Past Datafication Reseach Programme events

Past events by the Datafication Research Programme.
17.3.2023 Datafication Research Festival

The Datafication research programme at the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) organised a Datafication Research Festival on Friday 17 March 2023 at the University of Helsinki Centre campus to get to know each other’s work and introduce datafication research at the University of Helsinki to others interested in the field.


10.30-12 Opening to Datafication 

Keynote: Minna Ruckenstein: How we study datafied life? 

Datafication programme directors:   

Katja Valaskivi: Datafied Epistemic Contestations 

Eetu Mäkelä: Data without Understanding does not lead to Understanding  

Emilia Palonen: Doing it all wrong: politics and/in/through social media 

Postdocs: Narges Azizifard, Feeza Vasudeva, Dayei Oh: Online Epistemic Communities 

Discussion. Chair: Katja Valaskivi 


 - Lunch -  


13.00-14.30 Session on presentations 

Vasilis Maltezos (ImagiDem): Bridging Ethnography And AI: Combination and Interchange of Deep Learning and Empirical Visual Analysis Methods to Analyse Visual Political Action 

Esko Suoranta (Instrumental Narratives): Fictions of Datafication 

Antti Gronow (COMPON): Climate Change Policy, Social Networks and Political Polarization 

Xenia Zeiler: Gamification and Gamevironments 

Niko Hatakka (MAPS): Platforms on propaganda: How social media companies talk about the problem of public opinion manipulation 

Helena Hinke Dobrochinski Candido (AGORA): Datafication in education: reflections on policies and practices 

Discussion. Chair: Eetu Mäkelä


- Coffee - 


15-16 Panel: Chat GPT and the University 

Panelists: Jaana Hallamaa, Petri Myllymäki, Matti Pohjonen, Anna-Mari Rusanen, Arho Toikka 

Chair: Emilia Palonen 

16-17 Drinks and mingling 


The contemporary digital tools we utilize in most aspects of our daily life are not only ordinary tools, but also reversed tools. In addition to us using them, they also use us, collecting data of all possible aspects of human life. This data is used for revenue, governance, and development of AI, but also for profiling, measuring, and nudging our actions. These developments result in continuous changes in social formation and practices of governance that have implications to knowledge production, social interaction, and public communication. Consequently, reconfigurations in the perceptions of human life, sense of communities, belief systems and relationships also take place. These complex, uneven and multifaceted processes are often referred to as datafication. 

Datafication can be seen as a techno-social and cultural process in which human life and action are transformed into data. The utilization of this data has profound consequences for patterns of interaction and circulation of information in contemporary societies. The first Datafication Research Festival focuses on the formation, transformation, and perceptions of epistemic communities in the contemporary condition of datafication and brings together research groups working in the field on the Central Campus of the University of Helsinki. 

The HSSH Datafication Research Programme Spring workshops: On Multimodal Analysis of Audiovisual Data

HSSH, with the Methodological Unit and the Datafication Research Programme, organizes City Centre Campus wide workshops on visual and audiovisual data. These thematic workshops are open for all and address the technological and philosophical challenges involved in the matter.

Contemporary political communication has been transforming into more multimodal direction, which presents a fascinating challenge for researchers in Humanities and Social Sciences. There are established traditions in multimodal analysis, but the mainstreaming of the phenomenon and the (assumed) availability of the data has generated further needs to collaborate and coordinate research practices in this field. These workshops focus on social media data and the particular technical and philosophical issues related to them, but some of this knowledge may be transferrable to non-multimodal data and audio, visual and audiovisual. Further complications exist in terms of data storage and availability for the social media data also in the multimodal sense.

This series of workshops seek to gather researchers across the City Centre Campus Faculties.



Friday 9 February at 14-16: challenges in methods:  

Short presentation: Matti Nelimarkka, Eeva Luhtakallio, Eetu Mäkelä 


Friday 8 March at 14-16 (Fabianinkatu 24, 524, entrance through Vuorikatu inner court yard): pilots from the Finnish Presidential Elections and other elections  

Short presentation: Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Emilia Palonen 

Please sign up for catering: 

In this session we are going through some of the research on the presidential elections. Laaksonen and Pöyry’s team it has been funded through the HSSH. For Palonen’s research team the work carried out in January and February in Finland is a pilot for the European Parliamentary elections, and they also pilot the Portuguese elections. 

This session aims at discussing the challenges in the data process, scientific and technical solutions, as well as initial perceptions of the results of these studies.  


Friday 5 April at 14-16 (Fabianinkatu 24, 524, entrance through Vuorikatu inner court yard): theoretical and ethical general challenges in multimodal analysis 

In this session we discuss the theoretical and methodological challenges involved in working with visual data using different methodologies and epistemological approaches. The debate will discuss contributions from ethnography, more speculative approaches to generative AI as well as more mixed method and quantitative approaches. Short presentations by:  

Matti Pohjonen and Aleksi Knuutila: “Synthetic ethnography: Field devices for the qualitative study of generative visual models.” 

Katja Valaskivi: Image recognition and cultural meanings