Nordic Perspectives on Algorithmic Systems: Concepts, Methods, and Interventions was a series of three workshops, situated in the emerging area of critical algorithm studies. The workshops were geared to develop a Nordic perspective to the social study of algorithms, adding diversity to the academic status quo and improving conceptual frameworks and methods for addressing problems pertaining to the social implications of algorithmic systems.

Now that the workshop series has come to an end, we are happy that there is a tangible output to continue working with and spreading the key ideas developed across the three get-togethers: A box full of cards to reconstruct and reimagine algorithmic systems. The four decks of cards will spark your imagination about what algorithmic systems are and what they could be. They were developed to support the creation of games for exploration of algorithmic systems in research and design:

  • The Settings deck features different algorithmic systems and contexts where they are used, ranging from mainstream platforms like Facebook and Spotify to more particular uses such the allocation of healthcare, the coordination of education work, and facilitation of job seeking.
  • The Methods deck introduces a range of methods that can be used in studying algorithms and algorithmic systems.
  • The Metaphors deck consists of a variety of metaphors that have (or could be) used to describe and discuss algorithms and algorithmic systems.
  • The Caveats deck is full of surprises and unexpected requirements. The cards in this deck are meant to force new lines of thinking!

You can use the cards in any combination that works best for you. For use in game design, start by drawing one card from the Settings deck and another from the Metaphors deck. After coming up with an initial idea from these starting points, challenge yourself with a card from the Caveats deck – and/or another from the Methods deck if you want to add a research twist to your game! For use in research ideation or rapid prototyping, draw one card from the Settings, Metaphors, and Methods decks each. What opportunities does the combination open up? You can then either swap one or more of the cards – or introduce a Caveat! You can use the cards alone or in small groups. In workshops or educational settings, we recommend breaking into groups of 3-4. There are blank cards in each deck to encourage customization. The card decks are best used in combination with physical materials: fabrics, cardboard, reclaimed items, or game pieces.

Physical exemplars of the card box are about to run out, but the full materials of the card box are now available in digital format at

Recommended citation: Nordic Perspectives on Algorithmic Systems team; Hockenhull, Michael; Ojala, Mace; Lampinen, Airi; Ferreira, Pedro; Nelimarkka, Matti; et al. (2023): Nordic Perspectives on Algorithmic Systems Card Box. Stockholm University. Presentation.