New research activities at the Finnish Youth Research Network

Etualalla Nuorisotutkimusverkoston julkaisuja, taka-alla pöydän äärellä seisova ihmishahmo.

The Finnish Youth Research Network’s publication series includes both publications from the Network’s own research projects and manuscripts offered by third-party researchers.

The Finnish Youth Research Network carries out research activities in projects of varying length. The varied themes shed light on young people’s lives, their operating environments, and the everyday experiences of those who work with young people from many different perspectives. Recently launched research projects are examining: children as music fans; young people’s operational environments and sense of place in the Helsinki region during the coronavirus pandemic; the use of parental leave among parents under the age of 30 in the Nordic countries; democracy and human rights education in Finland; mental health and substance abuse services for young people; work experience for comprehensive school pupils.

Every year the Finnish Youth Research Network carries out a number of research projects. In 2020, the Network carried out research within 27 projects and research entities. The Finnish Youth Research Network employed a total of 18 permanent and 6 visiting researchers and research assistants. You can find out more about the Finnish Youth Research Network’s research activities on the Research page.

The ‘Children as music fans and changes to childhood’ project examines children under the age of 10 as music fans

The popular music fan culture, which is usually associated with young people, has begun to extend its influence more fully into the lives of adults and children. So far, research into the topic has focused mostly on ageing communities, while child fans have been given hardly any attention in the academic discourse. The project addresses this lack of information while also giving fresh insight into the changes that have taken place in the Western experience of childhood in the past few decades, such as the digitalisation, commercialisation, and sexualisation of childhood. The researcher in this project, which is funded by the Kone Foundation, is Janne Poikolainen PhD, who also edits the ‘Fanikulttuuri. Nyt’ article series which is published under the umbrella of the Finnish Youth Research Network’s Näkökulma series. Poikolainen’s earlier research project on young people staying at summer houses in Mäntyharju was completed in January.

The ‘Young people’s sense of place and worries’ project is based on the public discussion of ‘concerning youth phenomena’ which began at the end of 2020

The project idea came from the Finnish Youth Research Network’s research professor, Tommi Hoikkala, who came up with the idea on his Facebook profile in November 2020. More than 40 interested parties – including researchers, journalists, teachers and youth workers – took part in planning the project, which Hoikkala describes as “multi-player information activism”. The research phase began back in December 2020 with funding from the City of Helsinki. This is Hoikkala’s emeritus project, as he will be retiring in April.

“People in different fields welcomed my idea enthusiastically. As a result of the discussion, I wrote a project plan and sketched out three independent wings: investigative journalism, the arts, and research-based team ethnography. These are connected by a shared field: we are led out into the field by the professional youth workers of the youth outreach services in the Helsinki region, and we digest observations together during regular Zoom meetings,” Hoikkala explains.

The article ‘Suljetun kaupungin lapset’ (‘Children of the closed city’), which appeared in Helsingin Sanomat on 21 March, was part of the project and an independent product of the investigative journalism wing. The article was written by journalists Maria Manner and Paavo Teittinen.

The art wing of the project is organised by director Joel Teixeira Neves. The project ‘GANG – a route planner into youth culture 2021–2022’ (working title) will produce three art projects in 2021–2022. Professionals from the arts, young people who have been reached by the project, and various arts institutions will take part in the project. The projects will be GANG360°, which illustrates young people’s relationship with the urban environment through Virtual Reality headsets, the GANGsoundscape sound installation, and a mobile theatre performance which follows 3–5 young people around the city, which will also be included in the 2022 programme of the Finnish National Theatre.

The Finnish Youth Research Network is in charge of the research part, and the team ethnography is led by Senior Researcher Sofia Laine. Postdoctoral Researcher Eila Kauppinen, Researcher Teemu Vauhkonen and Researcher Susanna Jurvanen are also working on the project. The aim of the project is to produce information about young people’s sense of place, particularly in urban-like structures during the pandemic.

Research data to support the development of mental health and substance abuse services for young people

Research has shown that some young people are not doing so well: the number of young people who use drugs has increased, the reduction in alcohol use among young people has stopped, and a small number of young people are getting involved in increasingly serious crime. The exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic have increased the anxiety, depression and loneliness experienced by many young people. The purpose of this joint project by the Finnish Youth Research Network, the A-Clinic Foundation, MIELI Mental Health Finland and the Finnish Red Cross is to collate information about best practice and effective methods that are used in the social care and low-threshold services to support young people’s mental health. The project will also analyse transitions and interfaces between social and health care services, the education sector, and units offering low-threshold mental health services for young people under the administrative branch of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

The aim of the research project is to produce research data about developing collaboration and practices relating to mental health and substance abuse services for young people. The project is funded by the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS) and led by Research Manager Tuuli Pitkänen from the Finnish Youth Research Network.

Research seminar: Young people in the mazes of mental health, substance abuse and social services, 10 June

Are you researching young people’s situation, support needs, service pathways, existing practices or content, or mental health, substance abuse or social services or their interfaces from the perspectives of young people, youth workers or the young people’s family and friends? On 10 June, the project is organising a research seminar where you can present your research findings and receive feedback on ongoing research into youth, the views of young people, and the service system.

LINKKI?!?!

This joint Nordic project compares the use of parental leave and its effect on gender equality

The Finnish Youth Research Network is taking part in the ‘Young parents, parental leave and gender equality’ project which examines the use of parental leave among parents under the age of 30 in the Nordic countries. The study focuses on the socioeconomic and sociocultural models and their consequences for gender equality in the workplace and at home. Within this project the Finnish Youth Research Network’s Researcher Jenni Lahtinen is carrying out a survey of the literature on the use of parental leave among young parents in Finland and young people’s gender-related views on family life. The project is funded by the NIKK (Nordisk Information för kunskap om kön).

More information: The ‘Young parents, parental leave and gender equality’ (YOPA) research project.

Research data on how to make better use of work experience

In this joint project by MDI Public (coordinator), the Finnish Youth Research Society and the Research Foundation for Studies and Education, we will produce information on how to better take advantage of the potential offered by periods of work experience for comprehensive school pupils as part of the development of basic education. The focus lies on: pupils’ readiness for further education; attachment to working life; preventing social exclusion; evening out differences in background; and equality. The review will be carried out on a national level and it will take into account regional differences, municipalities’ different economic structures, challenges in sparsely populated areas, and special characteristics of growth areas. The project is funded by the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS). The project is led by the Finnish Youth Research Network’s research director, Sinikka Aapola-Kari, and Jenni Lahtinen acts as the researcher.

A joint project examining the state of Finnish democracy and human rights education

In this project, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, we will map out projects, collaboration between organisations, and best practice relating to democracy and human rights education in Finland during the last five years. The project is carried out by the Finnish Youth Research Society, the Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi, and Koordinaatti (City of Oulu). The aim of the project is to promote the work and goals of the steering group for the development of democracy and human rights education, which was appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Finnish Youth Research Network’s researcher in this project in Senior Researcher Anu Gretschel.

More information: The 'State of Democracy and Human Rights Education' research project.

More information

For more information about a specific project, please contact the researchers named under each project.

More information about the work of the Finnish Youth Research Network in general:

Research Director Sinikka Aapola-Kari
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tel. +358 44 416 5303