Tampere, June 6, 2016: “Exploring migration, crossing the borders between art making and research”

A one-day workshop with Olga Jitlina, Saara Koikkalainen, Ljudmila Kol, Daria Krivonos, Elisa Pascucci, Minna Rainio and Marja-Liisa Torniainen

The global dynamics of migration are touching both Finland and Russia and entailing changes in the social and cultural fabrics of these societies. While migration is a shared issue, it is experienced and structured differently across the Finnish-Russian border.

For us, the border is not only a geopolitical divide between states. Rather, it stands for processes and spaces within which differently structured practices align or resist one another. Similarities and differences between Finland and Russia, or between the professional practices of researchers and artists, push us to investigate what is meant by ‘migration’ or ‘multiculturalism’ — and to identify spaces of justice, equality, and solidarity within them.

Colors, utopian experiments, laughter and jokes, stories and poems… They all have a role to play in attempts to make sense of migration and multiculturalism in Finland, Russia, and beyond.

These will be some of the topics of discussion as artists and researchers representing the research project “Spaces of Justice and Equality across the Finnish-Russian Border” – and their guests – share reflections on migration and multiculturalism at a one-day workshop at the University of Tampere on June 6, 2016. The workshop takes place in PinniA 1081 from 10:00 until 16:00.

The workshop is free and open to all but we kindly ask you to register via this link by June 2, 2016. Welcome!

The workshop is hosted and supported by the School of Management, University of Tampere, and funded by the Kone Foundation.

Speaker bios

Olga Jitlina is an artist based in Saint Petersburg. Her works have investigated the narratives and illusions of labour migration mostly in the post-Soviet space. “The Land of Opportunity”, created in collaboration with human rights advocate Andrey Yakimov, shows how a board game can function as a means of talking about the destinies of the millions of labor migrants who come annually to the Russian Federation from the former Soviet Central Asian republics to earn money. “The Hodja Nasreddin Joke Contest” focuses on jokes and laughter as an emancipatory practice. In her new theatre production “Translation”, created together with the Lampedusa in Hamburg activist refugee group, Olga pursues the question of the translatability of biographies and fates in the context of interviews of people who are applying for the refugee status in Europe and are organizing politically.

Saara Koikkalainen is a migration sociologist who has conducted research on highly-skilled Finns working in the European Union labour markets. Her other research interests have included, for example, the EU free movement policy, tourism work, conditional cash transfer programs and migration decision-making. Together with her colleague David Kyle (UC Davis) she has launched a new concept called cognitive migration, which describes the process of imagining one’s mobility prior to actually making the physical move. Saara will be presenting the research she is doing for the “Journeys through time and place – asylum seekers in Northern Finland” project where she focuses on the personal stories of Iraqi asylum seekers who chose to travel through Europe to Northern Finland during the so-called refugee crisis of 2015.

Ljudmila Kol is a writer and the editor-in-chief of a Helsinki-based literary magazine LiteraruS. The magazine publishes literary texts in Russian (and sometimes in Finnish), and its articles often focus on historical and cross-cultural connections between Finland and Russia. Ljudmila will be presenting the journal’s new project entitled “Memory of Migration – Migration of Memory.”

Daria Krivonos is a PhD candidate in sociology in the University of Helsinki. In her PhD project, Daria studies how young Russian-speakers in Helsinki are coping with job insecurity and unemployment. She will show how the life choices of young Russians are impacted by a variety of exclusions: exclusions created by migration overlap with the growing exclusion from welfare rights accessible to those with regular citizenship.

Elisa Pascucci is a Tampere-based human geographer who specializes in critical refugee and migration studies. She will be discussing ethnographies of deportation/deportability and feminist research that has explored experiences of waiting and ‘life suspension’ in forced migration. Elisa will also elaborate broader trends across the social sciences which are making contemporary migration research less concerned with the figure of the migrant and more with the infrastructures and ‘industries’ of mobility, control and enforcement through which migration is reproduced as a social phenomenon.

Minna Rainio is a visual artist and a researcher working primarily with moving image. She collaborates with visual artist Mark Roberts to produce moving image installations that deal with social and political issues and their impact on people’s individual experiences and histories. Their installations often create immersive spaces that mirror the subjects of their artworks, and implicate the spectator as a participant in the implementation of power relations. Their works have dealt with topics such as the Finnish-Russian border, refugees’ experiences in Finland, Finnish multiculturality, and Finnish immigrants experiences of racism in the USA. Their most recent works investigate climate change and global inequality.

Marja-Liisa Torniainen is a painter, fine art photographer and independent writer based in Tampere. Torniainen has given numerous solo and joint exhibitions in Finland and abroad and published one book. Her main issue as a writer is art with all its connections, especially art reviewing. Colours, from their whispering nuances to the strong colour dialogues are her passion. All the possible emotions are living in colours and in different colour combinations. Art is human research in itself. It has changing power both in individual and social life. Marja-Liisa will be discussing her new project with asylum seekers in Tampere.

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