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EDI - Education and Difference

Tarja Kankkunen: "Tuula's garden" (detail)

The history of the Edi-group is based on cooperation in the fields of gender and education research, but the backgrounds, interests and research topics of the participants have diversified and multiplied over the years. The dynamics of Edi are based on its independent status.

This form of operation has been a result of considered planning. The planning and the longitudinal orientation were made possible, because in 1987 “Gender and Education” network was founded, and it was supported by the Academy of Finland funding directed at co-operative research groups for two three year terms 1989-1994. In 1994 the researchers organised themselves as an independent network. The network chose Edi (Education and Difference) as its name, with the intention to refer to the multidisciplinary, multifaceted research, where the taken-for-granted is interrogated and queried, and innovative approaches were sought for and constructed. Innovation has been based on interaction where the aim has been to minimise the effects of hierarchies and to create democratic, collaborative practices.

The Edi meetings usually address a theme that has been agreed I the previous meeting. Everybody participates in the discussion through the practice of an “initial round”, where each member share their reflections on the topic with the rest of the group. After this collective discussion longer talks are presented by those participants who have offered a paper. In our seminars we have either addressed particular themes such as methodological issues, theoretical concepts (for example gender, sexuality and social class) or questions that deal with reflexivity of the researcher (such as reading, writing, listening and talking).