Thorben Simonsen

Assistant Professor

Research interests

Building on my PhD work on architecture, public health and the design of novel spaces of care, I am currently interested in developing the notions of ‘digital spaces’ or ’digital spacings’ as heuristics for thinking about and researching how digitalization opens, closes, distorts and/or enables care practices, accountability and governance relations, as well as welfare provision in virtual and physical localities. I think we need to cultivate sensitivity towards the situated implications of ‘the digital’, whether in relation to care, work, or organization. How digital infrastructures might support the design of new spaces for recovery, well-being, or work, for instance, are of key interest to my current research.

‘healing architecture’; space; digitalization; (health)care; well-being; organization; work; situated inquiry; ethnography; STS


  • PhD from the Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School
  • MSc in Social Science and Health Promotion, Roskilde University
  • BA in Social Science and Health Promotion, Roskilde University

PhD Research

In my Ph.D. I studied the spatial organization of psychiatric practice, conducting a situated inquiry into 'healing architecture', and investigating what 'healing architecture' does in a psychiatric hospital in Denmark. More specifically, by taking an ethnographic approach I studied how space and interaction became ordered in practice. The dissertation commits to contextual and historical factors in investigating the situated, local and everyday practices of psychiatric work. Drawing on insights from science and technology studies, health geography, and the sociology of health and illness I treated ’healing architecture’ and space as salient technologies, delineating possible but available courses of action for psychiatric staff and patients alike. The interplay and reciprocal relations between design, technology and practice are at the heart of the study.


  1. Simonsen, Thorben and Holger Højlund. 2018. “Rummets Grammatik - Helende Arkitektur i Psykiatrien.” Politik (2):22–42.
  2. Simonsen, Thorben P. 2020. “The Spatial Organization of Psychiatric Practice - A Situated Inquiry into ‘Healing Architecture.’” PhD Dissertation, Copenhagen Business School.
  3. Simonsen, Thorben P. and Cameron Duff. 2020. “Healing Architecture and Psychiatric Practice: (Re)Ordering Work and Space in an in-Patient Ward in Denmark.” Sociology of Health and Illness 42(2):379–92.


  • IT and Work Design, Global Business Informatics, BA Program
  • Organizational Change, Digital Innovation and Management, MSc Program (Course Manager)
  • Supervision, Global Business Informatics, BA Program