Category: KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Nordes 2021 – Exploratory Paper

Had a wonderful time this week (virtually) attending my first Nordes conference! In addition to attending the wonderful workshop Life Stories for Collaborative Survival, I also presented the exploratory paper Scaling Bodily Fluids for Utopian Fabulations, a design collaboration with Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard and Nadia Campo Woytuk. Slide GIF below. Very much hope to attend future Nordes conferences!

DIS 2021 – Awards

This week I “presented” a full paper and pictorial at the 2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) conference – 10 minute pre-recorded video presentations below – and excited doesn’t quite capture how it feels to share that Entangled Reflections on Designing with Leaky Breastfeeding Bodies received a Special Recognition for Diversity & Inclusion, and Troubling Care: Four Orientations for Wickedness in Design received a Best Paper Honorable Mention Award.

Entangled Reflections on Designing with Leaky Breastfeeding Bodies, DIS 2021

Troubling Care: Four Orientations for Wickedness in Design, DIS 2021

DIS 2021 – Accepted Paper and Pictorial

Excited to have two publications accepted to the 2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) conference: Troubling Care: Four Orientations for Wickedness in Design (paper with Ylva Fernaeus) and Entangled Reflections on Designing with Leaky Breastfeeding Bodies (pictorial).

Troubling Care: Four Orientations for Wickedness in Design
Karey Helms & Ylva Fernaeus
Tensions in designing for care are often positioned as conflicts to be resolved. We draw upon queer theories to investigate caring for loved ones as not “in-line” with normative expectations of care as positive and fulfilling. Through the critique of two autobiographical design projects designed for informal, everyday care of our families, we describe four troubling orientations of care: willful detours, selfish shortcuts, naughty invasions, and unhappy departures. From these, we argue that tensions in care may not always be designed against, but can also be desired and generative.We conclude by discussing a “wickedness” in caring for loved ones that problematizes in-home technologies as attractively naughty and potentially violent, and the four orientations as resources for interaction designers to spatially navigate tensions of domestic care.

Entangled Reflections on Designing with Leaky Breastfeeding Bodies
Karey Helms
Bodily transformations that attend breastfeeding include entanglements of more-than-human materials and agencies. These can be seen in exchanges of physical matter, such as bacteria, that blur bodily boundaries. I present three design explorations of my breastfeeding experiences as entangled: knitting bras for lopsided breasts, transforming milk into fiddling necklaces, and site-writing around breastfeeding. Through spatial and conceptual mappings of the explorations, I propose them as alternative narratives in designing for leaky breastfeeding bodies. I also offer two broader reflections on designing with, for, and among more-than-human bodily materials: generous absence and bodily mappings. The accompanying reading instructions to this bodily research open for further encounters and reflections between the three explorations.

KTH 2020 IxD Team Exhibition

A couple weeks ago, the Interaction Design team at KTH had an internal exhibition of design projects. Due to the pandemic, whereby we primarily work from home, it has been difficult to engage with each other’s design work. Thus, this exhibition was a chance for us to get together (in line with safe distancing) to share our work! I presented a new side project within my PhD that I started while on maternity leave last year, which I call Free the Nipple. Below are some images of my exhibition space and a draft project description. You can find more of the project’s process (and other project work) on my public instagram account.

PhD 50% Seminar

Last Wednesday I had my 50% PhD seminar! Sill processing the feedback from my opponent Lone Koefoed Hansen who Zoomed in from Aarhus University, but very thankful for an inspiring discussion.

A short overview of my research can be found here Careful Design: Implicit Interactions with Care, Taboo, and Humor. And an even shorter snapshot of 2.5 years in 16 seconds:

Karey Helms 50% PhD Seminar

DIS 2020 – Accepted Doctoral Consortium Proposal

Having only recently returned to work full-time in March from ten months of parental leave, and despite working from home rather than in the lab due to COVID-19, it has felt wonderful to re-engage with my research with new energy and focus. Even more rewarding was to recently find out that my Doctoral Consortium proposal was accepted to DIS 2020. Very much looking forward to discussing my work with the Chairs and other participants – even if most likely virtual! Below is my title, abstract, and a link to the pre-print.

GROUP 2020 and CSCW 2019 – Accepted Papers

Very excited to have two papers accepted from an ongoing project on HCI and the outdoors with Airi Lampinen and Barry Brown from Stockholm University and Pedro Ferreira from IT-University of Copenhagen! Below are the abstracts, will post camera ready versions in the coming months. The first in particular and fieldwork that informed both are a precursor to upcoming design work that will ensue in the winter when I return from parental leave.

Away and (Dis)connection: Reconsidering the Use of Digital Technologies in Light of Long-term Outdoor Activities

Karey Helms, Pedro Ferreira, Barry Brown, Airi Lampinen. 2019. Away and (Dis)connection: Reconsidering the Use of Digital Technologies in Light of Long-term Outdoor Activities. ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP 2020), Sanibel Island, Florida, USA.

We present a study of long-term outdoor activities, based on altogether 34 interviews with 19 participants. Our goal was not only to explore these enjoyable experiences, but more broadly to examine how technology use was recontextualized ‘away’ from the everyday. Outdoor activities are commonly presented as an escape from our technology-infused world. In contrast, our interviews reveal experiences that are heavily dependent on technology, both digital and not. However, digital technology — and in particular the mobile phone — is reconfigured when taken out of its ordinary, often urban and indoor, context. We first present a diversity of ‘aways’ during outdoor activities by depicting cherished freedoms and interpersonal preferences. We then describe how participants managed connection and disconnection while away and upon coming back. To conclude, we discuss how constructions of away can support more purposeful engagements with digital technology, and how pointed (dis)connection can be useful for technology design also in non-outdoor settings.

From Nomadic Work to Nomadic Leisure Practice: A Study of Long-term Bike Touring

Pedro Ferreira, Airi Lampinen, Karey Helms, Barry Brown. 2019. From Nomadic Work to Nomadic Leisure Practice: A Study of Long-term Bike Touring. ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2019), Austin, Texas, USA.

Mobility has long been a central concern in research within the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) community, particularly when it comes to work and how being on the move calls for reorganizing work practices. We expand this line of work with a focus on nomadic leisure practices. Based on interviews with eleven participants, we present a study that illuminates how digital technologies are used to shape and structure long-distance cycling. Our main analysis centers on bike touring as a nomadic leisure practice and on how it offers a radical departure from traditional modes of structuring work and life, and thus, complicates the relationship between work and leisure. We complement this with an account of managing the uncertainties of nomadicity by focusing on participants’ experiences with arranging overnighting and network hospitality. We offer this study, firstly, as one response to the call for more diversity in the empirical cases drawn upon in theorizing nomadic work and leisure practices, but more productively, as an opportunity to reflect upon the temporal and spatial logics of digital technologies and platforms and how they frame our attitudes towards the interplay between work and leisure.

DIS 2019 – Presentation and Slides

Today my paper Do you have to pee? A Design Space for Intimate and Somatic Data will be presented at DIS 2019 in San Diego by a colleague from KTH as I am currently on parental leave with my four week old daughter. Would love to be at the conference presenting and discussing this work, but am more grateful for the conference’s flexibility and Vasiliki Tsaknaki’s assistance in the presentation of this paper while I am instead home in Sweden!

Since this research includes an autobiographic approach and a reflection on my positionality as a design researcher, both of which are critical to the work, the presentation I prepared included both video and audio recording of myself intermixed among a script for Vasiliki (which is why the script includes a mix of first and third person). It was definitely a new challenge rethinking how to make a presentation that included my own voice while using my colleague’s presence for audience engagement! Below is the full written script and slides, and the full paper (which won an honorable mention award!) is available here.

DIS 2019 paper presentation

DIS 2019 – Accepted Paper

Couldn’t be more please to find out today that I have a full paper accepted to DIS 2019! Very thankful for my amazing colleagues who provided invaluable support for and feedback on the paper.

Below is the title and abstract, will post a camera ready version in the coming weeks.

Pee paper provocation

Do you have to pee? A Design Space for Intimate and Somatic Data

The management of bodily excretion is an everyday biological function necessary for our physiological and psychological well-being. In this paper, I investigate interaction design opportunities for and implications of leveraging intimate and somatic data to manage urination. This is done by detailing a design space that includes (1) a critique of market exemplars, (2) three conceptual design provocations, and (3) autobiographical data-gathering and labeling from excretion routines. To conclude, considerations within the labeling of somatic data, the actuating of bodily experiences, and the scaling of intimate interactions are contributed for designers who develop data-driven technology for intimate and somatic settings.

KTH 2018 PhD Supervisory Panel

Today was our department’s annual PhD Supervisory Panel at KTH during which PhD students are given the opportunity to get feedback from senior researchers who act as “guest supervisors.” To prepare for my meeting with two Associate Professors I reworked my research abstract and research questions following my 30% seminar in October, during which Johan Redström from Umeå Institute of Design acted as my discussant. My goals in today’s supervisory panel were to get feedback on the new scope of my abstract and research questions relative to being only about 40% through my PhD (and I’m sure will continue to evolve), and identify important areas that I need to work on articulating to more firmly position my research in the context of how I am conceptually “furnishing” my design space. Considering I was presenting to senior researchers from different academic backgrounds than my own and each other, it was especially helpful to see within which aspect I felt misunderstood, i.e. where I need to sharpen my arguments. Below my poster summarizing my research thus far, followed by a few notes/reflections based on feedback received today, and a textual version of my abstract and research questions.

Karey Helms 2018 PhD Interaction Design Research abstract at KTH