The African presence in Finland – action research project and exhibition

The African presence in Finland – action research project and exhibition

The action phase of the study, The African Presence in Finland exhibition at the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas in 2015, was planned and organized in collaboration with over 200 researchers, activists, artists, diaspora communities, NGOs, and others. The exhibition project provided new knowledge of the African diaspora communities’ contributions to Finnish society and culture. It also enabled an examination of many theoretical questions concerning research on African and black diaspora(s) in Europe, including those focusing on African diaspora formations in a Northern European country with a relatively short history of migration from Africa and its global diaspora. Funding for the project came from various sources, for example: the University of Tampere, The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, The European Integration Fund, Kone Foundation and several research projects funded by the Academy of Finland.

The African presence in Finland – action research project and exhibition
Workshops for planning the exhibition were organized in different cities, this one in Helsinki in 2014 (photo: Uyi Osazee).

Project’s publications

For an overview of this anthropological action research project see Anna Rastas (2019) Involving diaspora communities through action research. A collaborative museum exhibition on the African presence in Finland. In Felipe Espinoza Garrido, Caroline Koegler, Deborah Nyangulu, and Mark U Stein (eds.) Locating African European Studies. Interventions, Intersections, Conversations. Routledge.

A more detailed description of the project, in Finnish, is available at my site, see Rastas, Anna (2016) Toimijuus edellä. Näyttely analyysina yhteisöistä ja kulttuurisista muutoksista. In Jouhki, Jukka and Tytti Steel (eds) Etnologinen tulkinta ja analyysi. Kohti avoimempaa tutkimusprosessia. Ethnos-toimite 18. Suomen kansatieteilijöiden yhdistys Ethnos ry.: Helsinki, 125–164.

Education package for schools in Finnish- Afrikka Suomessa -opetusmateriaali – based on the African presence in Finland exhibition at The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas (28.4. – 8. 11. 2015). Edited by Wisam Elfadl, Hanna Niittymäki and Warda Ahmed.

See also: Sancho Querol, Lorena. Society in the Museum. Cultural participation in local European museums (SoMus). The African Presence in Finland was one of the case studies of Dr. Lorena Sancho Querol’s (University of Coimbra) project on cultural participation in local museums in Europe. Her project, included field work in Finland and interviews with many of my project’s participants, which enabled an “outsider’s eye” for critical reflections during and after the project. More about her work related to the African presence project on SoMus project’s homepage , including Interview with Anna Rastas