Suvi Pihkala

Suvi Pihkala


PhD, postdoctoral researcher
Gender studies and feminist research


I am postdoctoral researcher in Gender Studies with interest in feminist posthuman and new materialist methodologies and approaches to ethics and responsibility. These were themes at the heart of my PhD research Touchable Matters: Reconfiguring Sustainable Change through Participatory Design, Education, and Everyday Engagement for Non-Violence (2018), where my focus was on responsible participatory practices in participatory design, and on the challenge of cultivating non-violence and relationships based on care, belonging and equality. In my postdoctoral research I continue to explore how participation, responsiblity and ethical encounter materialize in and through creative arts-based research-activism to address sexual harassment in pre-teen peer cultures (Mapping, making & mattering, 2019-2023; Academy of Finland research project). Inspired by feminist theorization within new materialist terrains, I'm interested in exploring how ethics and politics figure in the research-entanglements that we co-compose and find ourselves in.

Research interests

  • Feminist new materialisms
  • Participatory Design
  • Posthuman ethics
  • Postqualitative research
  • Research-activism
  • Technology-rich environments
  • Non-violence and violence prevention
  • Ethically sustainable relationality
  • Art-based research methods

Key publications

Heikkinen, M.; Pihkala, S.; Pääsky, L. & Harmoinen, S. (forthcoming) Intersectional Gender-Responsibility in STEM: Co-Creating Sustainable Arctic Knowledge Production. Accepted for Arctic Yearbook 2020.

Pihkala, S., & Huuki, T. (2019). How A Hashtag Matters – Crafting Response(-Abilities) through Research-Activism on Sexual Harassment in Pre-Teen Peer Cultures. Reconceptualizing Educational Research Methodology10(2-3), 242-258. 

Pihkala, S; Huuki, T. & Sunnari, V. (2019) Moving with Touch: Entanglements of a Child, Valentine’s Day Cards and Research-Activism against Sexual Harassment in Pre-Teen Peer Cultures. Article in the Special Issue Feminist new materialisms: Activating ethico-politics through genealogies in social sciences)Social sciences 8, 226. Open Access. 

Pihkala, S. & Huuki, T. (2019) How a Hashtag Matters: Reconfiguring Research-Activist Encounters to Address Sexual Harassment in Pre-Teen Peer Cultures. In Proceedings of the European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry 2019, 13-15 February, Edinburgh, Scotland. Available online.

Pihkala, S. (2018) Touchable Matters: Reconfiguring Sustainable Change through Participatory Design, Education, and Everyday Engagement for Non-Violence (Doctoral dissertation). University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. Open Access.

Pihkala, S. & Karasti, H. (2018) Politics of Mattering in the Practices of Participatory Design. In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference, Vol 2 (PDC ’18).

Pihkala, S., Huuki, T., Heikkinen, M., & Sunnari, V. (2018). Reconfigurings of Non-Violence as a Matter of Sustainability and Response-ability. NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research. DOI: 10.1080/08038740.2018.1461130

Pihkala, S., Huuki, T., Heikkinen, M., & Sunnari, V. (2017). Re-Thinking and Un/entangling Non-Violence with Response-ability. In Kinnunen, V. & Valtonen, A. (Eds.) Living Ethics in a More-Than-Human World. (pp. 46-55). Rovaniemi, Finland: Lapin yliopisto. Open Access.

Pihkala, S. & Karasti, H. (2016). Reflexive Engagement – Enacting Reflexivity in Design and for ‘Participation in Plural’. In Proceedings of the 14th Participatory Design Conference: Full papers - Volume 1 (PDC '16), Bossen, C., Smith, R. C., Kanstrup, A.M., McDonnell, J., Teli, M. and Bødker, K. (Eds.). Available online. 

Pihkala, S. & Karasti, H. (2015) .Social Media for, with and by Professionals-Participatory Design through Reflexive Engagement. In Kommers P.A.M, Issaías P, Issa T (Eds.). Perspectives on Social Media – A yearbook. (pp. 48-55.) Routledge: New York, NY.

Pihkala, S. & Karasti, H. (2013). Reflexive engagement Reflexive orientation for Participatory Design. In IADIS International Conference ICT, Society and Human Beings 2013, Prague; Czech Republic; 24 July 2013-26 July 2013. Prague: International Association for Development, IADIS. (85–92.)

Heikkinen, M., Pihkala, S. & Sunnari, V. (2012). A European E-learning Programme on Gendered and Sexualised Violence: Developing a Feminist Pedagogy of Non-violence. In Feminist Cyberspaces: Pedagogies in Transition. Collingwood, S., Quintana, A.E. & Smith, C.J. (Eds.).Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. (176-201.)

Heikkilä, J., Näkki, P., Ruuhilehto, K., Bäck, A., Pihkala, S., Huhtamäki, J., Tervakari, A. (2011). Social Media in Expert Networks handling Safety Experiences From Three Cases. In Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference on WWW/Internet, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 58 November 2011. White, B., Issaías, P. & Santoro, F.M. (Eds.). IADIS Press. (437–442.)

Heikkinen, M., Pihkala, S., & Sunnari, V. (2008). Constructing Pedagogical approach for an e-learning Programme on Gender and Sexual violence. In Sunnari, V., Pihkala, S., Heikkinen, M., Huuki, T., & Manninen, S. (Eds.) From Violence to Caring – Gendered and sexualized violence as the Challenge on the Life-span. Conference proceedings. (pp. 203–215.) University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. Available online.

Sunnari, V., Pihkala, S., Heikkinen, M., Huuki, T., & Manninen, S. (Ed.) (2008). From violence to caring. Gendered and sexualized violence as the challenge on the lifespan. Conference proceedings. Oulu, Finland 4-5 December, 2008. University of Oulu, Finland. Retrieved from

Pihkala, S., Heikkinen, M., Huuki, T., Manninen, S., & Sunnari, V. (2008). Foreword. In From Violence to Caring. Gendered and sexualized violence as the challenge on the life-span. Abstracts. Oulu, Finland 4-5 December, 2008. Pihkala et al. (Eds.). Oulun yliopiston kasvatustieteiden tiedekunnan elektronisia julkaisuja 7. Oulun, Oulun yliopisto. (pp. 10–11.) Retrieved from

Other, non-academic publications

Heikkilä, J., Bäck, A., Heikkilä, A-M., Hämäläinen, P., Näkki, P., Ruuhilehto, K., Pihkala, S., Karasti, H., Huhtamäki, J., Tervakari, A., Marttila, J. (2012). Sosiaalinen media turvallisuutta ja työhyvinvointia edistävien yhteisöjen tukena: Openrisk hankkeen loppuraportti. VTT Technology 3. Espoo, VTT. 82. Retrieved from

Huuki, T., Manninen, S., Sunnari, V., Pihkala, S. & Parkkila, H. (2012). Allies e-Guide. Teachers’ and Parents’ Alliance for Early Violence Prevention in Pre School. URL:

Pihkala, S. (2012). Report on inter-ethnic relations, school bullying and adolescent violence. ARBAX general report 9/2012. Retrieved from

Pihkala, S. (2012). ARBAX report on good practices. General report 9/2012. Retrieved from:

Huuki, T. & Pihkala, S. (2018). Seksuaalinen häirintä on arkipäivää alakoulussa. Kaleva, 21.3.2018.

Pihkala, S. (2011). Sosiaalinen media Henkilöstön edustajalle oiva apu. Akavalainen (5), 30 .

Sunnari, V., Huuki, T., Manninen, S., Heikkinen, M., Alaraasakka E., Pihkala, S., Rönkä, A. (2010). Naistutkijat peräänkuuluttavat asiallisuutta! Kaleva 04.09.2010


I teach mainly courses related to gender-based violence. I  lead the Gender studies' joint Bachelor's and Master's Thesis seminar in the Faculty of Education and act as a secondary supervisor for two Doctoral research projects. I also act as the University of Oulu contact person and steering committee member for the HILMA network for Gender studies.

  • 417215A Global Contexts of Violence. Gender related violence in the landscape of global vulnerabilities, offered in collaboration with UNIPID university network (fall 2018; spring 2020; fall 2021).
  • 417215A Väkivalta ja toisarvoistamisen ulottuvuudet (verkkokurssi kevät 2018) / Violence and forms of othering (e-course only in Finnish)
  • 417138P Väkivallattomuus ja välittävä myötäeläinen (tentti/essee) / Non-Violence and Compassion (essay/book exam)
  • 417138P Sukupuoli, kulttuuri ja etnografia (tentti/essee) / Gender, culture and enthnography (book exam/essay)

Professional and academic roles

Research groups

  • Postdoctoral researcher, Gender Studies


Mapping, Making & Mattering: Arts and Research-Activism for Addressing Sexual Harassment in Pre-Teen Peer Cultures

The Academy of Finland funded gender studies research project Mapping, making & mattering: Arts and research-activism for addressing sexual