Feeling at Home in a Digital World

An ethnography of how older adults create spaces of wellbeing 

My current project looks at how digital and physical domestic spaces interact to support the wellbeing of older adults. Building on my doctoral research in Japan, this new research conducted in Helsinki and Jyväskylä, Finland, provides a comparative perspective and focuses on what artistic methods such as drawing, collage, photography and video can reveal about experiences of wellbeing.

Ageing populations pose one of the fundamental challenges of the twenty-first century. In order to reduce the economic and societal costs of ageing, governments are increasingly turning to digital technologies, as well as encouraging ‘ageing in place’ with older people remaining living home for as long as possible. But what does 'home' mean in the digital era?

Research Questions

Digital homes

How does the use of digital technologies by older adults impact on their experiences of ageing in place? Does technology augment people's understanding of 'feeling at home' and belonging? What role do technologies play in the crafting of comfortable living spaces?


How is personal wellbeing connected with the wider wellbeing of communities and the environment? How does environmental change impact domestic and digital routines and vice versa? How can wellbeing be better incorporated in the design of digital and physical domestic environments?


Do experiences of ageing in place with digital technologies accord with policy around ageing and digitalisation? How are 'age-friendly' environments and digital interventions imagined and designed and do they align with the diverse needs of older adults?

Graphic ethnography

What can graphic ethnography, i.e. using drawing/collage/painting as a research method, tell us about affective experiences such as of wellbeing and belonging? What are the analytical gifts of a graphic approach to ethnography?


Research Methods and Outputs

Domestic ethnography

The project involves at least one year of in-situ ethnographic fieldwork in Finland, primarily in Helsinki, with diverse research collaborators aged 60 and above. Participant observation inside people's homes and communities provides insights about how people inhabit domestic spaces alongside technologies.

Digital ethnography

At least one year of digital ethnography involving participant observation of people's most-used platforms, conducted in parallel with in-situ ethnography and remotely.

Graphic ethnography

Drawing is used as a fieldwork method, and visual material co-produced with research collaborators will form the basis of a graphic book to communicate the findings from the research. 

Participatory research

The project includes a collaborative exhibition featuring visual material co- produced with research collaborators. The exhibition will be a site of research and dialogue with communities, designers, tech developers, and policy makers

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