surveillance in learning platforms and their connection to how universities get funded.

Ethos as Data Provider

Offering the lab as a site for supervision and consulting in Digital Methods can be complicated in the messiness of reality, where we periodically receive requests to harvest and provide data from social media. We occasionally feel a sense of ambivalence, uneasiness and even resistance towards handing over datasets and leaving them in the hands of others. The project ”ETHOS as a Data Provider” attends to what kind of data ethics we find ourselves involved in by incorporating two entangled tracks. The first track concerns reflecting on and qualifying our internal process of handling these requests, and the other is to participate in the academic conversations of data ethics in practice and contribute to the field.

Returning and Resisting ”Normalcy” as a University Worker

Since we returned to our offices in Summer 2021, there has been a buzzing in the corners of the Lab. Conversations on how corona and the political handling of it has affected our work life has spread, and an insistence to fundamentally (re)think working conditions for knowledge producers given the prevailing neoliberal influence has grown. We consider this to be a reoccurring theme within the Lab community, and a project which is slowly figuring and finding its form. The process is highly valuable and perhaps this is the very project. 

Making Sense of Medicinal Cannabis Debates

Making sense of medicinal cannabis debates is a 3-year research project about discourses surrounding the current Danish pilot programme for medicinal cannabis. The very introduction of medicinal cannabis is often assumed to be intrinsically linked to the digitalized media landscapes where the “public” voice has a new power to mobilize and build political pressure, which is investigated and questioned by mapping the evolution of the online debate about medicinal cannabis in Denmark. The project combines digital “issue mapping” approaches with qualitative methods and explores how critical inquiry into digital methods can qualify their use.

Nordic Approaches to Algorithmic Systems

Centered around a series of three workshops, the project entails to conceptualize a Nordic approach to critical algorithm studies. The project is a collaboration between Tampere University, Helsinki University, Stockholm University, and ITU, working towards contributing to the conversations on automation, categorization, and other key features of human-machine collaborations through a unique understanding from Nordic settings. Participants bring in a broad range of scholarly backgrounds, and further include actors from outside academia. An additional objective is the establishment of a network on the topic with a strong focus on supporting junior scholars. ETHOS contributes to foster an explorative, creative, dialogue across the disciplines and hosts the workshops in Copenhagen.

Absent Data

This project considers the ways in which silences and absences are central parts of research relying on automated data collection from social media or the internet. As these research methods have gained popularity within social science and humanities, it becomes ever more pertinent to consider how we engage with digital data, and how both engagement and data are situated, messy and contingent. Based on experiences with ‘missing’ data, the project mobilizes the framework of hauntology to make sense of the relationships we may build with missing data, and how silences haunt research practices. We reimagine absent data not as a limitation, but rather an invitation to reflect on and establish new methods for working with automated data collections.

Unexamined Data - Living with Ambivalences

Research projects often end up with data and empirical material left unexamined. Often, we hold onto these materials with the anxiety and hope that they will become useful someday. Or perhaps we do not know how best to dispose of them. In this project we have stored a black box of empirical data gathered over multiple lab events and workshops without opening it. Through this experiment we live with the ambivalences of unexamined data and consider both institutional GDPR requirements as well as the collective responsibility for its liminal status as material that requires care until its eventual use or disposal.

Past Projects

Explore a selection of past projects the lab has participated in.

Junior Researcher Projects

Here are the most recent Junior Researcher projects. You can check out the full collection in the Junior Researcher flipbook. To read more about how to join the programme, visit the Teaching and Activities page.

A literature review on gender inclusivity in software
Solveig Felbo

Motivated by curiosity and frustration with my initial lack of knowledge, I decided to study gender inclusivity in software. I’ve done this through a systematic literature review for my 7,5 ECTS research project. I’m coding 20 articles based on the 3 questions: (1) What is gender-inclusive software? (2) How to develop gender-inclusive software? and (3) What are the advantages of offering gender-inclusive software? I’ve found no clear definitions, a lack of guidelines and little academic research on the advantage of making software gender-inclusive. Therefore, I aim to spread knowledge on the topic and create guidelines to implement in my thesis, hoping to collaborate with companies on making their software more gender-inclusive.

Understanding Pro-Ana content in the Context of Femininity on TikTok

Anna Shams Ili

The online world(s) of pro-ana consists of a variety of digital spaces in which users discuss eating disorders, often with a lens of glorification and romanticization. This project looks at pro-ana content on TikTok, using a hashtag co-occurrence network to map how pro-ana content relates to femininity and ideas of woman/girlhood.

I am also interested in finding methods to investigate online cultures, especially on platforms such as TikTok which offer a new type of connectivity from the traditional message boards. Pro-ana is an example of content that can be harmful to both those creating it and those finding it, and I’m interested in understanding how the construction of femininity interacts with the presentation of disordered eating online. The project investigates this both through the links of types of content in a network, as well as netnography on both TikTok and an eating disorder forum
Reproducing Digital Music in Practice

Marcus Skjold Pedersen

This research project has been an exploration of the social complexity of how music is reproduced and played from digital files. Specifically, I have focused on the role of the DJ, because I found a tension between how the DJ is seen to be a performer of music, yet is also understood to reproduce the performance of others. I started out asking questions, like:

What even is a piece of recorded music? What does it mean to DJ? And what is the difference between listening to music and performing it? I challenged my thinking through interviews, play activities and practical involvement in event organizing.

This led me to discover
conflicting yet coexisting ways that music is considered a social and economic phenomenon.

From Bias to Balance: Experimenting with an Inclusive Dating App

Sonja Anna Sartys

Given the intersection of technology in everyday life and the resulting effects on social interactions, this project explores the biases inherent in the algorithms of dating apps. My research delves into how these algorithms, driven by user interaction data,
disproportionately emphasize physical appearances, thereby reinforcing societal prejudices.

User feedback highlights a widespread desire for connections that transcend superficial traits. In response, I have designed a conceptual layout for an experimental dating app that de-emphasizes physical appearance and fosters engagement through interactive, playful elements. This app aims to promote relationships based on shared interests and
interactions, ideally utilizing bias-aware algorithms and incorporating continuous user feedback to refine the experience dynamically. This initiative not only addresses fundamental
issues within current dating technologies but also introduces innovative, inclusive solutions for enhancing digital dating environments.

Exploring the Fragility of Human-AI Relationships

Anna Mørch Folkmann &
Mia Selina Roberta Hoell

Inspired by the sharp rise in human interaction and connection with AI, our project delves into the intricacies of romantic human-AI relationships. We focus on the dynamics and challenges inherent in relationships where one party is an AI, specifically examining the social chatbot, Replika. Developed in 2017 and marketed as the ‘companion who cares,’ Replika
now boasts a user base of 10 million, providing a comprehensive framework for our exploration.

Through in-depth interviews with users and digital ethnography on social media forums for Replika users, our research investigates various dimensions of relationship-building with Replika. We examine the construction of fantasies and storylines, the delegation of care work—which often reflects gendered choices to liberate oneself and leave emotional labour to the AI partner—and the vulnerabilities that affect these relationships, such as technical glitches and software updates that can disrupt the dynamics of the relationship.