Photo by Sami Hänninen
Vallan Visaiset Kaverisuhteet
(Powerfully Knotty Peer Relations)
Vallan Visaiset Kaverisuhteet' ['Powerfully Knotty Peer Relations'] is a free, 36-page booklet that aims to inform parents, teachers, and policy makers about mundane and subtle forms of gender-based violence in pre-teen peer and relationship cultures. Written by Tuija Huuki, produced by Hanna Louhimo and Nea Lehto, illustrated by Aiju Salminen, and funded by Academy of Finland and the University of Oulu, it contains up-to-date practical advice for creating a non-violent school environment.
Open the booklet by clicking the picture below
#MeToo Post Scriptum
#MeToo Postscriptum, was a creative research-activist project carried out by me and Dr. Suvi Pihkala. The project took place during the growing debate around sexual harassment that was reanimated by the rise of the MeToo movement in 2017. Although the movement has highlighted the urgent need to acknowledge, voice, and systematically address sexual harassment, as scholars who are closely engaged with research on abusive gender and sexual power relations in child peer cultures, we noticed how the public and political debate on sexual harassment had remained mostly blind to its manifestations in the everyday lives of children. During the project, we used creative methods to engage with 150 children who were 10–12 years of age to explore and communicate their experiences of harassment in their peer cultures. Inspired by child- and youth-led activism in Wales by professor Emma Renold the project aimed to counter sexual harassment in young peer cultures and to tackle and disrupt the practices of silence and normalisation by constructing conditions in which children could speak out and communicate their experiences of harassment to decision makers and the wider public. In reaction to this debate, The core of the project was built around creative Valentine’s Day workshops in schools in a city in Finland. Children were invited to write about their experiences of harassment as postscripts in their Valentine’s cards and to choose a member of the Finnish Parliament to whom the card would be addressed. The cards would be delivered to the members of Parliament on Valentine’s Day and would be shared with the public to elicit discussion and disrupt the silence pertaining to gendered and sexual abuses of power in child peer cultures.
Go to the #MeToo Post Scriptum -page by clicking the picture below
Totuuden hetket - Moments of truth
Children experience sexual harassment among their peers even in primary school. Moments of Truth video was produced as part of a research project investigating gender-based violence in primary children’s peer cultures, funded by the Academy of Finland. For a group of girls (aged 10-11) who took part in this study, relationships with some boys were a complex mix of pain, anxiety, pleasure and power. The girls explored their relationships with boys through creative activities in arts-based workshops, organised over one school year in certain Northern Finnish schools. Those activities helped the girls to recognise and communicate what feels good or hurtful in their relationships with boys.
On The Surface - Under The Surface
This is a summary video of 80 hour arts-based research workshops that were carried out as part of my research during 2016 and 2017 among 4-5 graders in some Northern Finnish primary schools. The aim of the workshop was to investigate the potentialities of creative and arts-based methods to provide a safe means to recognize, articulate and potentially transform of often sensitive or taboo issues, such as power and harassment in children’s peer and relationship cultures. The workshops were implemented in a collaboration of a multi-professional team, consisting of researchers, artists, school staff and children.
The kisstory project
In the Kisstory project, I worked with professor Emma Renold, a visual artist Seth Oliver and an animation company Spin the Yarn in Wales in Wales, UK, to create a series of seven animations and comic strips based upon research findings of children’s relationship cultures (age 5-11). Each animation features the journey of a kiss in young children’s worlds. The animations are stripped back without sound or talk or text. The idea is that teachers and peer-educators can enable children to create their own storylines as a starting point for discussions on issues of power and consent in a range of relationships and contexts.