Swedish outreach

This is a blog post with some time lag – but you can listen to two of the team’s researchers  in Swedish!

Elina did a guest lecture in December 2018 in the lecture series Öppna Föreläsningar (given to the first year student’s at Södertörns Högskola). The subject of the lecture was ICT and sustainability, and it was (after some initial mishaps) video recorded and is available on the web:

IT och ett hållbart samhälle del 1 and IT och ett hållbart samhälle del 2

Elina was also interviewed in a student pod cast series, but it seems not to be published.

Daniel participated in the Swedish Public Radio show Klotet on the 28th of February, discussing the energy used by the Internet. Here is a link to his longer blog-post (in English) about it and here is a link to the play version of the radioshow.




Beyond GDP Growth

Last Wednesday I attended the final conference of the research programme Beyond GDP growth: Scenarios for sustainable building and planning (Bortom BNP-tillväxt). Beyond GDP Growth is a multidisciplinary strong research environment funded by Formas, which has run 2014-2018. In total about 17 researchers from 5 different universities and research institutes, 3 municipalities and a large number of reference groups participated in the programme.

The programme’s aim has been to explore key issues and conditions for planning for a sustainable future beyond GDP growth. The key premise is that it is important to not assume continued economic growth but also plan for other futures, that in turn are futures within a safe and just operating space for humanity within planetary boundaries.

The conference started with a presentation of the final report. After a coffee break it continued with 20 ConverStations where researchers presented their work. Us conference participants could choose to attend 3 different ConverStations. The conference ended with a discussion where the final report was discussed four panel members. The panel members were Sofia Arkelsten (Moderate Party), Pär Holmgren (Länsförsäkringar), Carl Schlyter (Green Party) and Charlotta Szczepanowski (Coop).

The main outcome of the research programme are the four scenarios that were developed; Collaborative Economy, Local Self-Sufficiency, Automation for Quality of Life and Circular Economy in the Welfare State.

From a sustainable HCI perspective the four scenarios are highly interesting and relevant as digital technologies play an integral and explicit role in them.

The final report (in Swedish) can be found here.



Hooray and congratulations doctor Hasselqvist!

On the 20th of November, team member Hanna Hasselqvist successfully defended her PhD thesis. A warm and heartfelt congratulations to Hanna from the whole team!

Hanna discussing lively with the opponent Mike Hazas.

In the morning we had to interesting talks, one by Mike Hazas, Lancaster University, UK: ”Watching futures:  Trajectories of online video streaming” the other by Eli Blevis, Indiana University Bloomington, USA: ”Seeing What Is and What Can Be: On Sustainability, Respect for Work, and Design for Respect”

And in the afternoon Hanna did a great job defending her thesis ”Designing for shared energy responsibility” (see abstract at the end of the post)

Reader Mike Hazas, Lancaster University, UK was the opponent, and the grading committee consisted of Professor Inge Røpke, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark, Professor Eli Blevis, Indiana University Bloomington, USA and Senior Researcher Annelise De Jong, RISE Interactive, Stockholm, Sweden

Designing for shared energy responsibility

A significant part of the world’s carbon emissions is related to energy use for housing and personal transport, and there are many efforts to make this energy use more sustainable. In the field of Sustainable Human-Computer Interaction, there has been a great interest in exploring how interactive systems can be used to influence people’s energy use, often with a focus on providing information and encouraging energy users to change their behaviours. Similar ideas have been implemented in commercial products aiming to raise households’ awareness of their energy use. This approach suggests that energy use is a matter of individual choice, and that it is the energy user’s responsibility to change energy-related practices such as driving, cooking and heating the home. The effectiveness of the approach has, however, been questioned and it has been proposed to extend the focus beyond the individual – to the communities, corporations and governments that influence people’s energy practices.

With my research, I have aimed to contribute to an understanding of how various stakeholders can share responsibility for energy use and of how to take shared responsibility into account in design. The research has a starting point in studies of sustainable mobility and energy management in housing cooperatives. For these two cases, I have used design interventions to explore energy-intensive practices and more sustainable alternatives from the perspectives of both energy users and other stakeholders. I have identified ways that stakeholders influence, or could influence, energy use in terms of adoption of more sustainable practices and maintenance of these practices over time. Building on this, I present opportunities for interactive systems to amplify stakeholder initiatives and support shared responsibility for energy use, for example by contributing to transparency and trust between households and more powerful stakeholders.

Major Mistra Application

Researchers from the MID4S group has been involved in a larger Mistra application on Sustainable Consumption. The application is built a consortium with 11 (!) researching partners and many municipalities and other organizations. Let’s all cross our fingers, decision is made in June, and if we get the grant the research will start in the autumn. Cecilia Katzeff (honorary member in hour team) and Ulrika Gunnarsson Östling are the main applicants, but Elina Eriksson has also been involved as a member of the management team of the application. Below is the longish abstract of the application.

Our research programme proposal is called Mistra Sustainable Lifestyles. Lots of people involved. 

The planned research programme Mistra Sustainable Lifestyles will be grounded in everyday practices and lifestyles, around which people organize their lives. Focus will be on change of current unsustainable consumption practices in Sweden. The overall objective of the programme is to create conditions for a society, where sustainable lifestyles is the norm; where unsustainable consumption practices are fading; and, the negative impact from consumption on the environment is decreasing; and where quality of life is increased or maintained. In order to achieve this, one objective is to consolidate knowledge on how sustainable lifestyles are formed; how they relate to quality of life; and how the transition to a society where sustainable lifestyles is the norm can be initiated and sustained by different actors in society. The programme applies a design oriented approach for change, working with living labs and municipalities at sites in different parts of Sweden. This approach in combination with the framework of social practice theory seek to understand the mechanisms for change in lifestyles. Another objective is to understand how instruments and methods can be formed to stimulate the emergence of sustainable consumption practices. The objectives will be reached in collaboration with academic partners, local governments, governmental agencies, civil society actors, businesses, and citizens.

The core of the programme during its four years is an organisation of activities we call “interventions and provocations”. The provocations are based on results from the interventions. Provocations may, for instance, consist of exhibitions, campaigns, workshops, debates with politicians, new policy proposals, etc. Concepts developed from interventions may also result in new services, start- up companies, new types of business models, etc. Interventions are carried out both with private citizens in their real environment and with municipalities. The role of municipalities is central in their link to citizens and through their ongoing work regarding consumption and lifestyle issues. Researchers coach and follow households during the intervention year and document their learnings, barriers and successes. Insights from the intervention year are conceptualized into provocations, with the purpose of questioning norms, sparkle debate and inspire to upscaling. In addition to researchers the conceptualization phase also engages service developers, the civil society and other stakeholders. The provocations are externally directed activities and may consist of exhibitions, campaigns, films, or debates with politicians and citizens.

The programme is based on the theoretical framework for social practice theory, which clarifies important dimensions interacting to shape social practices. This framework will also guide us in identifying where changes need to be accomplished in order to establish sustainable consumption as a norm. Conditions for a transformative change is created through the wide constellation of the consortium, including researchers, governmental agencies, local governments, civil society, companies and private citizens. The research is based upon participation from these groups and a transdisciplinary approach including environmental science, design research, behaviour science, political science, city planning, and agriculture. The Mistra Sustainable Lifestyles programme consists of 6 work packages, all tightly integrated. Interventions and provocations will be carried out at four geographically distributed locations in Sweden. Additional locations will take part through workshops and testing of concepts. Municipalities and universities are represented at these locations.


EU-grant proposal: SHARE IT

Two team members, Daniel and Elina, have just sent in a EU-grant proposal with sustainability motivations:

SHARE IT: Tools for sustaining not-for-profit grassroots sharing initiatives

The proposal was sent to the ”Collective Awareness for Sustainability and Social Innovations” (CAPS) call which is a part of  the 2014-2020 EU Horizon 2020 research program.

Three research partners have been active in writing the proposals; Lancaster University in the UK through mainly Adrian Friday (who is the coordinator of the project), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) (with Daniel and Elina from the CSC-school and Karin Bradley from the ABE-school) and Airi Lampinen from the think tank Demos Helsinki (Finland).

If you want to read more about the proposal you can take a look at Daniels blog. Keep your fingers crossed that we get accepted!


Smart Sustainable After Work – Resource Man

MID4S (through Elina) and CESC and FMS (through Josefin Wangel) are inviting you all to participate in the first Smart Sustainable After Work seminar. We hope this will be a recurring series of critical discussions on smart technology over a cold beverage!


Welcome to Smart Sustainable After Work!

The idea of a Smart Sustainable After Work originated from the wish to bring together people working on smart sustainable solutions, to share experiences and perspectives, and to create a forum for a critical discourse on smart everything agendas. We understand smart as being a synonym to ICT-enabled, and sustainable as the intended contribution of such solutions.

Resource Man

The theme of this first Smart Sustainable After Work is “Resource Man”; what is the archetype that smart energy solutions are designed for? What can we say about ideators’, designers’ and developers’ underlying assumptions by looking at the products being designed? Could it be otherwise, and what would that archetype be?

As a preparation participants could read the following paper: Strengers, Y. (2014). Smart energy in everyday life: are you designing for resource man? interactions 21(4): 24-31.

Very welcome!
Elina Eriksson & Josefin Wangel


Drinks and snacks: At the seminar there will be beverages (with and without alcohol) and snacks available. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided by CESC. Alcoholic beverages will be at your own expense so please bring cash.
When: Monday December 15th 17.30-19
Where: CESC – Centre for Sustainable Communications, Lindstedtsvägen 5, 4th floor. For wheelchair users this location is a bit difficult to get to, but there is a way in without stairs. If you need directions, please let us know.
Sign up: Please let us know that you are coming through signing up here: http://goo.gl/forms/VA6TS19S1b
Contact: Elina Eriksson (elina@kth.se) and Josefin Wangel (wangel@kth.se)

Smart Sustainable After Work is organized by CESC – Centre for Sustainable Communication, MID4S – Media Technology and Interaction Design for Sustainability and fms – the Division of Environmental Strategies Research, all at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Workshops workshops workshops!

One of our goals for the team was to at least submit a workshop proposal during the year, and we have succeeded! Not only did we submit, we got accepted! So in October, at NordiCHI, we will arrange the workshop titled Is there a European Strand of Sustainable HCI?. From our team, Daniel, Elina and Cecilia is the organisers. Now we have to tweak the workshop text and fix a Web page for the workshop, before it’s official, but please start to plan your position paper submission! We’d love to see you in Helsinki!

If this wasn’t enough, we will also arrange a workshop at the upcoming ICT4S conference. The main aim is to gather all sustainable HCI researchers before the conference starts, and the working title for the workshop is Sustainable HCI + ICT4S =?. To this workshop you only need to register, and then prepare a Pecha Kucha to the workshop, so do register!


EESD 2013

This is a somewhat belated blog post about a conference that Daniel and I (Elina) attended in Cambridge in September. The conference was the EESD – Engineering Education for Sustainable Development , and this years theme was ”Rethinking the Engineer”. We attended since we had a paper accepted, “It’s not fair!” – making students engage in sustainability, based on the  Media Technology and Sustainability course we are teaching . Daniel were also co-author to another paper accepted to the conference, Engineers of the future: using scenarios methods in sustainable development education.

I really enjoyed the conference, it was the first time around for me. It probably was the most friendly and welcoming conference I’ve been to, with lots of (to me previously unknown) people inviting me to sit down at meals to join the discussions. I will keep this blog post short, and instead refer to others who have written longer and perhaps more critical about the conference. The first is James Keirstead who have written some thoughts on the conference in his blog and the other is our own Daniel who have written about the conference on his academic blog.

Yours truly making a funny face, and Daniel saying something intelligent.
Yours truly making a funny face, and Daniel saying something intelligent at the EESD conference.


Klimatförnekare i DN idag?

DN publicerar idag en debattartikel som vill lugna massorna som blivit upprörda över att Världsbanken diskuterar ett 4-graders scenario. Jag har svårt att se ett annat budskap i artikeln än det vanliga bland klimatförnekare; det är alls inte säkert att de tecken vi ser idag är början på en klimatförändring, och att det inte finns någon anledning till radikala förändringar.
Tråkigt att ge utrymme för den typen av åsikter, jag tror inte det är det vi behöver just nu. Hoppas att någon skriver ett bra svar! (och att det blir publicerat…)

Nåt jag alltid finner lustigt med klimatförnekarna är just det där att eftersom man inte anser att det är 100% säkert finns det ingen anledning att agera.
På andra områden råder inte samma logik. Anta att man hade observerat att tex Iran började bygga fler missiler och nukleära anläggningar;
”Vi kan fortfarande inte helt utesluta att Irans aktiviteter bara är för vetenskapliga syften, och bör därför avvakta med att förbereda vår försvarsmakt.”
Skulle inte tro det…


On this blog’s functions


This blog is written by and (at least initially) also for the sustainability team at the Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design (MID), School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC) at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden.

We decided to start the blog at our kick-off meeting on Dec 18, 2012. Blog posts here are supposed to be short and these are some of the things we imagine the blog will be used for:

   – Short presentations of team members
   – I read a good/interesting book/article, here are my thoughts
   – Take a look at this upcoming seminar/workshop/Ph.D. course/conference/call for research grant applications
– I’ve been to this interesting seminar/workshop/conference, here are my thoughts
   – I handed in a research grant application
   – I got funded!
   – I’ve formulated a new master’s thesis proposal
   – I’ve been the advisor of a bachelor’s/master’s thesis
   – A short presentation of the upcoming team meeting external guest
   – Here’s what we did at our latest team meeting!

I’ve written a longer blog post about our kick-off meeting on my personal academic blog – read more here!

Daniel Pargman, team leader