Category Archives: Defence

For doctoral defences

Defence in the field of New Media: MA Eva Durall

MA Eva Durall will defend her doctoral dissertation

Reflection and Self-Regulation Using Monitoring Tools in Learning: Critical Design Exploration on Self-Monitoring During Independent Study

Friday 2 November 2018
Otakaari 1x, room A1
Starting at 12.00

Opponent: PhD prof. Anders Morch, University of Oslo
Custos: prof. Teemu Leinonen

Discussion will be in English.



More information:

In this dissertation opportunities and challenges of using monitoring tools in learning are critically explored from a design perspective. The results are two-fold: a design prototype that uses self-monitoring in independent learning situations (Feeler), and identification of reflection and self-regulation as relevant skills for autonomous and independent learning that self-monitoring tools can support. In light of these findings, this research proposes a set of design principles to guide further designs of monitoring tools aiming to support learning.

Inspired by critical and speculative design approaches, the Feeler prototype presents an extreme, yet plausible case of monitoring physiological data, which consists in monitoring brain activity to detect learners’ attention and relaxation levels during independent study. The design of the prototype was influenced by human-centered tradition and the participatory design approach. The prototype allowed students to experience and researchers to study a hypothetical solution regarding the use of self-monitoring tools during independent study.

The tests conducted as part of this research brought light into the dominant values and socio-economic discourses associated to mainstream uses of monitoring tools, and supported students critically reflect about these tools. In this regard, this research highlights the value of critical and speculative design approaches to research and discuss emerging technologies in learning and teaching.

This research identifies several design principles, which are grouped around the key themes of self-knowledge, agency-oriented technology, reflection and self-regulation. These principles are exemplified with the Feeler prototype in order to help practitioners and researchers understand how the empirical findings can be translated into actionable ideas when designing monitoring tools. This research points at data-privacy and design for autonomy as important design implications for the design of monitoring tools in learning. There is also a need for further research on these.

Monitoring technologies enable the automatic collection and analysis of data to provide feedback about diverse activities and processes. Despite these technologies are increasingly present in different contexts of human life, for instance in the quantified self movement, in learning, monitoring tools are still an emerging technology. To date, most approaches to use monitoring tools in learning have focused on finding application areas without problematising the context of use. Little attention has been paid to issues like the nature of data and the inferences that are made based on them, the role of students in learning, and the conception of learning and technology. This dissertation addresses this research gap and provides an understanding of the issues related to the design of monitoring tools and the adoption of techno-monitoring practices in learning.


Defence in the field of New Media: MA Sanna Marttila

The dissertation examines the ways in which Participatory Design (PD) and digital design endeavors can contribute to wider public access to, and use of, digital cultural heritage.

FRIDAY 19 JANUARY 2018, 12:00–14:00
Aalto University TÖÖLÖ CAMPUS

Nokia Hall, Main Building, 2nd floor
Runeberginkatu 14-16, 00560, Helsinki

MA, M.Phil. Sanna Marttila will defend her thesis Infrastructuring for Cultural Commons.

Opponent: Dr.polit Dagny Stuedahl, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA)

Custos: prof. Lily Díaz-Kommonen

Discussion will be in English.

More information:

In her doctoral dissertation Infrastructuring for Cultural Commons Sanna Marttila inquires into the ways in which Participatory Design (PD) and digital design endeavors can contribute to wider public access to, and use of, digital cultural heritage. Marttila advocates for an approach according to which digital cultural heritage is arranged and understood as cultural commons, and for more collaborative modes of social care for and governance of the cultural commons.

In addition to the empirically grounded findings and proposals contained in six individual research articles, Marttila develops a theoretical framework that combines scholarship on Information Infrastructures, Commons and PD. Against this framework Marttila interrogates how the information infrastructures and conditions that surround digital cultural heritage can be active in constructing and contributing to cultural commons. While doing this, she draws attention to the gap that exists between on the one hand official institutional digital cultural heritage collections, systems and practices, and on the other hand the digital platforms and practices through which everyday people create, curate and share digital cultural works.

In order to understand how to critically and productively bridge this gap, Marttila presents insights gained from conducting three design research cases that engage both cultural heritage institutions and everyday media users. Building upon this empirical work, and latching on to scholarship on the notion of infrastructuring, Marttila proposes four infrastructuring strategies for cultural commons: probing and building upon the installed base, stimulating and simulating design and use through gateways, producing and pooling shared resources, and, lastly, fostering and shaping a commons culture that supports commoning. In exploring these strategies, Marttila maps the territory between commons and infrastructuring, and connects these notions to the PD tradition.

In addition, drawing on her practical design work, Marttila discusses requirements for professional designers operating on commons frameworks and with collective action. By doing this, her dissertation not only breaks new theoretical ground through advancing theoretical considerations relevant to contemporary design research, especially the field of PD, but also contributes practical implications useful for professional digital media design practice, especially for designers working in the fields of digital culture and cultural heritage.


Defence in the field of New Media: M.Soc.Sci. Pirkka Åman

In the thesis, Pirkka Åman explores music recommendation systems and suggests new discovery strategies that make use of context information, information describing the listener’s situation. The ethical cornerstone of the thesis is to support cultural diversity by influencing music recommendations towards non-obvious and non-mainstream music. Åman believes that one way to achieve serendipitous – new, good, and often surprising – musical discoveries is to offer people ways to augment urban environments with music.

FRIDAY 12 JANUARY 2018 from 12:00
Lecture hall 822, ARABIA

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Hämeentie 135 C, 00560, Helsinki

M.Soc.Sci. Pirkka Åman will defend his thesis Musical Serendipity. Designing for Contextual Music Recommendation and Discovery. on Friday 12 January 2018.

Opponent: PhD François Pachet, Spotify

Custos: prof. Lily Díaz-Kommonen

Discussion will be in English.

More information

In the thesis, Pirkka Åman explores music recommendation systems and suggests new discovery strategies that make use of context information, information describing the listener’s situation. The ethical cornerstone of the thesis is to support cultural diversity by influencing music recommendations towards non-obvious and non-mainstream music. Åman believes that one way to achieve serendipitous – new, good, and often surprising – musical discoveries is to offer people ways to augment urban environments with music.

Today, almost all music that has been recorded is available online. The problem for music lovers is finding the most interesting music from the catalogs of millions of tracks. One way to approach the problem is to include some kind of context information to recommendations, for example, location, time, social context or activity.

The author presents concepts and prototypes showcasing the potential uses of context information and analyzes interactions and context information used in commercial services and research prototypes. The results of the thesis show that involving context factors in music recommendation can lead to rewarding user experiences and serendipitous discoveries. The focus of music discovery is in urban environments where the field studies where conducted. The field study participants felt that the discovery of music and events improved the quality of the everyday life, showing the potential for similar commercial services.

On a more abstract level, the ethical undercurrent of the work is promoting cultural diversity as well as co-creation of urban environments with music-related applications. Through the concepts and prototypes, the author aimed to empower people by offering means to modify their environments by creating, experiencing and sharing virtual, augmented layers of music and other media content.

While the results show that the users indeed experienced serendipity in many ways, it can not be proven that context-aware music recommendations necessarily lead to cultural diversity. Instead, design implications are given to help designers and researchers of future systems to build rewarding and enjoyable context-aware content services, especially to enrich urban environments. The implications include:

Supporting open meaning-making through combinations of different media content and places;
Visual and interactive UI elements that communicate the system logic or explain why a recommendation was made;
Positive restrictions, such as allowing the content to be available only when the user is near a certain location or within a defined time window;
Supporting serendipity can be approached in many ways, for example by combining music with an activity, a location, certain time or an identity, which may result in serendipitous discoveries of not only music but the cultural layers of urban environments as well.
The work helps in opening new directions in the domain of social media since there are few studies conducted on music and social media services from the contextual point of view. Furthermore, various context-aware services (e.g. mobile shopping, advertising, travel and lifestyle applications) that sense people’s activity or location may benefit from the work.


Dissertation in the field of photography: M.Soc.Sci. Maija Tammi

The dissertation scrutinises how sickness has been represented in art photography and examines new ways to approach, think about and create photographic art about sickness.

M.Soc.Sci Maija Tammi will defend her dissertation Sick Photography. Representations of Sickness in Art Photography. on Tuesday 12 December 2017.

At 12:00–14:00. Lecture hall 822, 8th floor, Hämeentie 135 C, 00560, Helsinki.

Opponent: PhD Loiuse Wolthers, Hasselblad Foundation, Göteborg
Custos: prof. Merja Salo, Department of Media

The discussion will be in English.

More information:

The dissertation Sick Photography scrutinises how sickness has been represented in art photography and examines new ways to approach, think about and create photographic art about sickness. It is a work of artistic research – it combines the practice of research with the generation of new artworks. The research differentiates between sickness, illness and disease, following anthropologist Arthur Kleinman’s definitions, and illustrates how 67 artworks by known authors sit in relation to these definitions. The research shows that art photographers have mostly concentrated on depicting personal illness experiences. Critics and scholars have concentrated on the ethics of what kind of images of sickness or suffering ought to be shown or on the psychology of why some images of sickness bother viewers. Tammi’s research adds to the conversation of difficult images drawing from writings on disgust, uncanny and abject, and claims that the proximity of photography makes it potent for being abject or uncanny. The main results of the research, artworks Leftover (2014) and White Rabbit Fever (2016), are intertwined with the research and draw their inspiration from it.



The dissertation notice and the published dissertation are placed for public display at the Learning Hub Arabia (Hämeentie 135 C, 5th floor, room 570), at latest 10 days before the defence date.

Event on Facebook:

Väitös valokuvan alalta: TaM Ismo Luukkonen

Toivotamme teidät tervetulleeksi TaM Ismo Luukkosen väitöstilaisuuteen:

Valokuvan ajallisuus.
Maiseman kerrostumista ajan kokemukseen.

Perjantaina 3 marraskuuta 2017, klo 12.00–14.00
Iso Luentosali 822
8krs, Hämeentie 135 C
00560, Helsinki, FI

Väitöskirja on taiteellinen tutkimus, joka tuo esille tekijälähtöisen näkökulman ajan ja valokuvan suhteeseen. Väittelijä esittää tulkintoja ajasta, maiseman kerrostumista sekä muinaisjäännöksistä maisemassa, ja tuo samalla kuvan sekä kuvan tekemisen kiinteäksi osaksi tutkimusta.

Vastaväittäjä: KuT Jan Kaila, Taideylipiston kuvataideakatemia
Kustos: prof. Merja Salo, Aalto-yliopiston Median laitos

Keskustelu käydään suomeksi.


Valokuvan ajallisuus (Maiseman kerrostumista ajan kokemukseen) on tekijälähtöinen taiteellinen tutkimus valokuvan ja ajan suhteesta. Muinaisjäännökset maisemassa, maiseman ajallinen kerroksellisuus ja sen välittyminen maisemavalokuvissa ovat työni lähtökohtia, joiden johdattamana tarkastelen valokuvan ajallisuutta. Pyrin vastaamaan kysymykseen, kuinka aika esiintyy valokuvissa.

Tutkimuksen rakenne on dialoginen. Tutkimustekstin rinnalla on kuvallisia lukuja, jotka pohjautuvat vuosien 2000–2017 taiteelliseen työskentelyyni maisemassa olevien muinaisjäännösten ja valokuvan ajallisuuden parissa. Kuvaustyössäni olen pyrkinyt tarkastelemaan kohteitani erilaisista lähtökohdista, mikä näkyy myös kuvien ilmiasuissa. Kuvallinen työskentelyni on tapahtunut samanaikaisesti teoreettisen tutkimuksen kanssa ja työskentelytavat ovat vaikuttaneet toisiinsa. Kuvalliset luvut tuovat toisen tarkastelutavan sanallisten rinnalle. Ajattelutapa on toinen, mutta tarkastelun kohde yhteinen.

Valokuvan voi nähdä todellisuuden jälkenä tai kuvallisena tulkintana todellisuudesta. Nämä kaksi näkökulmaa esiintyvät rinnakkain sekä tutkimustekstissä että kuvallisissa luvuissa. Kun katson valokuvaa todellisuuden jälkenä, sen ajallisuus liittyy kohteen ajallisuuteen, esimerkiksi maiseman ajallisiin kerrostumiin ja niiden välittymiseen valokuvasta. Jotta ajallisuuden voi tunnistaa kuvasta, se on ymmärrettävä myös kohteena olevasta maisemasta. Mutta jälki sitoo valokuvan aikaan myös toisella tavalla. Kuvattu hetki on tietty ajankohta menneisyydessä, joka väistämättä karkaa kauemmaksi ajan jatkumolla. Mennyt hetki tulee näkyväksi esimerkiksi vertailun kautta. Kuvaa voi verrata toisiin kuviin (samasta kohteesta) tai itse kohteeseen.

Katsoessani valokuvaa todellisuuden kuvallisena tulkintana, sen ajalliset merkitykset ovat riippuvaisia myös valokuvaajan tekemistä valinnoista. Valokuvaajana voin vaikuttaa siihen, kuinka aika jättää merkkinsä kuvan pintaan. Ajallisuutta voi edelleen korostaa käyttämällä erityisiä tekniikoita, joissa aika jo kuvattaessa muovaa valokuvan ilmiasua. Esimerkiksi pitkällä valotusajalla kuvattaessa esiintyvä liike-epäterävyys voi johdattaa katsojan ajallisten merkitysten äärelle.
Valokuva on kuitenkin monitulkintainen, sitä voi tarkastella monista näkökulmista ja erilaisista lähtökohdista. Tulkinta ei aina pysy niissä raameissa, joita tekijä yrittää kuvalle asettaa. Valokuvan merkitykset riippuvat siitä, kuinka katsoja kuvan kohtaa. Tähän kohtaamiseen vaikuttaa valokuvan ilmiasun ja katsojan itsensä lisäksi myös esityskonteksti, se, millaisessa yhteydessä kuva esitetään ja mitä muita kuvia tai tekstejä kuviin liittyy. Näin voidaan johdatella katsojaa myös ajallisiin tulkintoihin.

Valokuvalla on myös oma ajallisuutensa. Se on esine, joka vanhenee minkä tahansa esineen lailla, mutta vielä olennaisemmin ajallisuus tuntuu välimatkassa, joka syntyy valokuvan ottamisen ja katsomisen hetkien väliin. Valokuvaa katsotaan aina jälkikäteen. Se on väistämättä sidoksissa menneeseen ja tietoisuus tästä vaikuttaa siihen, kuinka kuvaa katsotaan. Valokuva on jäännös hetkellisestä tapahtumasta.

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You are cordially invited to the Defence of Doctoral Dissertation of MA Ismo Luukkonen:

Temporality of a photograph.
From the layers of a landscape to the experience of time.

Friday 3 November 2017, 12.00–14.00
Lecture Hall 822
8th floor, Hämeentie 135 C
00560, Helsinki, FI

The dissertation is artistic research into the relationship between a photograph and time. Photographing of prehistoric objects in landscape are used to examine the temporality of photography.

Opponent: Doctor of Fine Arts Jan Kaila, University of the Arts Helsinki
Custos: prof. Merja Salo, Aalto University Department of Media

Discussion will be held in Finnish.


The temporality of a photograph (from the layers of a landscape to the experience of time) is artistic research into the relationship between a photograph and time. The prehistoric objects in a landscape, the temporal layers of the landscape and the way the temporality of the landscape is represented in photographs are the starting points of the research. They led me to the key issue: the temporality of a photograph. My question is how time appears in photographs.

The structure of the research is dialogic. There are pictorial chapters beside written ones. The photographs are the results of my artistic work in the years 2000–2017, concerning prehistoric remains in the landscape and the temporality of a photograph. In my photographic work, my aim has been to examine subjects using different approaches. This is also visible in the appearances of the images. My photographic work has been concurrent with the theoretical research, and the two ways of working have affected each other. The way of thinking is different, but the subject is shared.

A photograph can be seen as a trace of reality or as a pictorial interpretation of reality. These two approaches appear both in the written text and in the pictorial chapters. When a photograph is thought of as a trace of reality, its temporality is based on the temporality of the subject, such as the temporal layers of a landscape and their representation in a photograph. To be able to recognise the temporality in the photograph, one must understand the temporality of the subject. However, the photograph as a trace also ties the photograph to time in another way. The photographed moment is a point in time, in the receding past. The gone moment of the photograph becomes visible, for example, if the photograph is compared to another photograph (of the same subject) or to the subject itself.

When I look at a photograph as a pictorial interpretation of reality, the temporal meanings also depend on the choices the photographer makes. As a photographer, I can decide how time leaves its mark on the surface of the photograph. The temporality can be emphasised by special techniques. A long exposure, for example, has an effect on the visuality of the photograph, and it can lead the viewer to temporal interpretations.

The photograph is, however, ambiguous. It can be studied from different viewpoints and using different approaches. The interpretation does not always stay within the frame that the photographer has suggested. The meanings depend on the way the viewer confronts the photograph. They are affected by the appearance of the photograph and the personality of the viewer, but also by the context of the photograph: where it is shown and what other pictures or texts are present. The context can be used to suggest temporal interpretations.

The photograph also has a temporality of its own. It is an object that ages like any object does, but even more essentially, temporality is felt in the distance between the moment when the photograph was taken and the moment when it is viewed. A photograph is always seen afterwards. It is inevitably bound to the past, and the awareness of this affects the way the photograph is viewed. A photograph is a remnant of a momentary incident.

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Call for Workshop papers: 1st EAI International Conference on Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Education – Holonovels

Please note: Due to many requests, the submission deadline has been extended and the conference postponed.

See new dates below!

1st EAI International Conference on Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Education

September 11, 2017, Canterbury, United Kingdom

Call for Workshop papers:

Holonovels –  New Frontiers for Engaging Arts and Sciences in Future-Oriented Design

This workshop encourages creative contributions that take the form of original narrative fiction, such as science fiction prototypes (SFP), design fiction, scenario based design, or related contributions. To form a focal point, we are asking authors to use the STAR TREK ® HOLODECK® as inspiration for their stories and discussions. In general, a HOLODECK – a space in which simulations of people, objects and environments that seem to be real can be created and can be interacted with – is a plot device to frame stories and discussions. The Holodeck is an imaginary concept, but we hope that its futuristic nature will motivate ideas that will be transferable to our own world, enabling discussion that range from concepts for new technologies to concerns about their societal or ethical use.

Keynote speaker: Gene Dolgoff – The Man Behind the Holodeck


In more detail, topics we would be particularly interested in receiving ‘holonovels‘ on (but not limited to):

·         Artificial Intelligence

·         Simulated and Virtual worlds, Telepresence

·         Virtual – Augmented – and Mixed Realities (VR, AR, MR)

·         Haptic technologies

·         Cyberspace dramas, Narrative Environments

·         Human Factors, Human-centred Design, User Experience

·         Virtual Staging, Screenwriting techniques (e.g. screenplays, storyboards)

·         Game design

·         Social, political, legal, art or business applications

The holonovel should be essentially seen as a new medium, to be considered not just by engineers and scientists but also by artists and designers. This will ensure that many perspectives, affordances, boundaries and opportunities of this new medium can be considered before such technology actually exists. Therefore, we encourage contributions that cross professional boundaries, especially between the arts and sciences. Although papers based around fictional narratives are encouraged, we do not want to limit the content of the contributions, so we also welcome papers looking at aspects of the development of “holodecks” from any perspective.

Paper Submission

·         Workshop Paper Submission deadline – 30 June 2017

·         Workshop Notification deadline – 31 July 2017

·         Workshop Camera-ready deadline – 14 August 2017

The proceedings of the HOLODECK WORKSHOP will be published together with the proceedings of TIE 2017 by Springer and made available through LNICST. Papers must be formatted using the guideline from the guidelines from Author’s kit section.

More information:

(*STAR TREK, HOLODECK and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc.)

Best Regards,

Conference Workshop Chairs,

Tiina Kymäläinen
Human Factors, Virtual and Augmented Reality, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

Jim Hensman
Serious Games Institute, Coventry University

Väitös graafisen suunnittelun alalta: VTM Harri Heikkilä, torstaina 13.4.

Aalto-yliopiston Median laitokselle tehty tutkimus pohtii kirjan sähköistymiseen ja sähkökirjan valtavirtaistumiseen liittyviä ongelmia ja luo niihin ratkaisuja.

VTM Harri Heikkilä esittää tarkastettavaksi väitöskirjansa Tämä ei ole kirja – Sähkökirjan valtavirtaistumisen haasteet torstaina 13. huhtikuuta 2017.

Vastaväittäjä: FT, prof. Jaakko Suominen, Turun yliopisto
Kustos: professori Teemu Leinonen, Aalto-yliopiston median laitos

Paikka: Sampo-sali, Taiteiden ja suunnittelun korkeakoulu, Hämeentie 135 C, 00560, Helsinki, FI
Aika: 13. huhtikuuta 2017 kello 12:00 – 14:00

Keskustelu käydään suomeksi. The discussion will be in Finnish.


Teknologian valtavirtaistuminen edellyttää innovaation vakiintumista johonkin muotoon. Tällä hetkellä keskustelu siitä, millä tavalla painetun kirjan perinne kohtaa internetin on vielä kesken. Valtavirtaistumisen muistakin edellytyksistä on toteutunut vain osia ja nekin paikallisesti.

Heikkilä uskoo, että teknologiakritiikki on tärkeä osa tietotekniikan kehitystä. Teknologian luo ihminen ihmiselle, ja sen kehittyminen tapahtuu dialogissa. Palaute ei vain aina löydä perille, sillä tarpeettoman usein käyttäjä syyttää itseään teknologian toimimattomuudesta. Teknologian on muokkauduttava ihmisten tarpeisiin, ei päinvastoin.

Tutkimukseen sisältyy ensimmäinen laajamittainen sähkö- kirjatutkimuksen katsaus suomeksi ja sähkökirjan kehityksen analyysi. Tätä analyysia tukevat asiantuntijoiden haastattelut.

Sähkökirjan käyttäjäryhmien muuttumiseen ei ole aikaisemmin kiinnitetty tarpeeksi huomiota, vaikka tämä on olennainen osa teknologian muokkautumista, koska eri käyttäjäryhmät omaavat erilaiset tarpeet. Väitöksen mukaan sähkökirjaa on hyödyllistä tarkastella kokonaisena alustana, jonka tule vastata varhaisen enemmistön tarpeisiin, mutta samalla täyttää yhteiskunnallisia tarpeita ja löytää onnistunut keino integroitua kirjan perinteeseen.

Tuloksena tutkimus esittää myös mahdollisen ratkaisumallin, löydösten perusteella mallinnetun kokeellisen sähkökirjakonseptin, joka on samalla osa keskustelua sähkökirjan tulevasta muodosta.


Väitöskirja on esillä Aalto-yliopiston Learning Hub Arabiassa, Hämeentie 135 C, 5. krs, huone 570 viimeistään 10 päivää ennen väitöstilaisuutta.

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Dissertation in field of media: MA Samir Bhowmik

You are cordially invited to the Defence of Doctoral Dissertation of MA Samir Bhowmik:

Deep Time of the Museum.
The Materiality of Media Infrastructures.

2nd of December 2016, 12.00–14.00
Media Factory Auditorium
3rd floor, Hämeentie 135 A
00560, Helsinki, FI
(Enter the building from Arabiakeskus’ doors, stairs on the right after the coffee shop, go one floor up and take left. Media Factory is opposite to the Aalto bookstore.)

The dissertation aims to address the ecological impact of museums and digital heritage. It suggests a design framework towards sustainability.

Opponent: PhD Susanna Pettersson, Ateneum Art Museum
Custos: professor Lily Diáz, Aalto University Department of Media.

Discussion will be held in English.


The museum has a ‘material bias’. Beyond the materiality of artifacts, vitrines and dioramas, media technologies for digitization, collections and representation play an ever expanding role today in the fostering of cultural heritage. An enormous amount of media systems and infrastructures are required to maintain and support emerging museum spaces and practices. Composed of a complex and historical body of media devices, most of these are an assortment of black-boxed proprietary hardware and software technologies. Energy footprints have expanded and embodied energy remains undocumented. Behind every act of digitization and mediation lies a chain of data centers, rare earth mining, silicon chip manufacturing and dystopian toxic lakes. The life-span of this media infrastructure is limited and obsolescence drives a perpetual upgrading, resulting in colossal digital rubbish and toxic waste. What is the environmental burden carried by museums? What is the material and energetic footprint of digital heritage? How can the cultural assets of memory institutions be sustained? Through a multi-disciplinary and critical approach to museum infrastructures the dissertation aims to address the ecological impact of museums and digital heritage. First, via an extensive excavation of the museum as a media infrastructure the study seeks to understand the materiality of digital heritage as based in the growing entanglements of media devices, energy and material resources. The study then presents two experimental design interventions within and beyond the museum walls. These were implemented to explore novel ecological media infrastructures and operative methods. Finally, combining these with concepts found from the excavation, a design framework is synthesized that provides guidelines for museums and their user communities toward shaping an ecological institution.

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Defence of Dissertation in the Field of Media: MA Marc Goodwin


MA Marc Goodwin will defend his dissertation

Architecture’s Discursive Space: Photography 

Friday 30 September 2016,
at 12:00 – 14:00
School of Art, Design and Architecture, lecture hall 822
Hämeentie 135 C, 00560, Helsinki, FI

Opponent: lecturer Niclas Östlind, University of Göteborg

Custos: professor Merja Salo, Aalto University, Department of Media

The discussion will be in English.

This research asks the simple question: Do images make buildings? More specifically, it asks how. The research question is addressed via four articles, published in peer-reviewed journals from 2013 to 2016. Each looks at a different aspect of the question, including: visual conventions, visualising atmosphere, photography as visual data, and the repeatability of these experiments. In addition, the dissertation includes extensive photography section that both illustrates the texts as well as dialoguing with them.

A brief description of each article follows.

‘Nine Facts About Conventions in Architectural Photography’ published in the Nordic Journal of Architectural Research (NJAR 1/2014).

This study is one of the first to use content analysis of images as a means of interpreting architectural discourse. Nine facts were extracted from a detailed analysis of images that appeared in 3493 pages of the Finnish Architectural Review (ARK) between 1912 and 2012. Close attention was paid to the types of images used repeatedly in order to focus on key editorial and photographic decisions. Editorial decisions consisted of type, size, chromatic scale and number of images. Photographic decisions consisted of human presence, weather, depth-of-field and camera orientation for interior and exterior photographs. Data, which quantifies the frequency of each type of image, indicates that there is a strong reliance on visual conventions in ARK. When considering the limited range of images used in the publication, it becomes clear there is little correlation between the complexity of architectural language and environments and the simplicity of its depiction. That discrepancy suggests there is a need for research and development in the field of architectural photography in order to better inform readers about the diversity of architectural practices.

‘A Hinge: Field-testing the Relationship Between Photography and Architecture, in the Journal of Artistic Research (JAR 3/ 2013).

This article seeks to share the methods and preliminary results of an artistic research project in the field of architectural photography. A central concern is the representation of atmosphere in place of the standard depiction of objects. Important also is an attempt at co-design through an interview process with architects based on the notion of the dialectic. This aspect of the study is important not only for this experiment itself but is also crucial for analysing the scalability of practices pursued in this investigation. Findings include excerpts from interviews and examples of photographs. More than just a project about photographic practices, however, this study is part of a larger investigation into the relationship that has developed between photography and architecture, focussing especially on Finland and Denmark, and the institutional practices of architects, publishers and photographers working in collaboration.

‘Architecture’s Discursive Space: Photography’, currently in peer review for the book ‘Visual Methodologies in Architectural Research’, due to be published by Intellect in 2016.

Ultimately, I conclude that conventional architectural photography is reliant upon one atmosphere – the blue and white of eternal summer that has replaced the black and white photography that came before it. A simple system of visual categorisation through grids became my working method for dealing with terabytes of data in the form of photographs. The grid, it is argued, is at the core of architectural depiction, with origins in Renaissance treatises. As a contemporary editing system, however, grids make it easy to spot patterns in purchased / published images, and cross-check statements made in interviews and in writing with photographic statements.

 ‘Grey Matter’, to be published in the first 2016 edition of the International Journal of Education through Art.

It was important to test the repeatability of this research. Could others use atmospheres as a system for classifying images? Is it useful to look at conventional photography as one such atmosphere? Could the classroom be used as a research lab to test the viability of non-conventional atmospheres in the world of architecture. The second phase of the nine-month course ended in a highly successful exhibition and talk at the Finnish Museum of Architecture. The course and exhibition were called Grey Matter because images sought to reflect the lived experience of autumnal Helsinki, testing claims that good architecture must be shown in good weather.

Findings in this research challenge received wisdom about ‘objective’ photography of architecture. They suggest the need for scrutiny of conventionalised practises and argue for an expanded field of architectural photography. That new architectural photography would be informed by the notion of atmosphere and its categorisation into a panoply of responses to site conditions.

The architectural atmosphere sine qua non, known as objective photography, is taught in schools and enforced through repeated global publication. This research suggests that interdisciplinary courses between photography and architecture departments might disrupt the current beliefs and practices of educators and publishers alike. This dissertation argues in favour of such a disruption.




MA Marc Goodwin esittää tarkastettavaksi väitöskirjansa Architecture’s Discursive Space: Photography perjantaina 30 syyskuuta 2016, klo 12–14. Tilaisuus järjestetään Taiteiden ja suunnittelun korkeakoulussa: Hämeentie 135 C, ls. 822, 8. krs, 00560, Helsinki, FI. Vastaväittäjänä toimii yliopistolehtori Niclas Östlind, University of Göteborg. Kustoksena on professori Merja Salo Aalto-yliopiston median laitokselta.

Keskustelu käydään englanniksi.

Valokuvaaja Marc Goodwinin tutkimuksessa etsitään vastausta kysymykseen, miten valokuvat luovat mielikuvaa rakennuksista ja arkkitehtuurista. Tuottavatko kuvat rakennuksia, ja millä tavoin ne sen tekevät?

Vastausta hahmotellaan eri näkökulmista neljässä artikkelissa, jotka on julkaistu vuosina 2013–2016 vertaisarvioiduissa tiedejulkaisuissa. Ensimmäisessä artikkelissa kuvataan arkkitehtuurivalokuvauksen kuvallisten konventioiden historiallista muotoutumista Suomessa Arkkitehti-lehdessä vuosina 1912-2012 julkaistujen valokuvien avulla. Kuvien analyysi osoittaa, että vain pientä osaa valokuvauksen ilmaisukeinoista on käytetty kuvattaessa arkkitehtuuria. Samalla avautuu kysymys siitä, voisiko arkkitehtuurivalokuvauksen visuaalista palettia monipuolistaa.

Toisessa artikkelissa on tutkittu arkkitehtien käsityksiä hyvästä arkkitehtuurivalokuvasta haastattelemalla pohjoismaisia arkkitehtejä. Esiin nousee ajatus atmosfääristä eli tunnelmasta ja sen tuottamisesta valokuvauksen keinoin.

Kolmannessa artikkelissa Goodwin kokeilee ruudukon eli gridin käyttöä sekä kuva-aineiston hallinnan että analyysin välineenä. Gridi on keskeinen työkalu ja käsite niin arkkitehtuurissa kuin valokuvauksessakin, ja sen avulla voidaan luoda siltaa arkkitehtien ja valokuvaajien erillisten diskurssien eli keskusteluavaruuksien välille.

Neljäs artikkeli testaa atmosfäärin ja gridin käsitteitä käytännössä ja kuvaa opetuskokeilua, jossa arkkitehtuurin ja valokuvauksen opiskelijoiden yhteisellä kurssilla etsittiin uudenlaisia, rakennuksen ympäristön ja vuodenajan paremmin huomioivia kuvaustapoja. Kurssin tulokset esitettiin näyttelynä Suomen rakennustaiteen museossa.

Marc Goodwin on englantilainen, arkkitehtuuriin erikoistunut valokuvaaja. Väitöskirja sisältää laajan, tekstejä havainnollistavan ja niiden kanssa keskustelevan kuva-aineiston.


Defence of Dissertation in the Field of Media: MA Hans Põldoja


MA Hans Põldoja will defend his dissertation

The Structure and Components for the Open Education Ecosystem:
Constructive Design Research of Online Learning Tools

on Friday 23. September 2016,
at 12:00 – 14:00
Media Factory Auditorium, 3rd floor,
Hämeentie 135 A, 00560, Helsinki, FI

Opponent: Ph.D. Terry Anderson,
Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University, Canada.

Custos: Professor, DA Teemu Leinonen,
Aalto University Department of Media.

The discussion will be in English.

This research studies the design of online learning tools for open education. The dissertation is based on five articles and design case studies that explore open education from different perspectives: open educational resources, open learning environments, and assessment of teachers’ competencies. The underlying concept of the study is the open education ecosystem. The study explores the ways in which the design of online learning tools could benefit from the digital ecosystems approach. The design of online learning tools for open education presents wicked problems, that involve ill-defined requirements and contemplates the influence on and by the stakeholders and other components of the ecosystem. Firstly, to clarify the design challenges related to the open education ecosystem, this study summarizes a set of design challenges presented in design case studies. Secondly, it identifies and recommends a set of design patterns that address these design challenges. Finally, the study proposes the structure and components that are needed for the open education ecosystem.