Behind the Algorithms + Mobile Phones in the Transformation of the Informal Economy

Associate professor Jakob Svensson has just started new research project, funded by Vetenskapsrådet, about algorithms and how they influence our media flow.  The project will explore the cultural and social aspects that enclose the algorithms. Read more at 

Jakob is also the cowriter to the newly published article Mobile phones in the transformation of the informal economy: stories from market women in Kampala, Uganda in Journal of Eastern Africa Studies.

This research project is situated within the area mobile technologies for development (M4D), i.e. that mobile communication technologies play a vital role in the livelihood of people in developing regions. Out of a larger explorative study of how market women in Kampala use their mobile phone(s), this article focuses on the transformation of the so-called informal economy, here in the form of Kampala street markets. Departing from stories of the women themselves, the article discusses the role of mobile telephony in this transformation. The street markets today have become hybridized as mobile money allows for non-street transactions. The appropriation of the mobile phone into these micro enterprises, we argue, has the potential to produce new regulatory spaces, considering that mobile services, located in the formal sector, are deeply embedded in Kampala’s informal economic practices. To make sense of these results, we turn to science, technology and society studies (STS). STS helps us understand the mutual co-production of mobile phone practices and the transformation of the street markets. The mobile phone represents a force for change in the market women’s economic activities, at once challenging and reinforcing the informality of the Kampala markets.


Material Driven Design – Student Exhibition

During February Product Design students (2nd year) are showing their projects from the course Material Driven Design at Form/Design Center in Malmö. 

The work has been divided into three main groups:

DIY, Do-It-Yourself: this group has explored new uses for textile residues that had otherwise ended up in landfills in the Global South.

CIY, Cook-It-Yourself: this group has focused on producing plastics/biopolymers from renewable raw materials found in most kitchens.

GIY, Grow-It-Yourself: in order to find new areas of application, this group has cultivated and developed scoby, a yeast and bacterial culture normally used to produce kombucha.


Skånska dagbladet visited and wrote about the inauguration. 

The exhibition is open until February 25th. 


Reflecting on design, sustainability and social change

Malmö University DESIS Lab and MEDEA are producing a series of short interviews with design practitioners and researchers to explore if and how design can contribute to sustainability and social change in different contexts.

The first interview is with Sreejata Roy and Mrityunjay Chatterje, a two member team of an artist and a media practitioner based in New Delhi.  Their practices with regard to urban space are generally twofold. Through the projects, using and combining different media, they document the changes in the city and study how these changes affect peoples’ lives. They also explore, adapt and create spaces for public interactions and collective intellectual and creative practices.

Working-Class Literature(s) – New Book

Professor Magnus Nilsson is the co-editor to the new book Working-Class Literature(s).  Read more about the book.

The aim of this collection is to make possible the forging of a more robust, politically useful, and theoretically elaborate understanding of working-class literature(s).

These essays map a substantial terrain: the history of working-class literature(s) in Russia/The Soviet Union, The USA, Finland, Sweden, The UK, and Mexico. Together they give a complex and comparative – albeit far from comprehensive – picture of working-class literature(s) from an international perspective, without losing sight of national specificities.

By capturing a wide range of definitions and literatures, this collection gives a broad and rich picture of the many-facetted phenomenon of working-class literature(s), disrupts narrow understandings of the concept and phenomenon, as well as identifies and discusses some of the most important theoretical and historical questions brought to the fore by the study of this literature.

If read as stand-alone chapters, each contribution gives an overview of the history and research of a particular nation’s working-class literature. If read as an edited collection (which we hope you do), they contribute toward a more complex understanding of the global phenomenon of working-class literature(s).

Pop-up Idea Store

Yanki Lee, guest researcher at K3, will as a part of the AFM network do a full day workshop at the bottom floor at Niagara the 11th of December. The workshop allow participants to “drop in” (approximately 20-30 minutes) and it relates to immersion techniques and design for our “future selves”. The day after, 12th of December, we will follow up with a discussion during lunch in the K3-design studio (NIB0542). 

Workshop (Pop-up Idea Store), Dec 11 at 9-16 (location: Communal Area on the Niagara Building)

Yanki Lee from Hong Kong, a visiting researcher at K3 this fall will design and operate an immersing experience to engage Malmo University communities to design for our future selves. Dr Lee is the co-founder of Enable Foundation, a non-profit social design agency, working on a government-funded design experiment with aim to train young design students to immerse themselves into old age and co-create with senior citizens to develop an alternative model for ageing innovation. A open lunch session will be hosted on Dec 12 (location: K3-Studio) to share the workshop findings and discuss immersive methodology in social innovation development.

“Spikning” Cermony for Para-Archives: Rethinking Personal Archiving Practices in the Times of Capture Culture

Download full-text of Para-Archives: Rethinking Personal Archiving Practices in the Times of Capture Culture by Jacec Smolicki here

The public defence will take place on Friday 15 December at 13:15 in auditorium B (B0E07) at Niagara.

This study explores possibilities for alternative forms for personal archiving in the context of contemporary techno-culture and dominant forms of capturing personal data. An intensified proliferation of various capturing technologies and mechanisms concerned with collecting, storing and analyzing personal data let us locate personal archiving as one of the major everyday media practices that people engage in today, both voluntarily and involuntarily. The main point of departure for this thesis is a recognition of a certain polarization of perspectives and debates on personal archiving practices prompted by this new techno-cultural condition. If on hand we are presented with an enthusiastic scenario of a certain infallibility of digital memory and possibility to fully control the way one construct’s his/her digital archive, the opposite view confronts us with a pessimistic vision of a full penetrability of our digital repositories (and hence everyday lives), ever more tightly constrained by the imperceptible dynamics of network technologies. In this thesis I investigate a possibility to move beyond these ramifications and seek for alternative modes of personal archiving by engaging in a practice-based research and media archaeological inquiry into (archival) media histories. The thesis proposes a concept of para-archiving which denotes a practice of recording subsets of everyday life that takes place in parallel to a range of voluntary and involuntary capturing and archival mechanisms, procedures and practices in today’s highly technologized everyday life. Among other examples, as a major case bring in my own personal archiving practices I have been regularly conducting for last seven years and which in various ways appropriate a range of portable and affordable personal technologies of today to record and para-archive various aspects of everyday life. I use my practice as a vehicle allowing me to examine implications of today’s pervasive technologies on for example material, performative and agential aspects of personal memory and archiving practices. By drawing on my practice and inviting a range of thematically related aesthetic practices into the picture I also intend to invigorate the pallet of methodological approaches within the field of media and communications studies. While located within the field of Media and Communications the thesis borrows also from such fields as Philosophy of Technology, Media Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Media Arts.