Fall 2021 Programme

Politics of co-creation research seminar (PYAM-9142, 5 study credits)

This is a research seminar under the Doctoral programme in political, societal and regional (PYAM) at the University of Helsinki. The seminar is open to researchers, PhD and master’s students as well as other experts interested in the related issues to co-creation and its introduction as a new type of paradigm in knowledge production, politics and innovation.

Autumn 2021 theme: Governance, co-creation and collaboration

Since the 2000s, we have witnessed the upsurge of online collaboration as digital technologies develop. People collaborate online for collective knowledge (e.g., Wikipedia), fund-raising (e.g., Kickstarter), sharing economy (e.g., Uber and Airbnb), participatory budgeting (e.g., OmaStadi), open hearing (e.g., Tell your stock), information sharing/discussion (e.g., Twitter and Reddit), and so on. While digital platforms open new spaces for collaboration between people from different regions, the dark side has emerged in fake news, right-wing populism, cyberbullying, and digital exclusion that polarises our community. The new logics of collaborating in the digital era calls for responses and solutions from academic research in studying these new hybrid environments.

Against this challenge, the Politics of Co-creation seminar invites students and scholars to share their ideas, works, and use-cases of collaboration in the digital era. The seminar will focus on diverse methods and frameworks of online and (or) offline collaboration in the real world. The form of the presentation is free, but we encourage presenters to share the following points:

  • Definition and operationalisation of collaboration
  • Problem orientation and research questions
  • Analytical framework
  • Data collection and methods
  • Summary of preliminary or expected study results

Seminar format

The participants will present their works using PowerPoint presentation (30-45 minutes). PhD students who participate in the course will take a discussant role after the presentation (10 minutes). Discussions are then open to all participants.

Slots for the Autumn 2021 seminar


10.9. 13.15–14.45

Doctoral student Natalia Villaman

Facilitation as a means for making politics: Pathways towards a reconfiguration of practice

Natalia belongs to the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences and focuses on issues of power exertion linked to facilitation and political participation. In this talk, she will be introducing her PhD topic, in which she dives into facilitation and its potential within public governance and the creation of political opportunities.

In her MA thesis work (linked below), Natalia found an interest towards the uses and misuses of facilitation, and the underlying notions of power and politics linked to it. Deriving from configurative disciplines such as design and management, facilitation holds the potential to be both a hegemonic and counter-hegemonic practice, depending on its deployment in participatory instances.

Moving in a multidisciplinary continent between design, mediation, and social sciences, she problematizes facilitation’s claim to be neutral, leading to naive or manipulative misuses of practice (Villaman, 2020), depoliticizing facilitation by minimizing it to a mere series of methods and tools. Hypothesizing that facilitation beholds the potential to be a key component in public governance by mediating clashes of ambition and influence in the making of politics, Natalia will reconceptualize facilitation as a politicized practice, able to take active part in mediations of struggles for power, and focusing on the creation of political opportunities.

Reference: Villaman, Natalia (2020) Fostering resistance: Acknowledging notions of power exertion and politics in design facilitation. Master Thesis. Aalto University.

Lari Karreinen, solution-focused facilitator, Part Ltd
Susanna Vase, PhD candidate, University of Helsinki

Zoom link: https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/69254518332
Presentation file: Facilitation as a means for making politics


1.10. 13.15–14.45

Doctoral student Bokyong Shin

Mock doctoral thesis defence: ”Social network analysis for communicative planning research”

Bokyong practices for his upcoming public defence (1 November 2021), with the help of three opponents and the audience. In the thesis, Bokyong examined the applicability of social network analysis in the planning literature, highlighting its contribution in identifying a theoretical bridge (social capital and deliberation) and proposing new network measures and models. In the mock defence, Bokyong exercises a 20-minute Lectio, then answers questions from three opponents. After that, Bokyong also answers questions from the audience.

Mikko Rask, Adjunct Professor, University of Helsinki
Arho Toikka, University lecturer, University of Helsinki
Pekka Tuominen, Postdoctoral researcher, University of Helsinki

Zoom link: https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/67615939040
Manuscript: It will be published later.


22.10. 13.15–14.45

Associate professor Hidenori Nakamura

”Citizen Dialogue as Collaborative Environmental Governance: An Exploratory Case Study in Post- Fukushima Japan”


5.11. 13.15–14.45

Doctoral student Susanna Vase

The title of the presentation will be announced shortly.


26.11. 13.15–14.45

Doctoral student Veronica Ahonen

”Towards zero carbon – governing emission offsetting in Finnish universities”


17.12. 13.15–14.45

Postdoctoral researcher Pekka Tuominen and Postdoctoral researcher Anna Zhelnina

”Citizen participation in Helsinki, New York and St. Petersburg: Top-down and bottom-up initiatives”

Veronica Ahonen, PhD candidate, University of Helsinki



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