Taiteelliset sateenvarjot kuvituskuva

Societal and Cultural Transformation to Solve Complex Problems

Sustainable development brings together complex problems and emphasizes their systemic interconnectedness. It is not possible to solve global challenges only one at time, rather it is necessary to grasp all of them at once. We are looking for solutions both on the level of individuals and communities as well as on the level of societal structures, state and economy. The ultimate goal is the sustainability of ecosystems and global social justice. To achieve them, societal and cultural transformation is necessary.

We conduct research on images of futures leading the transformation and we produce processes to support it. The basis consists of cultural knowledge, skills and worldviews, human-nature relationship, futures literacy and heritage futures. They are interconnected locally and globally to power and societal structures. Research on transformation is transdisciplinary, thus it is executed together with different societal actors

Ongoing Research and Development Projects:

Creative adaptation to wicked socio-environmental disruptions (WISE)

WISE is funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council program entitled Adaptation and resilience for sustainable growth. The consortium is made of six subprojects with a total funding of 5.4 Meur over six years (2018–2023).

In 2018, WISE has conducted comprehensive expert interviews and literature surveys to map out Finland’s resilience gaps. The resilience gap survey is an assessment of societal weaknesses to prepare for and react to wicked disruptions. We are also designing War Room -type decision making simulations (Policy Operations Room, POR) and disruption scenarios with which to run the PORs.

Three types of POR are under design:

  1. Crisis-POR, which resembles existing preparedness exercises,
  2. Path-POR, which focuses on the long-term path dependencies of decisions, and
  3. Probability-POR, which develops decision support systems based on Bayesian probabilities.

At the moment we are transcribing and analyzing the expert interviews of the resilience gap mapping, and designing the PORs in collaboration with stakeholders. In addition, we are planning a public WISE-seminar on wicked problems.

The WISE subprojects are led by Janne I. Hukkinen (University of Helsinki, consortium leader), Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen (University of Tampere, deputy consortium leader), Sakari Kuikka (University of Helsinki), Peter Lund (Aalto University), Toni Ahlqvist (University of Turku), and Paavo Järvensivu (BIOS Research Unit, stakeholder interaction).

Project website: http://wiseproject.fi/
Twitter: @wiseprojectfi 

Further information: Toni Ahlqvist & Marko Ahvenainen

WISE funders at the Academy of Finland logos

Dynamics of crises news and information ecosystems during the Covid19 pandemic

The project is funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation and the aim of the project is to provide new insights into the dynamics of crises news and information ecosystems during the Covid19 pandemic, where information production and information dissemination are increasingly complex and include multiple different actors.

The project produces new information and understanding about the roles of information providers in a crisis and the ways in which citizens acquire and evaluate crisis information and the roles of information providers.

Further information: Mikko Grönlund & Juho Ruotsalainen, Finland Futures Research Centre


Futures Literacy across the Deep (FLxDeep)

FLxDeep is a six-partner initiative led by Finland Futures Research Centre at Turku School of Economics – University of Turku in cooperation with futures literacy experts at UNESCO.

It is funded by EIT Climate KIC and aims to co-create and implement processes that introduce, develop and actively apply the capability called futures literacy to support climate-related social, business, and technological innovation.

> Read more about the project.

Further information: Nicolas A. Balcom Raleigh

Global Media and Internet Concentration Project (GMICP)

The Global Media & Internet Concentration Project (GMICP) meticulously monitors communication, Internet, and media markets across almost 40 countries, focusing on around two-dozen specific sectors.

This ambitious initiative assembles a diverse, multidisciplinary team comprising over 50 scholars and collaborates with nearly a dozen non-academic external partners. Their collective goal is to enhance the application of existing methodologies while pioneering new conceptual and methodological tools. These efforts are dedicated to addressing critical questions related to media and internet concentration in the contemporary landscape.

Further information: Mikko Grönlund, Finland Futures Research Centre


IN SITU: Place-based innovation of cultural and creative industries in non-urban areas 

IN SITU: Place-based innovation of cultural and creative industries in non-urban areas is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme. IN SITU is a four-year project that combines research and experimental actions to advance the innovation-related practices, capacities, and potential of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) based in non-urban areas of the EU countries.

The IN SITU project aims to better understand the forms, processes, and governance needs of CCIs located in non-urban areas of Europe and to advance the ability of non-urban CCIs to act as drivers of innovation, competitiveness, and sustainability for the locales in which they are located. A core defining aspect of IN SITU is the interlinking of research and practice through place-based IN SITU Labs – hubs for networking, training and capacity building, and monitoring case studies in six non-urban regions across Europe, located in Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, and Croatia.

The IN SITU project consortium comprises 13 Full Partners from 12 countries. The coordinator of IN SITU is Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.

In University of Turku, IN SITU project is running both in Finland Futures Research Centre and in Landscape studies in the Faculty of Humanities, where the leader of the University of Turku part of the project, Prof. Maunu Häyrynen, is situated. The part of Finland Futures Research Centre is led by Katriina Siivonen.

Further information: Adjunct Professor Katriina Siivonen and Senior Research Fellow Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti, Finland Futures Research Centre

Project website: https://insituculture.eu/ 

Media Concentration and Diversity of Media Content in Finland

A one-year research project funded by the Prime Minister's Office (VN-TEAS). It specifically investigates the state of concentration in news media and its impact on content offerings in Finland.

Additionally, the project examines regulations concerning concentration. The research empirically explores how media concentration has affected the diversity of media content and contemplates the consequences of concentration in terms of fairness of information and freedom of speech.

Furthermore, through interviews and surveys, the goal is to understand how professionals within the media industry and other experts perceive the effects of concentration on media diversity, fairness of information, and freedom of speech.

Further information: Mikko Grönlund, Finland Futures Research Centre



RURALIZATION is a 4 years EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 programme, focused on the study of problems related to rural regeneration and access to land, and the implementation of policies and activities that facilitate the entry of new generations and newcomers to the farming sector.

The consortium is composed of 18 partners from 12 different countries. This diversity will guarantee a wide range of perspectives and situations, creating a wealth of knowledge positive for the participants and the interested third parties.

The main challenges that the projects must deal are:

  1. The unequal development of urban and rural areas. The unbalanced development of growing urban areas and declining rural areas is one threat for the cohesion of the European territory. Data is clearly demonstrating this trend: population growth is expected for urban areas (12% between 2014 and 2050) whereas a decline of 7% is expected for rural areas for the same period.
  2. The difference in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The 2014 figures show that in urban regions the GDP/P was € 34,179, in intermediate regions was € 23,726 GDP/P and in rural regions was € 19,104 GDP/P.
  3. The concentration of landownership. The issue of access of new generations and newcomers to the farming sector is caused by a landownership highly concentrated. In 2013, 52,2% of EU agricultural land was controlled by only 3,1% of the farms and, the 76,2% smallest farms cultivate only 11,2% of the EU land.
  4. The aging of the rural population. Most farmers are above 55 years of age and only few farmers are below 35 years of age. If it isn't corrected, this trend may pose a problem in the future as there will isn't enough workforce in rural areas that will work in agriculture.
  5. The insufficient opportunities for new generations in rural areas. The EU has allocated € 9.6 billion between 2007 and 2020 as specific aid to young farmers to improve competitiveness and generational renewal. But these funds lack of scope for application and the farming population continues ageing.

Of the seven different work packages of the project, the FFRC is responsible for the foresight study on the topic. The project will run from 1.5.2019 to 30.4.2023.

Further information: Tuomas Kuhmonen & Pertti Ruuska



Societal Challenges After the Year 2030 (FORMAS)

The FORMAS project deals with societal challenges after the year 2030, by conducting futures research to identify and explore possible future openings and changes for society via the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).

The work is divided into four phases:

  • Identification of categorisation of drivers of change
  • Intensive horizon scanning and mapping of the operating environment (impact and critical un-certainties)
  • Sensemaking – interpretation for society futures
  • Seminar and reporting.

The project will produce a report on the critical factors exploring societal challenges post 2030. The project will be implemented during the period 10 March – 31 October 2023.

Further information: Amos Taylor & Jarmo Vehmas

Sustainable and Innovative Creative Ecosystems: Ecological Approach to Policy Innovation for Creative Sectors in Finland (ECOCRIN)

A two-year ECOCRIN project (2023–2025), funded by Business Finland, has started at the Turku School of Business, combining the needs and the development tools of the creative industries into new ways of making innovation and cultural policy. ECOCRIN works with private, public and third sector actors at local, regional and national level.

The project's cooperation network includes Kings' College London, Latvian Academy of Culture, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, University of Coimbra, Utrecht University and, from Finland, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, City of Pori, Culture Campus Turku, Creative Finland, Cupore, Kuhmo Arts Centre (Kuhmotalo), the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Tapahtumateollisuus.

At the University of Turku, the project is led by Professor Jarna Heinonen (Entrepreneurship) and consists of three teams. Her team includes Adjunct Professor, Senior Research Fellow Pekka Stenholm, Senior Research Fellow Kaisa Hytönen and Senior Research Fellow Tommi Pukkinen. The team at the Pori Campus consists of Adjunct Professor, Senior Research Fellow Arja Lemmetyinen.

In addition to theoretical expertise, the Finland Futures Research Centre will bring to the project the participatory methods of the Heritage Futures Workshops and the Futures Literacy Laboratory, which are based on co-creation and support futures thinking. The team is led by Adjunct Professor and University Lecturer Katriina Siivonen. She is joined by Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti and Project Researcher Amos Taylor.

Project website: https://sites.utu.fi/ecocrin/

More information: Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti, Finland Futures Research Centre

UNESCO Chair: Learning Society & Futures of Education

UNESCO Chair in Learning Society and Futures of Education project is part of the global Futures Literacy network coordinated by UNESCO. The project develops futures education contents and methods for informal and formal education that can be utilized worldwide.

Unesco Chair: Learning Society & Futures of Education

Further information: Markku Wilenius & Laura Pouru