Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Seminar examining youth in media age in Britain and Finland held at the institute

Timo Vuorikivi from the Finnish Institute in London blogs about the recent seminar Youth Street Politics in the Media Age: Helsinki and London Compared held at the institute.

On Friday 25th of January The Finnish Institute in London hosted a daylong seminar Youth Street Politics in the Media Age: Helsinki and London Compared. The seminar was an opening of a research project 'Youth Street Politics in the Media Age', organised by Titus Hjelm (UCL), Minttu Tikka (University of Helsinki), Leena Suurpää (The Finnish Youth Research Society), Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki) in cooperation with the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, The British Council, and The Finnish Institute in London.

The project seeks to study the construction of youth related social problems in contemporary societies where the media plays an increasing role in constructing and maintaining social and spatial reality, spatial reality being the street. The interdisciplinary project combines perspectives from sociology, youth studies, urban studies and media studies. There is need for this kind of research in the field of sociology: transnational analysis on local and informal youth street politics which utilises both street ethnography and media ethnography and which aims to analyse the configurations of the local and the global in two cities is scarce. The two cities in this case are London and Helsinki.

The seminar consisted of two presentations followed by questions and a round table discussion. Altogether 11 junior and senior researchers from Finland and Britain participated in the seminar. The first presentation was given by Professor Sarah Pink from Melbourne's RMIT University and Loughborough University in the UK. She gave a presentation titled 'Movement and digital media: in everyday life and ethnographic practice'. The lecture examined how we, the people, move with digital media and how movement can be understood as way of being and experiencing in the world. Examples in the form of photographs and videos were given as well. The second presentation was given by Research fellow Daniel DeHanas from Bristol University on his research with London second-generation immigrant youth, Bengali youth in East End and Jamaican Youth in Brixton in particular. The research studies the civic engagement and identity issues among the youth.

Both presentations were followed by set of intriguing questions and vivid conversation about the use of digital media, differences and similarities in Finnish and British youth identities and policies, immigration issues in both countries and research methods.

It seems that this seminar was a success in kick starting the research project and gave many new ideas to the participants!

Timo Vuorikivi
The Finnish Institute in London


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