Newsletter from Center for Digital Welfare
Newsletter from the Center for Digital Welfare - July 2021​​​​​​​
On going to Folkemødet, researching with civil society and much more 
The summer break is approaching, and we are wrapping up exams before a well-deserved break.

With the reopening, we have also resumed stalled activities: Project teams have gathered again, in some cases for the first time. With limited access to each other during the lockdown – as well as to the intended fieldwork – our research groups have used creative methods to collect and analyze data via digital means instead. In the spring semester, we have therefore seen an impressive amount of excellent research being produced across all our projects.

The reopening also means being able to attend events and conferences anew. While many of us participated online in the Nordic STS Conference at CBS as part of lively panels on topics like welfare, education, energy, citizenship, police work public surveillance and the home, we have also participated in person with a talk at MatchPoints at Aarhus University on Infrastructure Studies under the theme of Democracy in the Digital Age. Furthermore, we have been excited that Folkemødet (The People’s Gathering) was able to happen this year. Here, we hosted two lively and fun debates and participated in a third. We dedicate a section to this below.

Our new podcast series Klub Digital Velfærd (Club Digital Welfare) has hit the streets! Produced by our close collaborator Anders Kjærulff, each weekly episode connects insights from our research with current debates and societal actors. The podcast enables us to collectively share and reflect on digital welfare within and beyond academia, and we welcome you to listen in on the debate.

We are thrilled to welcome two new partners, both a brilliant addition to their working groups. Copenhagen Solutions Lab is part of Copenhagen Municipality and is joining the Digital Democratic Spaces working group. The lab explores data-driven solutions for the city and its inhabitants. Landsforeningen af Væresteder (The National Association of Drop-In Centers) is offering a range of day-time activities that empower many vulnerable citizens, one of which is the initiative Det Digitale Værested (The Digital Drop-In Center). They will now be part of our group Digital Citizenship. We look forward to our collaboration and knowledge exchange with both. Welcome to the center! 

With all our best, 
Barbara, Laura and Brit.

Short News
pieces of a puzzle
Putting digital welfare on the program
2021 saw the return of Folkemødet and we of course had to be there! Despite the COVID-19 safety restrictions, it was a lively affair, with panel debates in the day and chatting over beers in the evening.  

We hosted two exciting events and were delighted to be invited in another. First off was our Thursday debate with a discussion on digital inequality. We were joined by strong panel speakers Rikke Zeberg, Karen Melchior, Jesper Holten, Eva Flyvholm and our own researcher Søren Skaarup, who gave their viewpoints on what digital inequality is and where it comes from. Zeberg referred to underlying complexities in public systems as the root cause of non-user-friendly digital solutions; Holten stated that digital inequality to him means designing only for certain groups thus excluding the rest from the digital society; and Flyvholm said that digital inequality is an exacerbation of existing inequalities as often the most vulnerable groups are also the ones experiencing difficulties with digital solutions. If you want to hear more about digital inequality, you can watch the full debate on our LinkedIn.

Next up was Michael Hockenhull, representing Center for Digital Welfare in a brilliant panel on work after corona, organised by Videnscenter om Handicap (Specialist Centre on Disabilities). You can also watch this debate here.  

As the grand finale, we put the concept of digital welfare in a post-corona world up for debate. Head of Center Brit Ross Winthereik shared her two cents alongside figures such as Stine Bosse, Svend Brinkmann, Per Krøis Kjærsgaard and Mikael Ekman. Everyone took a point of departure in their own experiences during the Corona pandemic to highlight how it has influenced digital welfare in the future. While some referred to the handling of data in the aftermath of massive public testing, others had observed the formation and education of children and young people as being compromised, while some referred to a clear psychological experience of having become a digitally augmented human being. This debate can be watched in full here.

Thank you to everyone who tuned into our events and to our guests in the panels. We look forward to moving the conversations forward!

night photo of a Copenhagen’s street buildings and lights
Doing research with civil society actors
Our research project Critical Understanding of Predictive Policing (CUPP, led by Vasilis Galis) launched earlier this year and set out to explore how data innovations within the Danish, Estonian, Latvian, British, Norwegian and Swedish police institutions are influenced by values and organizational politics. Currently, there is a tendency for law enforcement to undergo a digital transformation in a bid to improve efficiency, and the CUPP project uses an interdisciplinary framework of Science and Technology Studies, Critical Criminology, and Critical Big Data Studies to analyse how policing is practised within this transformation. 

The project’s civil society partner is the Danish labour union PROSA whose brilliant expertise, insight and network are of great benefit to the research process and outcome. They will act as a bridge between researchers, professionals and the civil society at large. PROSA will organize events, workshops and public meetings concerning the technical implications of legislation as well as political implications of policing technologies. Furthermore, PROSA will take part in the formulation of CUPP’s idea catalogue, one of the central outputs of the project. We look forward to the collaboration with PROSA and to bringing news to our readers on the progress. You can read more about the CUPP project on their recently launched website.

In Other Words
Assistant Professor James Maguire and Professor Brit Ross Winthereik contributed to the publication Experimenting with Ethnography – A Companion to Analysis, published in June by Duke University Press. This collection of 21 essays opens new paths for doing ethnographic analysis. The contributors come from a variety of intellectual and methodological traditions and explore deliberate processes for experimental thinking through ethnography: exchanging objects, drawing images as a way of analysing data, or working with smartphones, sound recordings, and social media as analytic devices.  

Experimenting with Ethnography is available for purchase now, you can read the introduction in English for free here, and the entire publication is available with open access here.

When We're Not Doing Research, We…     
… Follow the work of machine-learning-design researcher and artist Caroline Sinders and read her newsletter the convolutional neural network of Caroline.

red front of the book Klara and The Sun
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… Listen to the podcast Blinde Vinkler (Blind Spots - in Danish) about technologies and science that aim at reducing challenges with racial and gendered biases.
Listen to Sudhir Breaks the Internet - a Freakonomics podcast hosted by Columbia University sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh giving a rare behind-the-scenes insight into working in big tech.

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Follow the Instagram of New Inc: the first museum-led incubator for art, design, and technology founded by the New Museum in New York.

Adamsone-Fiskovica, A., Galis, V., Masso, A., Nesterova, I., Gundhus, H. O. I. & Papada, E., 2021. Datafication of Police Work: Unboxing the Contested Social Practices of Public Surveillance. Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference May 20-21 2021.

Ballestero, A. & Winthereik, B. R. (eds), 2021. Experimenting with Ethnography: A Companion to Analysis. Duke University Press Books.

Wang, C. & Nino Carreras, B. P., (Accepted/In press), 2021. Beyond the Museum: Leadership Experiences from VR Production Studios. Curator: The Museum Journal.

Kjærulff, A., 2021. Klub Digital Velfærd. Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud. Center for Digital Welfare. (Accessed June 30 2021.)

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