Transforming communities

Blended learning journey for young journalists interested in covering migration. 

Transforming communities consists of an international webinar series and a study trip to Finland. During the four-part webinar series we are exploring the impact of migration in different urban and rural communities, learn about ethical migration reporting, and discuss the role of media in minority-relations and community building.

In the beginning of June, 10 selected young journalists will have the opportunity to visit these communities in Finland, to learn more, to cover the topics of their interest, and to network with fellow journalists from different European countries.

Webinar dates:

  • 2/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)
  • 10/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)
  • 17/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)
  • 24/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)

Transforming communities webinar series has four independent parts. Each webinar will consist of live interviews, pre-recorded video interviews and links to further reading. Participants will have the opportunity to interact via chat during the livestream. Recordings of each webinar will also be published on Vikes’ website and Youtube after the study trip. Each webinar will have its own page with detailed programme and speakers which will be linked to this page as well.

Study trip 29/5/2022-5/6/2022

The study trip will take us around Finland: we will start in Helsinki 29/5/2022 and end in Kuopio 5/6/2022. Each day there will be one organized activity; a meeting, guided walk, visit or similar which will deepen the main themes of Transforming communities. The rest of the day you will have time to do interviews, take photos and film, or to explore the location independently. Vikes will be your main contact and assistant in case you will have wishes to fix meetings with e.g. local interviewees before the trip.

Who can apply: young journalists from Finland, Estonia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland.
Application period: 13/04-27/04/2022
Number of participants: 10

Selection criteria:

  • The call is targeted at young journalists. The age limit is 35 years; if you are 35 years or younger, you are eligible to apply.
  • Motivation and ability to commit on active participation throughout the project. All journalists who wish to join the study trip to Finland are expected to participate in all four webinars.
  • Ability to work as a member of an international team using English as the main working language.
  • Previous experience of handling and/or training on migration, sustainable development, and media diversity are considered as an asset.

The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development Vikes coordinates the project and host the participants on the study trip while in Finland. The project is part of the EU-funded I am European project (IAE) and all participation costs for the selected participants are covered by the project.

Participants will be selected based on their applications by 29th of April 2022.



1) Diverse urban communities, Helsinki & Turku

In our first webinar we will focus on discussing the impact of migration in urban communities focusing especially on questions of identity among diverse youth in two suburbs: Itäkeskus in Helsinki and Varissuo in Turku.

In Itäkeskus about 41% of inhabitants speak another mother tongue than Finnish or Swedish. In Varissuo the equivalent percentage is 48%. Hence, both of these communities provide a great opportunity for exploring the changing identities, roots and belonging.

During the webinar we will also discuss Varissuo’s media image and the impact of dominantly problem-focused narratives on the community, as well as the importance of visual representations and their ethical usage in media.

Webinar 2/5/2022
16:00-18:00 (EET)

Study trip begins in Helsinki 29/5
We will visit Itäkeskus – more detailed programme will be published in end of April.


2)  Understanding labor migration, Närpes & Vaasa

Our second webinar focuses on understanding labour migration and how it transform communities.

Interestingly, in Western Finland, in the Ostrobothnia region, there are several villages where the share of migrant population rises above 15%, which is a much higher percentage compared to most cities. Additionally, the majority of the Finnish-Swedish minority lives in the coastal Ostrobothnia region.

Närpiö or in Swedish Närpes, is a small rural town which accommodates a significant Vietnamese and Bosnian minority, who mainly work in agriculture, in the greenhouses producing tomatoes and cucumbers, or in local industry. Närpes is an interesting place for exploring the impact of labour migration, and how it has shaped and changed the community.

During the webinar we will also discuss the ethical journalism on labour migration using Närpes as an example. For long Närpes was portrayed as a model town for successful integration and different medias did stories focusing on the positive efforts and benefits of migration, when in the beginning of 2022 an extortion case was uncovered, and the media attention suddenly focused on challenges, and problems in the greenhouse industry using extensively foreign workforce.

During the webinar we will try to see behind the above described media coverage by asking what is potentially missing from these narratives?

Webinar 10/5/2022
16:00-18:00 (EET)

Study trip: Helsinki-Vaasa 30.5., Närpes 31.5.
In Vaasa we will visit MentoraSTEAM project which focuses on employability of migrant women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (TBC). 

We will have a day trip to Närpes from Vaasa. We will meet a greenhouse worker and do a company visit – more detailed programme will be published by the end of April.


3) Cross-border movement, Tornio-Haaparanta & Kemi

In Tornio-Haaparanta you can visit both Finland and Sweden without leaving the town. The state border, cutting the town in half, was drawn in the Peace of Hamina in 1809. Since then, many families have been living on both sides of the river that runs through the town and marks the border. For centuries cross-border movement has been an integral and normal part of life, and the border in Tornio is very vivid – each year about 12 million people cross the border here.

In 2016 Tornio was in headlines when the border was used by a high number of asylum seekers to enter Finland. In total 16 000 asylum seekers crossed the Tornio-Haaparanta border which was more than ever before in Finland. In spring 2020 the town hit the news again, this time because the border was closed during the COVID-19. This shocked the locals as families were split on both sides of the border.

In the third webinar discussion we will focus on the meaning of these recent events on the community and discuss the role of borders in general; in real-life but also in the media narratives. We will explore how borders are used in media narratives and what kind of real-life implications the border-discussion or border-talk has on people?

Webinar 17/5/2022
16:00-18:00 (EET)

Study trip: Vaasa-Kemi 1.6., Tornio 2.6., Tornio-Kemi 3.6.
In Kemi we will have a guided walk by Seblewongel Tariku, who is a journalist from Ethiopia. Tariku spent her first year in Finland in Kemi, living in the reception center, and will share her own experience of the 2015-2016 refugee situation.

In Tornio we will have a guided border walk – the detailed programme will be published by the end of April.


4) Minority relations and disinformation, Kuopio

During the fourth and last webinar we will focus on the Russian speaking minority in Finland. We will discuss the history and developments of the ethnic-relations in Eastern Finland, as well as reflect the impact of the Ukrainian war on the Russian minority.

Kuopio, located in Eastern Finland, in Northern Savonia about 200 km from the Russian border, is not the most diverse of Finland’s cities; in 2020 about 4% of the population spoke something else than Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue, and the amount of migrants was 2,7%. However, the vast majority within the minority groups is the Russian speaking minority.

During the webinar we will also discuss the Russian influencing strategies and the role of disinformation during the Ukrainian war, as well as the impact of media coverage on Russian speaking minority.

Webinar 24/5/2022
16:00-18:00 (EET)

Study trip: Kemi-Kuopio 3.6., Kuopio 4.-5.6.
In Kuopio we will visit e.g. Lumikello association – the detailed programme will be published by the end of April.

Project timeframe

  1. Open application process 13/4-27/4/2022
  2. Selection of participants by 29/4/2022
  3. Webinar series
    1. Diverse urban communities, 2/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)
    2. Understanding labour migration, 10/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)
    3. Cross-border movement, 17/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)
    4. Minority relations and disinformation, 24/5/2022 at 16:00-18:00 (EET)
  4. Study trip to Finland 29/5/2022-5/6/2022
  5. Publishing stories or programmes produced during the study trip

More information:

Kirsi Koivuporras-Masuka
Project Officer


The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.