Katriina Heljakka profile picture
Katriina
Heljakka
Doctoral Student, Cultural Production and Landscape Studies
Doctor of Arts

Areas of expertise

Toy research
toys
play research
playthings
game research
games
playful environments
playful experiences

Biography

Toy researcher Katriina Heljakka (Doctor of Arts, MA (Art history), M.Sc. (Econ.), holds a post-doctoral position at University of Turku (digital culture studies) and continues her research on toys and the visual, material, digital and social cultures of play in the Academy of Finland project Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies. Her current research interests include the emerging toyification of contemporary culture, toy design and the hybrid and social dimensions of ludic practices. During her career, Heljakka, who received her doctorate from Aalto University, has worked in the toy industry as a game designer and creative manager responsible for trend-related research and concept creation. In parallel to being an academic, Heljakka has been involved in character creation, authored children’s storybooks and participated in multiple art exhibitions with her toy-related photography and playable art installations both in Finland, Portugal and the U.S. To explore the discipline of toy design education, Heljakka has visited and lectured (and played) at the toy design programs of the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, Delft University, Shenkar College in Tel Aviv, MIT Game Lab, Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and OTIS School of Design in Los Angeles. In 2017, Heljakka visited the Strong National Institute of Play as a research fellow. She currently acts as the Chief of Play at Pori Laboratory of Play (PLOP). Contact: katriina.heljakka@utu.fi


Teaching

Katriina Heljakka teaches courses on toys, games, playful experiences, play environments and the visual, material, digital and social cultures of play, designs and executes playful interventions such as playful workshops in other areas of study.

Research

Katriina Heljakka holds a post-doctoral position at University of Turku (digital culture studies) and studies toys and the visual, material, digital and social cultures of play at Pori Laboratory of Play. Her current interests include the toyification of culture, toy design and the hybrid and transgenerational dimensions of ludic practices. 


Publications

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