HSSH March Newsletter 3/2023

Recent news and upcoming events at HSSH – read more below and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter!


Datafication research celebration at the City Centre Campus


HSSH's first Datafication Research Festival brought together about 80 researchers from the City Centre Campus on March 17th for a whole day of discussions about the rapidly developing questions of a data-driven society and its research.

The festival started with Professor Minna Ruckenstein's lecture which construed the study of digitalized life. The work of HSSH's Datafication Research Program was presented by Program Directors Katja Valaskivi, Eetu Mäkelä and Emilia Palonen, as well as the program's postdoctoral researchers Narges Azizifard, Feeza Vasudeva and Dayei Oh. In the afternoon, researchers at the City Centre Campus, from different disciplines and different research groups presented their own research linked to datafication.

"Our goal was to involve different research groups from around the City Centre Campus. We noticed that research group thinking is not very strong yet. However, a room full of researchers who were interested in these topics gathered at the event with short notice. This is a promising start for the datafication research network and the cooperation between HSSH and the faculties on similar themes, research materials and methods," says Emilia Palonen.

To wrap up the festival day, a panel consisting of Centre Campus researchers discussed ChatGPT and its impact on the future of teaching and research at the university. Professor Jaana Hallamaa, Professor Petri Myllymäki, University Researcher Matti Pohjonen, University Lecturer Anna-Mari Rusanen and Senior University Lecturer Arho Toikka participated in the panel.

"Our panel on critical perspectives to ChatGPT was a thought-provoking discussion that brought together experts from various fields to examine the implications of conversational AI in the university setting. It was an enlightening conversation that challenged our assumptions and highlighted the need for continued critical examination of this technology," Matti Pohjonen, who works at HSSH's Methodological Unit, commented using ChatGPT to generate his response in the spirit of the panel.

Datafication Research Program director Emilia Palonen moderated the ChatGPT panel and felt the task was a privilege. "There were experts from different corners of the university, and all of them had a lot of relevant things to say - and the audience was also able to join in on a Friday afternoon. The hour reserved for the panel was tight. More of this kind of discussion is needed," says Palonen.

The first Datafication Research Festival focused on the formation, transformation, and perceptions of epistemic communities in the contemporary condition of datafication and starting the tradition of bringing together research groups in the field at the City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki.

You can view the Datafication Research Festival recordings on UniTube.


Visiting Professor visits in Helsinki are underway


HSSH Visiting Professor Programme strengthens international cooperation by bringing internationally recognized scholars for visits at the City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki. The programme is running in 2022–2025.

The second round of the Visiting Professor Programme call for applications ran last autumn and seven new Visiting Professors were selected for the year 2023.

Several visits by the Visiting Professors have taken place in the beginning of the year, and more are scheduled for this spring and next autumn.

Simon Lindgren from Umeå University and Mirko Schäfer from Utrecht University visited the University of Helsinki in the beginning of March, and four Visiting Professors, Barbara Pfetsch (Freie Universität Berlin), Livia Holden (University of Paris Sorbonne, Michael Lewis (British Museum) and Ewan Jones (Downing College, Cambridge), are currently at the City Centre Campus.

The Visiting Professors have held public lectures, including talks at the HSSH Brown Bag Seminar, and participated in research group activities at the Centre Campus. For more information on these activities, you can contact the local hosts of the visitors.

The following public talks are taking place in the near future:


Interlab – Multimodal intra- ja interindividual research laboratory managed by HSSH has opened its doors


INTERLAB is a joint laboratory managed by HSSH, and dedicated to multimodal individual and interpersonal research in situ or in the field. Starting this spring, it is open for all researchers at the City Centre Campus. The equipment enables synchronous recording of up to 8 video streams and 16 audio channels with 360° capacity and includes two workstations with comprehensive software for editing, annotating and analysis of all acquired material.

Interlab is located in Metsätalo building (Unioninkatu 40), room C421. Access to Metsätalo is according to office hours. Laboratory door is locked, so in order to visit:

Lab manager is at your disposal for any and all matters regarding lab use Mon-Fri during office hours, (pentti.henttonen@helsinki.fi, +358504491284).

Read more on the Interlab website.


Easy access Methods Clinic every Friday!


Experts at the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) and the Centre for Social Data Science (CSDS) offer easy access methodological consultation at a Methods Clinic every Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Zoom. Use the e-form to book your consultation time!


The Clinic offers easy access methodological consultation for researchers in the fields of humanities and social sciences for: 

  • planning research projects  
  • collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data   
  • use of laboratory equipment, cameras, other tools for data collection and analysis  
  • visualisation of data and results   
  • interpretation of the results

The consultation takes place in Zoom and is personal or group-based depending on need. 

Please note that if your need for consultation has a tight schedule (for example, a funding application deadline), you should get in touch well in advance. Funding application deadlines (e.g. early autumn) can make the clinic crowded. The service is free of charge for the moment. Consultation is provided in Finnish and English. 

Please contact us in the early phase of your research to get the most out of our support service!

Target group

The Methods Clinic is primarily aimed at researchers and research groups at the City Centre Campus of University of Helsinki. Undergraduate students can only be offered consultation in special cases.

Operating principles 

The Methods Clinic offers support and consultation at a low threshold, but to a limited extent. The service is advisory in nature and the purpose is for researchers to analyze their own data. If an expert provides a significant contribution to a scientific publication, for example in the form of planning, analyses, interpretation of results or writing parts of the publication, it is advisory that they are included as a co-author of the publication.

Information on the Methods Clinic is also available on our website.


Brown Bag Seminar every Tuesday at 12.15 – next session Minttu Tikka, Henna Paakki & Kaisla Kajava on 4.4.


The Methodological Unit of HSSH hosts a weekly event, Brown Bag Seminar, to highlight novel methodological approaches in humanities and social sciences.

The seminars are organized as hybrid events. You’re warmly welcome to join us at the HSSH Seminar Room, Vuorikatu 3, 2nd floor, or on Zoom.

Click here to add the Brown Bag Seminar events directly to your calendar (.ics file).

According to a researcher at the Methodological Unit, Matti Pohjonen, the idea of the meetings “is to introduce methodological innovations and cutting-edge research in various disciplines in an easily accessible manner and have an interdisciplinary discussion in an easy-going atmosphere over lunch.”

Every Tuesday at 12.15. In the next meeting on 4.4. Minttu Tikka, Henna Paakki & Kaisla Kajava will talk about what it takes to combine qualitative and computational approaches. Bring your own lunch, we bring fresh methodological topics!

Read more about the event on our website!

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