Racism and antiracism in lower secondary schools (RILSE)

The aim of the project Racism and antiracism in lower secondary schools is to investigate racism and antiracism from the perspective of both students and school personnel.
About the project RILSE

In this research, we study how pupils and teachers in lower secondary education understand, experience and challenge racism and how education polices aim to tackle racism. 

Racism is shaping our society, politics and public spaces and there is a need to study how students and teachers perceive and react to racism in the school context and work for antiracism since racism has an impact on the lives of pupils. We are interested in racism and antiracism at both the individual and structural level. 

In this study we conduct interviews with students and teachers and participant observations in seven Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking lower secondary schools. We also use survey data, in collaboration with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, with eighth and ninth graders to analyse the prevalence of racist bullying and its impacts on pupils’ welfare. Furthermore, we analyse education policy documents, and the ways racism is discussed and tackled in them. Our research aims to improve the welfare of pupils and promote social justice in education.

Helakorpi, J., Holm, G. & Liu, X. (2023). Education of pupils with a migrant background: A failure in the Finnish system? In M.Thrupp, P. Seppänen, J.Kauko & S. Kosunen (Eds.) Finland’s Famous Education System. Unvarnished Insights into Finnish Schooling, 319-333. Springer. 

Helakorpi, J., Dovemark, M., Rasmussen, A., & Holm, G. (2023). Positions of Newly Arrived Students in Nordic Education Policies and Practices. Nordic Studies in Education, 43(2), 111-127. 

Holm, G. (2023). Participatory photography: high school students’ awareness of privileges in Nordic welfare states. In R.J. Tierney, F. Rizvi & K. Ercikan (Eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education,  270-284. Elsevier. 

Londen, M., Holm, G. & Törmänen, M. (2023). Inclusion and Special Needs Education for Immigrant Students in Finland. In  N. B. Hanssen, H. Harju-Luukkainen & C. Sundqvist (Eds.).  Inclusion and special needs education for students with an immigrant background in the Nordic countries. From research to practice, 138-157. Routledge. 

Loukola, S. (2023). “Not in Our Daycare”? Commitments and Obstacles to Antiracism in Finnish ECEC. Early Childhood Education Journal, 1-9.

Matikainen-Soreau, M. & Loukola, S. (10.-12.1.2024). White and non-White researchers’ positionality in ethnographic research on (anti)racism. 7th European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ECQI), Participation, collaboration and co-creation: Qualitative inquiry across and beyond divides. University of Helsinki, Helsinki. 

Hummelstedt, I. & Shakkarwar, A. (23.-24.11.2023), Helpful individuals and discriminating structures: A case study of Finnish preparatory education. Finnish Educational Research Association conference (FERA), Education and research in society – Society in education and research. Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa. 

Matikainen-Soreau M., Loukola, S. & Hummelstedt, I. (23.-24.11.2023). The rac(ist) card in school settings in Finland. Finnish Educational Research Association conference (FERA), Education and research in society – Society in education and research. Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa.  

Loukola, S. (21.-25.8.2023). Reinforcing and resisting racialisation in Finnish schools via humour. ECER: Emerging Scholars Conference 2023, The value of Diversity in Education and Educational Research, Glasgow, Scotland.  

Loukola, S. (27.7.-3.8.2023). Reflecting racialized positions and possibilities for de-colonizing approaches in research and teaching praxis. Nordic Summer University 2023. Racialization, Whiteness and Politics of Othering, Alternative Futures, Palanga, Lithuania. 

Matikainen-Soreau, M. (8.6.2023). Commentator at the research seminar Gränsdragningar och solidaritetssträvan, Svenskfinlands nya konturer (2020-2023). Svenska litteratursällskapet, Helsinki. 

Loukola, S. & Hummelstedt, I. (15.3.-17.3.2023). Resistance and tears – affects and their impacts for dealing with racism in school. NERA 2023, Nordic Educational Research Association conference, Oslo, Norway. 

Loukola, S. & Hummelstedt, I. (24.-25.11.2022). Opening doors and evoking resistance – white researchers doing research on racism and antiracism. FERA 2022 conference on Education Multivocality in the Changing World of Education, Oulu, Finland.   

Loukola, S. (28.7.-4.8.22.2022). Reflections on Finnish early childhood education teachers’ understanding and experiences of racism, antiracism and white normativity. Nordic Summer University 2022, Oslo, Norway. 

Matikainen-Soreau, M. (1.-3.6.2022). Revealing the invisible: studies of Whiteness in the Nordic Educational Research (Literature review). NERA 2022, Nordic Educational Research Association conference, University of Island, Reykjavik.  

Matikainen-Soreau, M. (24.05.2022). The elephant in the room: Postmigration and Critical Race and Whiteness studies in the Nordics [keynote]. Colour still matters, conversations on racism in Finland, Åbo Akademi, Turku. 

Matikainen-Soreau, M (23.03.2022) Nordiska dagen 2022: Olika berättelser och en gemensam framtid. Arcada & Practicum, Helsinki. 

Hummelstedt, I. & Matikainen-Soreau, M. interviewed (6.11.2023), Forskare: Begreppet "rasism" missförstås i svenska skolor. Korkman, A., Hufvudstadsbladet. 

Hummelstedt, I. interviewed (6.9 2023), När politiker normaliserar rasism rinner den ner i skolorna och sprids vidare [audio podcast episode] in Tabermann, J. & Silén, T. [hosts] Nyhetspodden, Svenska YLE. 

Hummelstedt, I. (5.9.2023) in the panel Är skolan handfallen? [audio podcast episode] in Slaget efter tolv, Svenska YLE. 

Holm, G., Hummelstedt, I. & Matikainen-Soreau, M. (4.9.2023), Spotlight: Skolor blundar för diskriminering. Svenska YLE. 

Loukola, S. (1.12.2023). Kolumni: Rasismi lastemme kouluarjessa.Yhteiset lapsemme-lehti, 4/2023. 

Loukola, S. interviewed (14.9.2023) in Rasismi, uudet kujeet och sommar [audio podcast episode] in Pykälien takaa, Adlercreutz, A. & Sirén, S.-S. [hosts]. 

Matikainen-Soreau, M. interviewed (10.9.2023), Hur ska vi prata om personer med olika hudfärg på ett respektfullt sätt? Vi bad forskaren om tips. Salo, C., Svenska YLE. 

Loukola, S. interviewed (3.9.2023), Stor demonstration mot rasism i Helsingfors – över 11 000 personer deltog. Korkman, A., Hufvudstadsbladet. 

Matikainen-Soreau, M. interviewed (30.7.2023), Därför behöver du en nationell identitet. Sandelin, P., Svenska YLE.

Matikainen-Soreau, M interviewed (30.6.2023), Vad betyder det att vara finländare? Om identitet, flaggor och vem som får vara nationalist [audio podcast episode] in Petter söker meningen med livet. Sandelin, P. [host], Svenska YLE.

Loukola, S. (29.6.2023) Teacher education for equality and equity in China A smokescreen or a possibility for social justice in the future? The Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL).

Loukola, S. interviewed (16.3.2023), Antirasistinen pedagogiikka kutsuu toimiin ja itsetutkiskeluun. Suominen, M., Lasten ja nuorten keskusliiton Pieni on Suuri-lehti. 

Hummelstedt, I. interviewed (2.2.2023), ”Att arbeta mot rasism i skolor kan vara känsligt” – har antirasismkurser för lärare någon inverkan? Gardberg, A., Svenska YLE. 

Hummelstedt, I. interviewed (16.8.2022), Monikulttuurikasvatuksen uusi paradigma - eli millaista antirasistista pedagogiikkaa opettajat tarvitsevat nykypäivänä. Lähde, M. & Felin, Y.C., Lyfta. 

Hummelstdet, I. interviewed (11.8.2022), Tutkittu juttu: Hyväntahtoisuus ei pure koulussa piilevään rasismiin. Vanas, A., Opettaja-lehti. 

Maïmouna Matikainen-Sorau in panel discussion (31.1.2022) SCENMÅNDAG: Får vi tänka kritiskt inom en minoritet? Svenska Teatern, Helsinki. 

Saara Loukola interviewed (15.3.2021), Opetellaan antirasistinen työote. Järvinen, H.-M., Talentia-lehti.

Loukola, S. (4.12.2023) Finnish Development NGO’s (FINGO) and Global Education Research in Finland (GERIF): Globaalikasvatuksen tutkijat ja toimijat kohtaavat. Introduction and workshop Tutkimassa rasismia ja antirasismia suomalaisissa yläkouluissa. 

Hummelstedt, I. (31.10.2023) Lecture on antiracist early childhood education in Folkhälsan’s process training on equity work in early childhood education. 

Holm, G. (5.10.2023) Från strukturell rasism till antirasistisk verksamhetskultur. Lecture for the network Fyren for leadership (school principals). Finnish National Agency for Education.

Hummelstedt, I. (28.9.2023), Kan vi utbilda bort rasismen? Network against racism’s event at Luckan. 

Hummelstedt, I. & Gram, J. (12.9.2023) Lecture on antiracist parenting hosted by the association DiVa.  

Loukola, S. (6.6.-11.6.2023) Equality and equity in Finnish Early Childhood Education. Teacher education for equality and equity in the post-pandemic era. Examples from China and Finland. Hangzhou, Shijiazhuang. Loukola serving as chair in Hangzhou normal university and giving a lecture in Hebei normal university. 

Hummelstedt, I. (13.4.2023) Toisen ymmärtämisestä sosiaalisen oikeudenmukaisuuden edistämiseen: kriittisiä näkökulmia monikulttuurisen kasvatus- ja ohjaustyöhön [Video lecture]. DIAK, Digitally to the steps to learning project. 

Hummelstedt, I & Gram, J. (15.2.2023) Training on antiracism for the staff at Grundskolan Norsen grade 1–9 and their guardians. 

Hummelstedt, I. (3.2.2023) Pedagogik för social rättvisa: mer än goda intentioner [video lecture for teachers] for Rauhankasvatusinstituutti. 

Loukola, S. (2.2.2023) In-service training “antiracist early childhood education” for Espoo municipality’s personnel of early childhood education.

Hummelstedt, I.(27.1.2023) Panelist in a discussion about whiteness in Finnish Swedish schools, EDUCA fair. 

Loukola, S. (8.12.2022) Antiracist early childhood education. Lecture and workshop for the City of Helsinki Education division. 

Hummlestedt, I. (2.12.2022) Kasvatus sosiaalisen oikeudenmukaisuuden puolesta: enemmän kuin hyvää tahtoa. The Finnish Board of Education for the Poiju-teacher network. 

Hummelstedt, I. & Gram, J. (2.11.2022) Vem är normal och vem får synas? [workshop]. In science education for children, UniJunior project. 

Hummelstedt, I. (26.10.2022) Pedagogik för social rättvisa: från att förstå de andra till att bekämpa orättvisor [keynote] at the StigIn-project’s conference on integration. 

Loukola, S. (10-14.10.2022) A funded networking travel to Brussels to meet different NGO’s and actors in the field of antiracism, such as Center Against Islamophobia, European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and euro parliament. Participating in a “regions against racism”-event. Trip organised by the Peace Education Institute. 

Hummelstedt, I. (27.9.2022) Hur kan vi bredda normerna så att alla inkluderas? [workshop]. Integrationsdagarna. 

Matikainen-Soreau, M. (11.4.2022) Rasismia, valkoisuutta ja ei-valkoisuutta pohjoismaisessa kirjallisuudessa. Kulttuurinen monimuotoisuus kustannustoimittajan työssä, Suomen Kustannusyhdistys, Helsinki. 

Matikainen-Soreau, M. (01.01.2021-31.12.2022) Workshops in anti-racism work for Swedish-speaking pedagogues (sektorn för fostran och utbildning). Helsingin kaupunki kasvatus ja koulutus & Rauhankasvatusinstituutti. 

Research group
Gunilla Holm

Gunilla Holm is research director and professor of education in the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include diversity and social justice issues in education with special focus on social class, gender, and racialisation. She conducts mostly ethnographic research, and her research interests also include the development of participatory photography as a research method. Her current research takes an intersectional perspective and is focused on inclusion and exclusion in early childhood education as well as on racialisation in lower secondary education.

Jenni Helakorpi

Jenni Helakorpi is a senior university lecturer in general and adult education.

Ida Hummelstedt

Ida Hummelstedt is a postdoctoral researcher in RILSE, as well as in the MÅDIG project (Diversity and differentiation in primary school). Her doctoral research was a critical analysis of Finnish multicultural education examining processes of othering and racialisation within discourses on multiculturalism. Her present research in RILSE focuses on constraints and possibilities for building an antiracist school culture. Her previous work experience is as a doctoral researcher in MINTED (Multilingual and Intercultural Education in Finland and Sweden) research project, university teacher at the Faculty of Educational Science, primary school teacher, as well as in-service training for teachers on antiracism, norm critical and social justice education. 

Maïmouna Matikainen-Soreau

Maïmouna Matikainen-Soreau is a postdoctoral researcher in RILSE. Her background is in Nordic literature and Scandinavian studies. In her doctoral thesis she developed the term "postmigration literature" and analysed processes of racialisation and white-normativity in Nordic fiction. Her present research in RILSE focuses on Swedish-speaking schools (RISK Racism in Swedish-speaking schools). 

 

 

Saara Loukola

Saara Loukola is a doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Her previous work experience is in early childhood education and training ECEC staff on topics such as antiracism, equality and equity. Her previous research has focused on antiracism and white normativity in early childhood education, and currently she focuses on studying processes of racialisation in lower secondary education as part of the RILSE-project. 

 

Previous participants

Postdoctoral researcher Ina Juva
Doctoral student Anna Suni
Research assistant Joséphine Gram
Technical assistant Venla Järvensivu

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