AGORA Research Centre's Spring greetings

As we are finally witnessing some promising hints of summer, we wanted to provide you a little summary of the spring 2020 at AGORA for the Study of Social Justice and Equality in Education -Research Centre, Department of Education, Helsinki University.

The Centre's virtual rebirth

This spring AGORA Research Centre changed its virtual home as our new website is now up and running at the University of Helsinki domain. The new webpages are frequently updated with news, and they aim to serve as a source of information about our current research projects, publications and the people and collaborative partners and networks involved. The website is also your guide to our activities and upcoming events.

Our growing AGORA community 

We have gotten a whole bunch of new members and affiliates involved with the AGORA Centre, and we will continue to introduce our researchers and affiliates in our People & Research -series at our website. So far PhD researchers Katariina Tiainen and Katariina Mertanen and postdoctoral researcher Elina Ikävalko have presented their current research. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to get more actively involved at the AGORA community. We welcome all individual scholars – both early stage and senior – and research groups who share our interest and passion towards critical methodologies and issues of equality and social justice in education and various societal support systems.

Some new publications

This spring AGORA celebrated the launch of a new open-access book Youth on the Move: Tendencies and Tensions in Youth Policies and Practices, edited by Professor Kristiina Brunila and Professor Lisbeth Lundahl and published by Helsinki University Press. Youth on the move provides critical perspectives towards transitions in the Nordic countries and England. The articles of the book combine perspectives from young people, policymakers, teachers, guidance counsellors and youth workers. Please read the book editors’ interview here.

There are also several research articles and shorter blog writings published this spring by researchers affiliated with the AGORA. Elina Ikävalko from the CoSupport -project wrote a blog about young people’s views on psychopharmacology. Satu Valkonen, Jaana Pesonen and Kristiina Brunila wrote a Visitor’s Pen to Tutkittua Varhaiskarvatuksesta -blog concerning the marketization of early childhood education and care. See all the latest research publications here.

Participation on parliamentary work on continuous learning

Research findings produced in the Academy of Finland funded (2017–2021) CoSupport -project have also been heard by the Finnish policy makers. In the end of last year postdoctoral researcher Tuuli Kurki participated in a research meeting which was co-organized by ministries and Sitra to support the parliamentary work on continuous learning reform. In her talk Dr. Kurki discussed the challenges of continuous leaning by highlighting some of the key findings from the ongoing CoSupport project. The results show a paradox: although the goal of continuous learning is to involve under-represented groups, practices may produce growing inequality.

Important discussins in podcasts

The AGORA Centre’s research has been presented also in podcasts and videos. Themes of our FuturEd project were discussed in Poikkeuslinjalla -podcast (in Finnish) which focused on the generational experience left by the current COVID-19 crisis as well as the potential long lasting impacts of the pandemic crisis on education. Last autumn, postdoctoral researcher Tuuli Kurki and Professor Kristiina Brunila visited the Suomi-awarded Ruskeat tytöt media’s podcast series ‘Kaikkien koulu’. Professor Brunila also gave an interview concerning Finnish education system while her visit to Melbourne University.

Funding for AGORA researchers and affiliates

We are happy to share some brilliant news in terms of funding and career steps of AGORA affiliated researchers. Postdoctoral researcher Tuuli Kurki, University of Helsinki, received a 3-year funding from the Academy of Finland for her research project “Racism, mental health and young people of colour” to be conducted both in Finland and the United Kingdom. The project examines the connections between racism and mental health, paying particular attention to the experiences of racism of young POC. Postdoctoral researcher Hannele Pitkänen, Tampere University, received a 3-year funding from the Academy of Finland for her project “Educating the evaluative soul?” EdSoul examines the current policy of student self-assessment and its integration into everyday school life and students’ everyday experiences. Postdoctoral researcher Anniina Leiviskä, University of Helsinki, received a 1-year funding from the Emil Aaltonen Foundation for her research project “Democracy Education and the pursuit of common political goals in an era of global crises”. AGORA Centre’s research coordinator and postdoctoral researcher Sanna Toiviainen has been appointed as Associate professor in career guidance at the Department of Culture, Religion and Social Studies, University of South-Eastern Norway, Drammen.


We wish you the best of summer and hope to hear from you and see you in our upcoming events!