Helena Karasti

I am full professor at ITU Copenhagen. I am an interdisciplinary scholar with formal degrees in information systems design, studies in social sciences and extensive experience in interdisciplinary research.

One of my main lasting research interests has been in the integrations of ethnography and participatory/collaborative design, bringing together these two traditions in mutual, exploratory relations that radically reposition ethnography as tightly coupled into the very doing of design. While I have a keen interest in situated sociomaterial practices, local co-design and invention, my exposure to Science & Technology Studies (STS) has brought in consideration for the multiple connections and extended scopes of change and transition involved in digitalization. Bringing infrastructure studies to bear on my interest in the integrations of ethnography and participatory/collaborative design, has created another long-lasting research interest in the research area of infrastructuring, in whose establishment and consolidation I have actively participated. Some of the topics I often come back to are care, in(ter)vention and participation.

I have a strong record of empirical investigation in practice-based research, design, and development projects with varied participants and stakeholders, including citizens, organizations, companies and communities in both academic and non-academic settings. Two of these are particularly long-term engagements: clinical radiology (1994-2001) and ecological/environmental research (2002-ongoing). In relation to the latter, I have collaborated with the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program and networks internationally, engaging with their data management/curation and research infrastructure formation.

I have previously held academic positions in Finland, USA, Sweden, Germany and Denmark.

I currently teach Service Design courses.


Designing an Infrastructure for Heterogeneity of Ecosystem Data, Collaborators, and Organizations (2002) http://news.lternet.edu/article[field_story_id-id].html-101.html

The Challenge of the Long-Term Perspective for Data-Intensive Collaboration in e-Research (2007-2014).

OpenRisk – Social Media support for communities promoting safety and work well-being. (2010-2011).

The science stories behind the data – A Biography of the SGS-LTER (2012-2014). http://news.lternet.edu/Article2653.html

Multi-scoped infrastructuring: Forming a knowledge infrastructure for ILTER Network (MULTICS, 2016-2018), http://interact.oulu.fi/multics

Selected publications

Karasti, Helena, Andrea Botero, Joanna Saad-Sulonen and Karen S. Baker (2021) Visualizing devices for configuring complex phenomena in-the-making. Special Issue “Ethnographic data generation in STS collaboration”. Science & Technology Studies, 34(3): 55-77.

Nicole Kaplan, Karen Baker & Helena Karasti (2021) Long live the data! Embedded data management at a long-term ecological research site. Ecosphere: An ESA Open Access Journal 12(5):1-25.

Simonsen, Jesper, Helena Karasti and Morten Hertzum (2020) Infrastructuring and Participatory Design: Exploring infrastructural inversion as analytic, empirical and generative. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, vol. 29, no. 1-2, pp. 115-151.

Mosconi, Gaia, Qinyu Li, Dave Randall, Helena Karasti, Peter Tolmie, Jana Barutzky, Matthias Korn, Volkmar Pipek (2019) Three Gaps in Opening Science. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, vol. 28, no. 3-4, pp. 749–789.

Karasti, Helena and Jeanette Blomberg (2018) Studying infrastructuring ethnographically. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 233-265.

Karasti, Helena, Volkmar Pipek and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2018) An afterword to ‘Infrastructuring and Collaborative Design’. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 267-289.

Østergaard, Kija, Jesper Simonsen and Helena Karasti (2018) Examining situated design practices: Nurses’ transformations towards genuine participation. Design Studies, 59 (2018), pp. 37-57.

Baker, Karen and Helena Karasti (2018) Data Care and Its Politics: Designing for Local Collective Data Management as a Neglected Thing. In PDC ’18: Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference – Volume 1, August 20-24, 2018, Hasselt and Genk, Belgium.

Pihkala, Suvi and Helena Karasti (2016) Reflexive Engagement – Orientation for ‘Doing Reflexivity’ and Addressing ‘Participation in Plural’. Proceedings of the 14th Participatory Design Conference (PDC ’16), Aarhus, Denmark, August 1-19, Vol. 1, Aarhus, pp. 21-30.

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Special Issues – Knowledge Infrastructures: Parts I-IV. Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issues 1-4.

Karasti, Helena (2014) Infrastructuring in Participatory Design. Participatory Design Conference, 6-10 October 2014, Windhoek, Namibia. In Proceedings of the 13th Participatory Design Conference (PDC ’14): Research Papers – Volume 1. ACM, New York, NY, USA. pp. 141-150.

Blomberg, Jeanette and Helena Karasti (2013) Reflections on 25 Years of Ethnography in CSCW. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, Jubilee Issue: CSCW: The First Quarter Century. Vol. 22, No. 4-6, pp. 373-423.

Blomberg, Jeanette and Helena Karasti (2013) Ethnography: Positioning Ethnography within Participatory Design. In Simonsen, Jesper & Toni Robertson (Eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design. Routledge: New York, NY, USA. Pp. 86-116.

Karasti, Helena (2010) Taking PD to Multiple Contexts: A Response to Kyng. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 22 No. 1 pp. 85-92.

Karasti, Helena, Karen S. Baker and Florence Millerand (2010) Infrastructure Time: Long-Term Matters in Collaborative Development. Computer Supported Cooperative Work – An International Journal, Special Issue on “Sociotechnical Studies of Cyberinfrastructure and e-Research: Supporting Collaborative Research”, Vol. 19, Nos. 3-4, pp. 377-415.

Karasti, Helena and Karen S. Baker (2008) Digital Data Practices and the Long Term Ecological Research Program Growing Global. International Journal of Digital Curation, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 42-58.

Karasti, Helena, Karen S. Baker and Eija Halkola (2006) Enriching the Notion of Data Curation in e-Science: Data Managing and Information Infrastructuring in the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, Computer Supported Cooperative Work – An International Journal, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 321-358.

Karasti Helena & Anna-Liisa Syrjänen (2004) Artful infrastructuring in two cases of community PD. Proceedings of the Eight Participatory Design Conference 2004 (PDC’04) Artful Integration: Interweaving Media, Materials and Practices. July 27-31, 2004; Toronto, Canada. Eds. A. Clement et al. ACM 2004. pp. 20-30.

Karasti Helena & Karen Baker (2004) Infrastructuring for the Long-Term: Ecological Information Management, Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 2004 (HICSS’37). January 5-8 2004, Hawaii, USA.

Karasti, Helena (2001) Bridging work practice and system design – Integrating systemic analysis, appreciative intervention and practitioner participation, Computer Supported Cooperative Work – An International Journal, Vol. 10. No 2, pp. 211-246.