The AGORA research centre has provided seminars, workshops, lecture series in which over 3000 scholars, teachers, students, professionals and policy makers have participated.

AGORA holds workshops and regular research seminars, closely connected with social justice and equality perspectives. These research seminars are inclusive so that they create a unique, supportive environment for MA’s, PhD’s and post-doctoral researchers as well as university lecturers and professors.

The seminars are useful especially to doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in terms of building their independent research careers. Along with research support, these seminars provide a site for future funding plans, development of teaching and collaborative writing. The Centre provides courses in Finnish and English. It contributes to the development of teaching from equality and social justice perspectives.


Research seminar Critical sociology and philosophy in education (CRISP)

Seminar has meetings once a month. For further information please contact seminar coordinator Helena Hinke Dobrochinski Candido:

We combine sociological, philosophical, cultural, feminist, historical, social, political and economic perspectives in order to study social change in education and beyond. Our research offers theoretical, conceptual and methodological understanding for the future of education especially in relation to the diversification of populations, needs for stronger social justice/participation, and equality. We tackle with several acute questions in education, such as privatisation, marketisation, new governance, democracy and inequalities.

Research seminar on comparative and international education

For further information and seminar meetings please contact Helena Hinke Dobrochinski Candido (

Research seminar on philosophy of education

For further information and seminar meetings please contact Anniina Leiviskä (


The AGORA holds national and international courses, workshops and research seminars closely connected with social justice and equality perspectives. These events are inclusive so that they create a unique, supportive environment for MA’s, PhD’s and post-doctoral researchers as well as university lecturers and professors.

Please visit University of Helsinki course search for current timetable and enrollment information.

Education, working life and equality, EDUK316, 5CR

The course provides a critical overview to education and working life from the perspectives of inequality, equality and diversity. The course encourages students reflect on their own activities as well as education and working life more broadly in terms of inequality, equality and diversity.

Current themes in philosophy of education, EDUM018, 5CR

The course examines the specific nature of philosophy of education, traditional educational philosophical problems and issues, and describes the importance of educational philosophical research in the study of current phenomena related to education. The course introduces students to the themes, concepts and theories of current educational philosophical research and scientific debate. Topics covered in this course include democracy education, citizenship, value pluralism, political participation, social justice in education, critical thinking, rationality and autonomy as an educational ideal.

Social justice and diversities in education, EDUMCE03, 5CR

The course explores different ways to conceptualize and theorize differences and social justice. The course also explores the relationship between social practices and different ways of conceptualizing. The questions to be examined include: What are the concepts, conditions and practices on which social justice and differences are based? What kind of education and training is required for the realization of democracy? How does power work in different fields of education and training and what are the consequences for different groups. How do different forms of knowledge translate into truths in different contexts of education and training, what they serve and how can they be resisted?

Power. Discources and differences – focus on inequality in education, EDUM322, 5CR

The course examines critically cross-sectoral policies and practices in education from the perspective of inequality. We explore together, how inequality affects children, adolescents and adults. Combining sociological, cultural, political and feminist perspectives we examine how power, discourses and differences work and how different actors such as political decision-makers, experts, researchers, etc. contribute to maintaining inequality. Addressing issues of inequality sheds more light on the lives of different individuals and groups that face inequality, exclusion and discrimination. The main objective is to enable more diverse ways to reflect and act in the context of education and training.

Critical special education, sociological disability studies and inclusive education, EDUK013, 5CR

The course introduces social science research into disability studies, its different trends and applications in the field of education, and applies these theories to the critical examination of special education and inclusive education.

Contemporary issues in comparative and international education

Lecturers: Helena Hinke Dobrochinski Candido together with Petteri Hansen


Reading groups

Feminist theory reading group

This reading group, arranged in collaboration with the Feminist Association Unioni, focuses on feminist theory classics and books that have made an impact on feminist discourses. The reading group is open for everyone: No need for previous knowledge of feminist theory, academic background, or perfect English skills – the objective is to share thoughts and learn together in a casual environment. You don’t necessarily have to finish the book in order to participate but can join the discussion within your own resources. The discussion is facilitated by PhD researcher Saara Vainio and Agora coordinator Inka Tähkä.

The group meets every second to last Tuesday of the month at the Maikki Friberg home (Bulevardi 11 A 1, Helsinki) at 18-20 to discuss and learn together. In the future, the group will decide together on the books we will read. Unfortunately the facilities are not accessible: there are 15 steps from the street floor and the toilets are small.

Meetings and books in 2022:
Tuesday 24.5. Sara Ahmed: The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004) 
Tuesday 21.6. Judith Butler: Gender Trouble (1990)
Tuesday 19.7. Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own (1929)
Tuesday 23.8. bell hooks: Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984)
Tuesday 20.9. Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex (1949) For this meeting, read Introduction and choose one part (Destiny, History or Myths) from the first volume: Facts and Myths.
Tuesday 18.10. Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex (1949) For this meeting, read Conclusion and choose one part (Formative years, Situation, Justifications or Towards Liberation) from the second volume: Lived Experience.
Tuesday 22.11. Book TBA
Tuesday 20.12. Book TBA

For more info, contact Inka (inka.tahka(a) or Saara (saara.vainio(a) Please let us know in advance via email if you plan to join the meeting. If you have trouble acquiring any of the books, please contact Inka.

Previous reading groups

Previously we had an online international reading group "New theories for career guidance", with the aim to bring early stage and senior researchers together to discuss societally and sociologically oriented theory (sociological, philosophical, political, feminist, post-colonial, anti-racist etc.) which connects career guidance theory and practice to broader societal issues, and develops our thinking to tackle with issues of context, intersectionality, agency, power and social justice.

If you have a suggestion for a new AGORA reading group, please contact Inka Tähkä (inka.tahka(a)