About Media Concepts Research Group

Media Concepts Research Group is positioned at Aalto University School of Art and Design, Media Department. It was founded in 2006 and focuses on researching and developing media concepts. It is led by professor Maija Töyry.

Media Concepts Research Group studies media – including visuals and graphic design – from different theoretical viewpoints. The senior researchers in the group (Maija Töyry, Merja Helle) have developed the notion of media concept which includes the values and needs of publishers and users, production processes, media artifacts and user experiences of media

The research is based on media research, cultural historical activity theory, audience research, visual design research, usability and design research. Also feminist media studies as well cultural studies approaches are part of groups theoretical orientation.Research data is gathered mostly in developmental interventions which aim at researching, creating and developing media concepts. The research belongs to the use-inspired tradition and is closely connected to producers and consumers of media.

Tekes Next Media project
At present the research group is active in the Tekes funded Next Media research project (2010-2013). This work is led by a Dr. Merja Helle. Project studies the effects of digitalization on printed media, graphic design and media experience of users. One main focus area is digital reading, especially readability and user experience of eReading devices. Another focus area is web publishing and the importance of interactivity and visual design in the media experience. Third focus area is cross media publishing in magazines and how the technological platforms and of layout programs influence the work processes and possibilities for cross media publishing. This work involves close cooperation with Aalto School of Science and the department of Media Technology, School of Economics/CKIR and the media industry.

- Töyry, Maija (2005)Varhaiset naistenlehdet ja naisten elämä ristiriidat (Early women’s magazines and contradictions in women's lives). University of Helsinki, Department of Communication: Helsinki.
- Helle, Merja 2010 Toimitustyö murroksessa. Toimminnan teoria ja mediakonseptin käsite tutkimuksen ja kehittämisen kehyksenä (Changing journalism. Activity theory and media concept as a frame for research and development.

- Töyry, Maija & Räty, Panu & Kuisma, Kristiina (2008). Editointi aikakauslehdessä (Editing in Magazines). Helsinki: Taideteollinen korkeakoulu.
- Virkkunen, J., Engeström, Y.,Pihlaja, J. Helle, M. (1999). Muutoslaboratorio. Uusi tapa oppia ja kehittää työtä. Helsinki: Edita.
- Helle,Merja (1997) Tuumasta tiimiin. Helsinki: Valtionvarainministeriö

Doctoral students:
- 2008–2012 Hanna Weselius: Shared Picture. How magazine producers and audiences construct shared reality.
- 2009–2012 Harri Heikkilä: User-Centered Graphic Design. Usability and graphic design in eReading.
- 2010–2013 Markus Joutsela: Multisensory persuasion and torytelling through ackaging Design. A case study.
- 2010–2013 Ulla Ryynänen: Changes and contradictions in graphic design practices.
- 2011–2014 Riitta Perälä: Creating media relationships. The changing readership of magazines and readers.
- 2011–2014 Nanna Särkkä: Visual identity of magazine genres.

MA students and MA thesis
- Kajsa Hytönen: I kläm mellan vision och verklighet - en etnografisk studie av en webbredaktion.
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- Tarja Vilen: Social media and magazines