Newsletter from the Center for Digital Welfare - June 2022
Welcome to the June Newsletter!
Having hustled and bustled our way through a busy spring, the researchers at the Center for Digital Welfare are now looking forward to summer. Yet, we still have a bunch of exciting center activities ahead of us before leaving for holiday in July: Most notably, we will be venturing out on a couple of expeditions, make our presence known at DASTS 2022, as well as joining this year’s Folkemødet on Bornholm. To learn more, check out the Coming Up! section below.

We are happy to announce that the CDW family continues to grow! In early May, KLLocal Government Denmark – and The Danish Institute for Human Rights became members of the center. KL, who has joined the Digital Citizenship working group, is the association and interest organization of the 98 Danish municipalities, and DIHR, joining the Agile State working group, is an independent state-funded institution, which promotes and protects human rights in Denmark and internationally. A warm welcome to both organizations!

Amongst other exciting center activities these past months were Professor Noortje Marres’ research presentation on artificial intelligence controversies, the co-hosted conference on dataethics with a keynote by Executive Vice-President and European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, and the two-day spring seminar at the ITU with our Scandinavian partners from the SOS-project. What a spring it has been!

Now, turning to the content of this newsletter: Scroll down to read about the CDW researchers' most recent activities, learn more about Simy Kaur Gahoonia's work on the 3- year trial of school subject 'technology comprehension', and check out the upcoming CDW events and research activities.

We hope you will enjoy the read!

Brit, Kitt and Rasmus

Short News
Professor Noortje Marres gave both a public presentation on artificial intelligence controversies and joined a half-day workshop at the CDW | Several CDW researchers gathered with the Scandinavian partners of the SOS-project gathered for a 2-day spring seminar at the ITU (the above picture is the result of an exercise, visualizing the research team) | Giacomo Poderi and Joanna Saad-Sulonen et al. have just launched the podcast Commoning Design & Designing Commons. Give it a listen here! | At CPDP, Katja de Neergaard co-presented on 'Past-present perspective on privacy in social negotiations' and at ICA Mobile, she co-organized a workshop titled ‘Context convergence in mobile phone use: Mapping multiplicities of presence, digital inequalities, and well-being across the Global North and South’ | Professor Brit Winthereik spoke at the CDW co-hosted conference on dataethics, which among others also starred Executive Vice-President and European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager.

What We Know About Technology Comprehension Today
The Ministry of Children and Education’s trial of mandatory subject 'technology comprehension' (Da: teknologiforståelse) in the Danish public schools came to an end last fall. The final evaluation report was released 4 October 2021 and marked the end of the 3-year experiment in how to establish and practice the new school subject. However, six months later, the fate of technology comprehension remains uncertain. It appears, the Ministry has no plans to continue on with the subject - at least not in the shape we have come to know it over the past few years. PhD Fellow Simy Kaur Gahoonia, whose research  revolves around the trial of technology comprehension, has taken note of how actors have been expressing growing concern for the lack of political vision for the school subject.

The original idea behind technology comprehension was to put together a creative-constructive, analytical, and critical subject matter, where students would reflect on digital technology’s impact on society vice-versa, but also work ‘hands-on’ with ‘the digital material’ e.g., coding, prototyping and 3D printing. Implemented in 2019-2021, 46 schools and their teaching staff tested the subject, teaching and adapting technology comprehension to the reality of their respective schools, classrooms, and everyday teaching practice. Accordingly, teachers and students alike gained experience with the new workflows and learning processes that teaching about digital technologies demand—e.g., experimentation, failure, iteration, problem-solving and new roles for teachers and students. The trial generated a ton of practical and theoretical knowledge, but after the end of the trial the question remains how it will be put to use in the future.

Today, several stakeholders worry that the trial results will be lost entirely, as has previously been the case with trials and experiments in the Danish public schools. For instance, the industry stakeholder IT-Branchen stresses that the Ministry should spearhead further development of an IT subject for public schools, and University College Copenhagen (a consortium partner in the trial) remarks that it is not just the business sector that will suffer due to a lack of political vision for technology comprehension on the school agenda: At large, Danes and Danish society will be at a disadvantage. As it is now, invaluable knowledge and experience from the trial are at risk either of remaining tacit only to the people who have been involved with the trial, or of being lost entirely.

Most recently, the Danish government released their new digitalization strategy in which it mobilizes the Danish public schools for their strategic efforts of earning Danes digital competences: In fact, DKK 220 mill. have been earmarked for technology in public school teaching and teaching practices. This renewed political focus is likely to launch new initiatives in the school sector, where, hopefully, ‘old’ knowledge generated in the technology comprehension trial is appreciated. Perhaps, technology comprehension will set new standards for how politicians might take experiences from public schools subject trials into consideration.

To learn more about Simy's work, feel free to contact her at

Coming Up!
On 1 June, Giacomo Poderi will be co-charing the panel 'Caring and Commoning in/through STS interventions' at DASTS 2022 | Also at DASTS 2022, on 2-3 June, Christopher Gad will be giving the presentation ‘Udredning – Udtrykt’ | On 3 June, the Digital Democratic Spaces working group will be going on expedition to the VR and AR Production Studio Khora | On 8 June, Irina Papazu is launching her newest co-authored book, 'Democratic Situations' | On 10 June, Anne-Sofie Lautrup Sørensen et al. is giving the talk ‘Chemical Exposure in ‘Intergenerational Times’: reflections on toxicity, molecular relations, and climate change’ at the UCL's Chemical Exposures Workshop | On 17 June, the Agile State working group is meeting for an expedition at SOHO in Copenhagen | Also, on 17 June, the Sustainable Digitalization working group will be hosting the event 'Climate Jeopardy!' at Folkemødet 2022. Come join us in Danchells Debattelt (A38) on 17 June at 1130am!

New Publications!
Birkbak, A. and I. Papazu (eds). 2022. Democratic Situations. Mattering Press. Manchester, UK.

Pedro Sanches, Noura Howell, Vasiliki Tsaknaki, Tom Jenkins, and Karey Helms. 2022. Difraction-in-action: Designerly Explorations of Agential Realism Through Lived Data. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Com- puting Systems (CHI ’22), April 29-May 5, 2022, New Orleans, LA, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 18 pages.

Dear readers, we are working on improving the accessibility of our newsletter. If you run into any issues while browsing our newsletter, or you have suggestions to make the newsletter more enjoyable, email our co-editor Rasmus Egebjerg at

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