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Children and sustainability: Designing digital tools for collaborative survival

My research investigates children and digitalization for more sustainable futures. It draws upon feminist ethics of care and more-than-human theories of collaborative survival to examine new technology roles in and for multi-species flourishing. This will be done through design-based activities (i.e., research-through-design) that will be situated around topics such as human-waste relations, local ecosystems, and nature appreciation.

This research is motivated by a concern for a damaged environment and is oriented towards children as inhabitants and caretakers of its future. It is significant for the following reasons. Firstly, its focus on children is significant in considering new paradigms of digital tools and the long-term role of digitalization in everyday life. Secondly, its relational grounding within theories of care provides a lens to consider humans as interconnected with non-humans, which is important in developing an understanding of designing with distributed and networked digital materials. Thirdly, its emphasis on nature as critical to the health and well-being of all species situates an important and often overlooked context for digitalization, which is significant in responsibly expanding digital interactions into the outdoors and nonurban environments.

About the Digital Futures Postdoc Fellow
Karey Helms is an interaction designer and design researcher at KTH. Her PhD research draws upon care ethics and posthuman feminism to investigate how interaction design might be otherwise amid a world in crisis. This includes ongoing interests in living materials, human bodily fluids, and ontological design. She implicates herself and unsettles bodily boundaries for a more careful technology design through autoethnographic and speculative design methods. Link to the website of Karey Helms

Main supervisor
Airi Lampinen, SU

Meike Schalk, KTH

Watch the recorded presentation at the Digitalize in Stockholm 2023 event:



Picture of Karey Helms

Karey Helms

Digital Futures Postdoctoral Fellow, Postdoc project: Children and sustainability: Designing digital tools for collaborative survival
Picture of Airi Lampinen

Airi Lampinen

Associate Professor, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University, Co-supervisor: Technology Mediated Collective Caring through Menstrual and Reproductive Journeys, Co-PI: Digital Futures Drone Arena, Former Co-PI: Layering Trust in Intimate Digital Health Technologies, Former Main supervisor: Relational Aspects of Care in Intimate Digital Health Technologies, Digital Futures Faculty

+46 08 16 16 19
Picture of Meike Schalk

Meike Schalk

Associate Professor in Urban Design and Urban Theory, and Docent in Architecture at KTH School of Architecture