Academic Mindtrek Tracks

Academic Mindtrek 2021 welcomes all scientific contributions that present relevant and actual studies of today, that may shape the way we interact with technologies of tomorrow. Our goal is to facilitate a meaningful experience and knowledge sharing on how the technology merges into the society and what opportunities and hidden threats it brings into it.

For our general track, we welcome submissions that share methodological understanding and practices on how to design, develop, implement and evaluate interactive computing systems and services for human use. The submitted papers should be focusing on phenomena related to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI): human factors and requirements, usability and ergonomics, privacy, ethics and trustworthiness of technologies as well as the exploration of other factors involved (e.g., sociological and psychological factors).

To this end, we encourage authors to submit studies that demonstrate novel, innovative, and efficient ways to make technologies more useful, sustainable, accessible and desired for the people of 21st century. We particularly encourage submitting fundamentally new and aspiring concepts, prototypes, case studies, and experiments that may shape the future perception and interaction with technology in education, business, industry, and other relevant sectors.

Open the Call for Papers

Games and Gamification

Local chair: Assoc. Prof. Juho Hamari from Tampere University

Co-chair: Benedikt Morschheuser from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Gamification, i.e. a “process of transforming any activity, system, service, product or organizational structure into one which affords positive experiences, skills and practices similar to those afforded by games, and is often referred to as the gameful experience. This is commonly but optionally done with an intention to facilitate changes in behaviours or cognitive processes. As the main inspirations of gamification are games and play, gamification is commonly pursued by employing game design” .

Gamification has become an umbrella concept that, to varying degrees, includes and encompasses other related technological developments such as serious games, game-based learning, exergames & quantified-self, games with a purpose/human-based computation games, and persuasive technology.

Secondly, gamification also manifests in a gradual, albeit unintentional, cultural, organizational and societal transformation stemming from the increased pervasive engagement with games, gameful interactions, game communities and player practices. For example, recently we have witnessed the popular emergence of augmented reality games and virtual reality technologies that enable a more seamless integration of games into our physical reality. Moreover, the media ecosystem has also experienced a degree of ludic transformation: with user generated content becoming an important competitor for large media corporations. This transformation has led to the development of several emerging phenomena such as the Youtube and modding cultures and esports, that have penetrated the cultural membrane allowing games to seep into domains hitherto dominated by traditional media.

Relevant topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Users: e.g. Engagement, experience, motivations, user/player types
  • Education: e.g. Serious games, game-based learning, simulation games
  • Media: e.g. eSports, streaming
  • Commerce: e.g. Game business models, free-to-play, gamification as marketing, adoption
  • Work: e.g. Organizational gamification, gameful work, games-with-a-purpose, playbour
  • Technology: e.g. VR, AR, MR, gameful wearables and IoT
  • Toys & playfulness
  • Health: e.g. Quantified-self, games for health, health benefits
  • Theories/concepts/methods: Contributions to science around gamification
Extended Reality: Virtual, Mixed and Augmented Realities

Local chair: Pertti Huuskonen from Tampere University

Co-chairs: Ville Mäkelä from LMU Munich and Andrii Matviienko from Technical University of Darmstadt

The benefits of XR technologies come with a possibility to enhance the interaction by blurring the line between digital and real. With an increase in using new technologies for capturing, modelling, simulating and tracking the reality and thus producing hybrid environments, this field provides immense opportunities for novel applications in all areas of life. This track welcomes all the papers that contribute to the development of XR technologies focusing on enhancing the interaction between the technology and its users. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • The Design and Evaluation of XR Applications and Systems
  • Studies on user perception, user experience and acceptance of new technology
  • Methods and processes for producing extended environments
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics in XR
  • New Research Methodologies and Remote Participation through XR
  • Research Methods for Mobility using XR
  • Application in Industrial Settings
  • Technology experiments for XR interaction
Human-Robot Interaction

Local chair: Aino Ahtinen from Tampere University

Co-chair: Assoc. Prof. Mohammad Obaid from Chalmers University of Technology

Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) is a comparably young discipline, which attracts more and more attention within academic and industrial research. Robots are rapidly spreading to all spheres of life and taking more roles in the society, from massive industrial automation to supportive application in education, medicine and household. This track is suitable for all the papers that explore how to design and develop robotic systems that can fit the society needs and be able to accomplish complex and unstructured tasks when interacting with people. We especially encourage papers that present experiments and case studies focusing on the issues of interaction between humans and robots. This track is a great opportunity to initiate a multidisciplinary discussion on the key challenges and opportunities of HRI on theoretical and practical levels. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science in HRI
  • Socially Assistive and Interactive Robotics
  • Industrial Robotics & Automatization
  • User-centred and robotics-centred design in HRI: theories, methods, frameworks and real-life appliances
Understanding and Designing the Socio-Technical

Local chair: Assoc. Prof. Thomas Olsson from Tampere University

Co-chair: Assoc. Prof. Robb Mitchell from University of Southern Denmark

This track embraces interdisciplinary research that crosses the gap between social sciences, computer science, and design. We welcome a broad range of research topics that touch the interrelatedness of social and technical aspects — e.g., technology conditioning social interactions, collaboration, and interpersonal relationships, as well as social aspects like norms and regulations shaping the use and development of technology. This topic is especially timely now that the COVID-19 pandemic as ICTs have become the primary medium of connection between many of us.

We welcome papers representing various research approaches and methodologies. The research could be about studying, designing, or critiquing socio-technical matters. The track has a slight orientation towards the fields of human-computer/technology interaction and social computing but welcomes research also from the social sciences (e.g., work life research, social psychology, science and technology studies, communication research) as well as from different fields of design (e.g., design provocations, design case studies, and artistic interventions). The track welcomes theoretical work, conceptualization pieces and argumentation papers, empirical studies, design case studies, annotated portfolios, as well as methodology development.

More specific topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing social encounters and other multi-user interactions in collocated situations
  • Novel ICT applications for mediating and facilitating remote interaction: at work, in hobbies, in leisure time, etc.
  • Unconventional applications and speculative designs of Social Computing and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
  • Social matching technology, people recommender systems, team formation tools and other forms of systems that shape relationships and social networks
  • Collaboration and social interactions in XR and other emerging technologies
  • Social networks and other systemic perspectives to socio-technical systems
Accessibility and Special Interests Groups

Local chairs: Sumita Sharma from Oulu University

Co-chair: Grace Eden from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology

This track is geared towards inclusion, accessibility, and empowerment of marginalized users and special interest groups, through technology design and use. We welcome papers that contribute to the understanding of accessibility and present design and development solutions for diverse groups of users, including people with motor, sensory, and cognitive disabilities, and people from specific age groups (children and the elderly) and contexts (rural, non-tech, HCI4D, ICT4D). We especially encourage papers that present exploratory studies with nuanced theoretical underpinnings and/or discussions and approaches towards designing for and catering to the needs and aspirations of diverse user groups. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Accessibility: theories, models, frameworks, case studies
  • Design and development of interactive systems for people with special needs including the elderly, people with disabilities
  • Child-Computer Interaction
  • Themes such as empowerment and social inclusion.
Fictional, Speculative and Critical Futures in Human-Computer Interaction

Local chair: Oğuz 'Oz' Buruk from Tampere University

Co-chairs: Theresa Jean Tanenbaum from University of California, Irvine and Ahmet Börütecene from Linköping University.

With recent rapid developments in human-computer interaction, we are now facing emerging technologies which will have major impacts on humanity, potentially dramatically altering our ways of living. Technologies that once were the domain of science fiction, such as brain-machine interfaces, body augmentations, mind upload and robotic companions, are now here, or on the immediate horizon. These emerging technologies promise exciting opportunities for humankind, but they come with many challenges and might lead to massive societal, cultural and individual paradigm shifts. Understanding the impacts of these emerging technologies is remarkably challenging with conventional HCI methods such as user experiments or interviews.

Design Fiction, Speculative Design or Critical Design have emerged as methods to grapple with the possible futures inherent in emerging technologies. These methods create fictional worlds oriented around proximate futures of technology allowing researchers to contemplate the consequences and possibilities of new technologies. Speculative and critical methods help us think rigorously and systematically about the future, but also playfully. Our aim with this track is to create a venue for research projects which adopt less conventional methods and in the long term become a frontier publication avenue for such research projects.

Submissions may include a variety of methods, but they MUST include a section which critically engages with the related research by using tools such as fictional abstracts, fictional prototypes, speculative design proposals or pastiche scenarios. Accordingly, we do not have a clear boundary on the topics we accept, however, some of the exemplar topics include:

  • Body-integrated Technologies
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Techno-Spiritual Studies
  • Altered States of Consciousness
  • Transhuman and Posthuman Technologies
  • Robotic Agents
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Solarpunk, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, and Afrofuturism
  • Dystopia and Utopia Studies

If you are unfamiliar with the methods mentioned in this track but still would like to submit your research, we recommend a few readings that can lead to a successful submission (see here). These methods can help researchers form novel perspectives to engage with their topics. Therefore, we expect submissions from all fields and encourage authors to engage with the fictitious, speculative and critical design methods.

If you have questions, please contact

Playable, Sustainable, Inclusive: The Future of Smart Cities

Local chair: Mattia Thibault from Tampere University

Co-chair: Anton Nijholt from Twente University

The Smart City paradigm brought along the promise of functional and efficient cities: monitoring, geo-tracking and ubiquitous computing can offer tools for engaging citizens and measuring the impact of data-driven decisions in real time. Nevertheless, they also raise concerns about privacy, instrumentalist urban planning or technological lock-in, and they have been strongly criticised for the overall top down approach to urbanism that they seem to support.
For the Smart City paradigm to have a positive impact on city-making, therefore, the concept needs to expand and include bottom up approaches and ambitious social goals. In particular, future Smart Cities will need to be playable, sustainable, and inclusive.

1) Playable Cities propose an antidote to the technocentrism of Smart Cities. They hack urban technology and use play to create tighter communities and mobilize citizens around social issues.

2) The 11th Sustainable Development Goal by the UN urges to build sustainable cities and communities. Cities consume more than three-quarters of the world’s energy resources. For Smart Cities to have any future, they need to be sustainable.

3) Urban Inclusiveness, according to the World Bank, has three dimensions: spatial, social, and economic. While gentrification and segregation continue to afflict cities, the need to create urban spaces that are welcoming to every citizen and identity is stronger than ever.

This track welcome contributions that focus on one or more of the three key developments of future cities: being playable, sustainable, and inclusive. Papers proposing innovative ways of bringing together the benefit of these approaches are particularly appreciated.

Topics of interest include:

  • Playable cities: playing in, with and for the city, serious urban games, urban gamification, critical urban play.
  • Sustainable cities: ecologic and climate resilient cities, e-mobility, the fabrication city, urban agriculture, regenerative urban design, green urbanism.
  • Inclusive cities: cities and spatial inclusion, gentrification and socio-economical inclusion, marginalized citizens, cities and disability, cities for all ages, gender-neutral cities.
  • Smart citizens: hackable cities, wearable urban technologies, bottom-up smart projects, playful citizens, and creative people.

If you have questions, please contact


Local chair: Zampeta Legaki from Tampere University

Co-chairs: Kostas Karpouzis from National Technical University of Athens and Georgios N. Yannakakis from University of Malta and Technical University of Crete.

Datafication is a technological trend turning many aspects of our life into data. With 3.6 billion active
users spending in average 144 minutes daily in social media, datafication has attracted attention.
Conceptualizing Datafication as “the process by which subjects, objects, and practices are transformed
into digital data” (Southerton, 2020), new research questions have been raised, which have been also
supported by the rapid penetration of smart technologies, and social media in our daily life.
Datafication comes to enhance our perspective on how we look at the world, how we understand it and
how we can predict its future. Getting insights of the available data makes us better prepared to fight
challenges such as pandemics, climate-change and future decisions for a sustainable world. However, as
most of other rapidly emerging trends, Datafication has also been under heavy criticism. Considering the
variety of sectors that datafication touches, the more urgent is the need to put limitations, and be aware
of potential dangers.
We put emphasis on datafication as a technological trend which translates the world into a digitized
source of data, available to provide insights regarding a variety of social and environmental aspects.
Studies related to applications, getting insights about the world through data, advancing social
engagement in data-related scientific fields, aiming to cultural shifts and behavioral changes through
data-driven approaches are welcome to this track. Gamified strategies, data analytics and visualization
targeting data-driven communication and raising awareness about societal problems are invited as well.
There is not a clear boundary or categorization of the accepted topics, however, viewing datafication
through the prism of social engagement, and gamification for a sustainable future we present the
following as a general guidance:

  • Datafied Citizen
  • Datafication for behavioral change and cultural shift
  • Datafication and Sustainability Development Goals
  • Datafication and Gamification
  • From Data Science to Data Visualization, SciVis and InfoVis
  • Data-Driven economy
  • Gamification in education of Datafication (STEM, Public Understanding of Science)
  • Datafication and/or Gamification and Energy Policy and Climate Change
  • Big Data and Analytics in society, culture
  • Datafication and Media and Communication

We expect submissions from all fields and encourage experimental studies, applications and

Dark Side of Information Technology

Local chair: Henri Pirkkalainen from Tampere University

Co-chairs: Monideepa Tarafdar from Lancaster University and Markus Salo from University of Jyväskylä.

The use of information technology (IT) provides numerous potentials and delights for individuals in work and non-work-related settings. Many potentials relate to increased productivity and performance as industries adopt new ways of working with IT due to digitalization. Despite these examples of potentials and delights, IT use has also been associated with a number of negatively associated outcomes and side-effects.

The term “dark side of IT use” refers to a collection of ‘negative’ phenomena that are associated with the use of IT, and that have the potential to infringe the well-being of individuals, organizations and societies. The dark side of IT use raises many important issues on phenomena such as technostress and coping, IT addiction, security and privacy concerns, information load and IT engagement, IT interruptions and deviant workplace behaviors.

As new technologies emerge, so do their various negative impacts. The prevalence and significance of the negative effects of IS use for individuals, organizations, and societies illustrate the importance of extending the research in this area. We invite submissions that explore new, emerging phenomena, advance prior literature and apply/develop new measures, methods or insights related to dark side of IT use. Thus, we invite theoretical/conceptual articles, empirical research (e.g., in-depth case/field/interview studies, surveys, experiments, longitudinal studies), meta-analyses and others embedded in work and non-work-related contexts.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Technostress and strains
  • IT addiction, IT dependence and problematic IT use
  • IT interruptions
  • Multitasking
    Negative outcomes or side-effects of using emerging technologies (e.g., virtual/augmented/mixed reality, internet of things, wearable technology, ubiquitous systems)
  • Issues on interacting with Artificial Intelligence (e.g., dehumanization)
  • Deception and malicious use of IT (e.g., distribution of disinformation, fake news)
  • The effects related to privacy and security concerns
  • Cyberbullying and internet stalking
  • Work surveillance (e.g., Employee monitoring, IT-mediated control)
  • Polarization of society
  • Algorithmic bias
Immersive Media and Journalism

Local chair: Heli Väätäjä from Lapland University of Applied Sciences

The hottest topic in journalism and publishing industry in recent years has been the shift towards technology-mediated ways of engaging the audience. The “mobile-first” approach, e.g., the use of portable devices for journalism activities enhanced with the publication presence in social media, are now at the core of research and innovative strategies in nowadays journalism. Engaging the audience with the help of these new tools is increasingly important also for non-news media, such as traditional magazines. This track is suitable for the papers, that present new and emerging forms of technology to create, share and present journalistic content. The submitted papers may investigate new visual forms of journalism and storytelling by presenting multimedia and data visualization projects, innovative ways of utilizing digital content from mobile to XR devices.

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • New forms journalism and media: trends, frameworks and practical implications
  • Social media as a medium for journalism
  • Journalism thought portable devices
  • Journalism via XR
Emerging Media

Local chair: Jaakko Hakulinen from Tampere University

With a rapid exposure to advanced technologies and tools, there is an unlimited opportunity for developing innovative and unordinary forms of media content as well as ways of content sharing and presentation. This track welcomes all the papers that present fresh and novel ideas, concepts, and user studies within the field of emerging media that may shape the way we create and experience media content. We especially welcome papers that uncover the tools for and process of developing new forms of interactive media in combination with how it affects the audience’s experience and engagement.

  • Emerging media paradigms, trends, tools and techniques
  • Media content design and development: concepts, case studies and experiments
  • Emerging media and the use of XR for entertainment purposes
  • Emerging media in advertising and marketing
Digital Art & Performance

Local chair: Riku Roihankorpi from Tampere University

Co-chair: Tom Gorman from Coventry University

Digitalization and related changes in all walks of life have made the use of digital technologies increasingly prevalent in the development and implementation of arts and entertainment activities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid online performances and new forms of broadcasting and multicasting – that often employ augmented and remote realities – present a new chapter for the digital arts and the entertainment industry. They demonstrate how technology can facilitate, support and even revitalise experiences of theatre performances, art exhibitions, concerts, festivals, and other activities related to artistic representation. For this track, we encourage the participants to submit papers that focus on new ways and technologies of audience and practitioner engagement and emerging design and development processes in the digital arts and entertainment. Topics may include (but are not strictly limited to) discussions on:

  • Technology-supported theatre and performance
  • Technology-supported art installations and galleries
  • Virtual and hybrid concerts and festivals
  • Hybrid practices in arts and performance training
  • Artistic experiences and practices based on remote presence
  • The use of XR in media and television production