First Day – Gendered based violence (GBV) and Violence against women (VAW)

Why services targeted for women and girls -specially- are needed?

Why services targeted for women and girls -specially- are needed?

Today we had the opportunity to dig into the topic guided by Pia Oksanen from Naisten Linja We had many discussions about the theme, first by trying to understand the difference between basic concepts like gendered based violence (GBV) and the more politically charged violence against woman (VAW). We tried to get familiar with real stories of women that had experienced violence and are survivors. Here you can find an interesting compilation that Naisten Linja has collected under their “Share your secret” (Jaa salaisuus) campaing, the stories can be browsed online here (and in NL facebook page).

You can find here a PDF with the slides that Mariana and Andrea used for introduction. We did our first round of brainstorming, very basic and working from our background readings, the stories and the morning discussion… all in all 30 ideas were formulated. We will try to document them for NL.

First sketches

First sketches

Task for second day:

  • Make “seed concepts”

– Go back to work with your partner (we can also change pairs)

– Reformulate as many ideas as possible into seeds of a “design concept”

– You can take old ideas and ideas from other teams – We will collect these for NL too!

  • Read:

– Chiara, Diana, Elena Pacenti, and Roberta Tassi. (2009). “Visualtiles – Communication Tools for (Service) Design.” In De Thinking Service, ReThinking Design. Oslo.


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Preparing for the Workshop

In order to prepare for the workshop we are asking everybody to get familiar with the following 4 readings before the workshop.

Some Facts and Background information

1) World Heath Organization (2014) Violence against Women – Fact Sheet # 239. Available:

2) Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women – Finland (No. 15). Helsinki, Finland: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Available: Read pages 14-24 (browse the rest)

ICTs Digital Media and Violence Against Women (VAW)

3) Dimond, J. P., Fiesler, C., & Bruckman, A. S. (2011). Domestic violence and information communication technologies. Interacting with Computers, 23(5), 413–421. doi:10.1016/j.intcom.2011.04.006 Read the whole article (should be available while logged in Aalto Network)

4) Kee, Jac sm. (2006). Cultivating Violence through Technology? Exploring the Connections between Internet Communication Technologies (ICT) and Violence Against Women (VAW). Association of Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Program.
THL. (2011).  Read from page 8 to 25 (browse the rest)

We will complete a list of suggested readings and useful resources which you can check in the schedule section of this site (to be updated). During the workshop we will also be looking at other material and readings -some of them will be more design oriented-.

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1 week workshop: Digital services for NaistenLinja

Johanna and Veera Amnelin, You are not alone (Et ole yksin),  (2013)

Johanna & Veera Amnelin, You Are Not Alone (Et ole yksin), (2013) – Art work for the Jaa Salaisuus campaign

A 1 week (3 credits) workshop on designing new online support services for woman that have experience violence or threat of violence (23.2 – 27.2). During the workshop we will explore the role that digital services have (might have) and the problematic surrounding this phenomena. WS consists of hands-on with service design approaches, reflection on the role of digital technologies and developing concrete concepts that can help Naisten Linja renew their service portfolio.  Naisten Linja ry is a Finnish NGO that provides support and advice for women and girls (also their friends and relatives) who have experienced violence or threat of violence.

Following NL strategy for the next years; we hope to focus on services that support marginalized groups and those that need special attention (including Roma women, disabled women, women who have been or are in prison, women who have experience stalking)

There is a preliminary version of the schedule available here and also instructions for the preliminary assignment (reading list)

Final deliverables: 1) A 10 min stand alone AV presentation of the proposed concept together with a blog post 2) A “How to Manual” for Naisten Linja documenting the concept and possible next steps 3) A learning diary

Register in WebOODI

For further info contact: andrea-dot-botero-at-aalto-dot-fi


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Spring 2015 partner: Naisten Linja ry (women’s line)

We are very happy to announce that during the spring 2015 our partner will be Naisten Linja ry (Women´s Line) a Finnish NGO that provides support and advice for women and girls (also their friends and relatives) who have experienced violence or threat of violence. Naisten Linja´s most known service is a national, toll-free phone helpline. They have been thinking and experimenting with other online tools and services as part of their service renewal strategy and we will be working to support them so they can continue doing this.

From NMTS study project they hope to find ideas, resources, concepts and tools that help them develop new online support services as well as understand better new challenges like online violence and survailance. Following NL strategy for the next years; we hope to engage in particular with marginalized groups and those that need special attention (including Roma women, disabled women, women who have been or are in prision, women who have experience stalking)

Our work will be based on design research, prototyping with people and some serious engagement with literature. As this is a study project of about 6 -8 credits we expect people to be able to commit a substantial amount of time and effort.

This study project is targeted for MA students in New Media, however all ARTS students are also encouraged to apply. We also welcome other students across Aalto interested in the themes and setting.

More about the schedule and content to be updated in this section of the blog soon!

Sign-up method:

ARTS students: An expression of interest (including background and motivation -1 A4) to be sent to andrea.botero[at] before 16th of January, after which instructions to register in Oodi are given. Course code is DOM-E5042  (Note: deadline was extended).

Other Aalto students: use Aalto mobility application in eAge (deadline was by 30.11. but one can always ask) Guidelines in Into here: After this send an expression of interest (including background and motivation – 1 A4) to andrea.botero[at]


Go and like Naisten Linja in Facebook, or follow them in twitter. They are also having an interesting crowd-sourcing campaign to produce a book about violence and survival stories. 

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Results from the Suomenlinna workshop!

Last wednesday, the 12th of March, was our last session for the NMTS study project. It has been a long study project, spanning the autumn and spring semesters. It was also full of ups and downs, with the political situation in Lebanon affecting the way the study project shaped up. The initial excitement related to the planned Beirut trip was soon shattered by our dean’s decision not to give us the permission to go. We of course understand and respect her decision, but it nonetheless made it hard to keep our spirits up. Thanks to Nina and Anna’s effort, we managed to invite 2 of our Lebanese partners, Doreen and David, for an intensive workshop with students. The results of this workshop were the following:

Team Alt City (Akshay, Katharina, David) proposed a series of ainter-related activities, organised by Alt City, to encourage university students to come up with novel business and start up ideas. A concrete outcome was the Product Validation and Propotyping handbook, which would be given to participants of the first series of activities – the Ideas Workshop. Alt City is going to implement these ideas and use this workshop as soon as possible.

Katharina, Akshay and David's ideas for AltCity Workshops

Katharina, Akshay and David’s ideas for AltCity Workshops

A new activities timeline for AltCity

A new activities timeline for AltCity

The Validation and Prototyping handbook

The Validation and Prototyping handbook


Team MENA Design Research Centre (Andreas, Pirkka, Pouyan, Doreen) came up with a 2.0 version for the original MENA strategy. This time, instead of focusing only on designers, MENA would approach and work with a series of other stakeholers, such as NGOs, identified gatekeepers, and students in general.

Andreas, Pirkka, Puyan, and Doreen's Desmeem 2.0 ideas for the MENA Design Center

Andreas, Pirkka, Puyan, and Doreen’s Desmeem 2.0 ideas for the MENA Design Center

The new MENA strategy report

The new MENA strategy report

A sketch of the new Desmeen 2.0 strategy

A sketch of the new Desmeen 2.0 strategy

Additionally, Vesa, whose project partner Lamba Labs could not make it to the Helsinki workshop, decided to compile a guide for Lamba Lab entitled “Activating the Lamba Labs Community by Communications and Social Media.”

Vesa's analysis of the challenges Lamba Labs is facing and proposals to how to overcome them

Vesa’s analysis of the challenges Lamba Labs is facing and proposals to how to overcome them

The students are still polishing these reports in collaboration with their Lebanese partners. We will put them online here as soon as the final versions are ready.

Laura and Merja took another path with the study project and will write an essay related to one of the themes covered in Spring and their own experiences.

Finally, even though the work is done with this NMTS study project, Nina and Anna continue actively with creating connections between Aalto University and Beirut. They will organise a  Lebanon-Finland Roundtable at the Aalto University later this Spring!

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Suomenlinna WS

2 days intensive WS at Suomenlinna led by Anna, Nina and Fransisco, with Alt City group (David, Akshay, Katharina) and MENA group (Doreen, Andreas, Pirkka, and Pouyan). Lots of talk, ideas, doodles, computer work, music, food, relay running competition, some sunshine, some wet snow, birds singing… presentations of the outcomes will take place on monday 3.3, 10:30-12!

DSCF1932 DSCF1939 DSCF1940 

DSCF1942 DSCF1926 20140302_006

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Beirut comes to Helsinki!

The situation in Lebanon being what it is, we did not receive the aproaval from our university to take the trip we had planned to Beirut. Needless to say, this was a serious blow :((( However, we have the pleasure of hosting Doreen from MENA Research Center and David from Alt City for some days in Helsinki! They will take part in an intensive workshop with the students….iiiinnnn Suomenlinna 🙂


Here is the programme. There might be some slight changes and tweaks as we go:
Screen shot 2014-03-02 at 15.22.08Screen shot 2014-03-02 at 15.24.34Screen shot 2014-03-02 at 15.25.05



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Spring semester starts!

case-workingVesa, Laura, Akshay, Pouyan, Merja, Katharina, Andreas, Pirkka and hopefully Sasha are continuing with  our Helsinki-Beirut work in the NMTS study project! Our first meeting took place on 15.1 and we already got down to thinking of interesting concepts for our partners in Beirut. One real life situation we are dealing with is the problematic political situation in Lebanon currently and we don’t know if we will get the official OK from our university to go there. But, we’re keeping our fingers crossed. If it doesn’t succeed, we do have several Plan Bs 🙂

Next class is Wednesday 22.1 in Aalto BIZ, Arkadia building, Lapuankatu 2, room E 128 (Please notice that is NOT the BIZ main building, but another one not far). Check the schedule for details.

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What we have been up to

It is November already and our study project is coming closer to the “fields” where we aim to make an intervention. In this post I will make links to some of the materials that our guests and us have been sharing.

Playing the silent game

Playing the silent game in class 1) master, assistant and observer at work 2) Debriefing session, looking at what was done.

We have been reading and discussion a lot around issues of participation, collaboration and engagement. To make some of the issues concrete we have also played some “games” in the image you see some of us playing a version of the classic “Silent Game” (Harbraken et. al. 1987 with a modification by  Iversen and Buur 2000) where through a simple simulation of a design process (some actors with different roles involved, a set of loosely defined rules, materials and a design space) many crucial issues of collaboration can be reflectively identified and discussed.

We have also jump high in the abstraction ladder to talk a bit about “governance” issues  as these set the stage for how certain things become possible to implement and even to imagine. For that we discuss two case studies here in Helsinki: 1) Cleaning day presented by one of the activist and organizers Pauliina Sepälä and 2) Activism in Hertoniemi district as seen through the eyes of a researcher Karoliina Jarenko.

To dig a bit deeper in to the themes of new ways of organizing productive activities and explore the characteristics of the Finnish maker scene we have had several contributions: 1) researcher Eva Houtbeckers presented her analysis of the Hub Helsinki as bricolage (here a PDF of her presentation) and then 2) activist and cultural producer Laura Uusitalo shared her insights on the Helsinki local hacker space and the creation of Wärk Festival 3) researcher Cindy Kohtala made an overview of how sustainability themes appear (or not) in the activities and agendas of the Helsinki scene and 4) Andrew Pattersson share his insight on organizing and sustaining collective reflection processes around waste through the work they are doing on the TrashLab innitiative of pixelache (pad notes of andrew’s talk here).

Next sessions we will shift our attention towards Beirut and our partners there.



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Assignment: cases from Helsinki


4.11.2013: For this session, please come to the class with your choice of case study (you can have a list of different ones). During class, we will discuss them and create working groups and choose which case study will each group work with.

9.12.2013: Final deadline and presentations of the case studies

What is the assignment about?

It is about the study of communities or organizations in Helsinki whose activities and practices are strongly associated with the use of and tinkering with emergent digital production and collaboration modes, such as Do It Yourself, Do It with Others, hacker cultures and peer production.

Examples of possible case studies include, but are not limited to:
Hel loves developers, Apps 4 Finland, Hack at home –> check out Forum Virium website!
3D printing or City Workshops at City of Helsinki libraries
Prototype Helsinki
Hub Helsinki
Aalto FabLab, Aalto ADD
Pixelache, Wärk festival

Please note that your choice of case would need to also help you in the Beirut phase (and that would help the design cases in Beirut: Mena Design Center, AltCity, and Lamba Labs), and/or could be something you’d like to work on if you don’t go to Beirut and want to receive the course’s full credits.

How to go about the assignment?

    – Make groups of 3 personas or so
    – DO online research and collect your references (you can use a collaborative documentation tool, e.g. Google Document or Etherpad)
    – Contact the key persons  (1 to 3) involved in the case you are studying and schedule an interview with them (preferably face to face)
    – Interview the key persons and take notes – share your notes and review them together on the collaborative documentation tool
    – Make use of the mixed discursive sphere theoretical framework (it will be introduced to you on 28.10, during class) to analyze your material and achieve a deeper understanding of your case.
    – Produce a presentation of your research process and results (try to avoid Power Points! Think outside the box)


For the final presentation on 9.12 you need present:
The outcomes of your research work
Design ideas that have emerged
A short reflection on how you think the Helsinki cases might relate or not to the Beirut situation

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