Youth with Immigrant Backgrounds as Agents of Anti-racist Cultural Productions

  • Helena Oikarinen-JabaiEmail author


In this chapter, will discuss performative, art-based and participatory research approaches as a means of producing material and productions where the perspectives of young Finns with immigrant backgrounds are shared with larger audiences as part of research reporting. I begin by briefly discussing my earlier research and then concentrate on the project A Finn, a Foreigner or a Transnational Hip-hopper? Participatory Art-Based Research on the Identification Negotiations and Belongings of second Generation Finnish Immigrant Youth. This project was conducted together with different partners and teams of artists and art educators. The workshops were held in youth clubs, schools and as part of the participants’ leisure activities. During the project, we staged productions such as photo and video exhibitions and produced books and documentaries with different teams of art educators, artists, media workers and participants. The idea involved including the voices and perspectives of the participating young people as an important part of research reporting. Performative and participatory projects create spaces for participants to provide their insights into anti-racist academic, educational and popular discussions that are still strongly dominated by the majority population.


Performative research Participation Young people with immigrant background Cultural citizenship Audio-visual methods 


  1. Ahmed, S. (2000). Strange encounters: Embodied others in post-coloniality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Anthias, F. (2012). Transnational mobilities, migration research and intersectionality. Towards a translocational frame. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 2(2), 102–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anthias, F. (2009). Thinking through the lens of translocational positionality: An intersectionality frame for understanding identity and belonging. Translocations: Migration and Social Change, 4(1), 5–20.Google Scholar
  4. Ashcroft, B. (2001). Post-colonial transformation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Anzaldúa, G. (1999/1987). Borderlands/La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.Google Scholar
  6. Anzaldúa, G., & Moraga, C. (1983). This bridge called my back: Writings by radical women of colour. New York: Kitchen Table.Google Scholar
  7. Austin, J. L. (1975/1955). How to do things with words. Cambridge: Harvard UP.Google Scholar
  8. Ballengee-Morris, C., & Stuhr, P. (2001). Multicultural art and visual cultural education in a changing world. Art Education, 54(4), 6–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barone, T. (2006). Arts-based educational research then, now, and later. Studies in Art Education, 48(1), 4–8.Google Scholar
  10. Behar, R. (1993). Translated woman: Crossing the border with Esperanza’s story. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Behar, R. (1995). Introduction: Out of exile. In R. Behar & D. Gordon (Eds.), Women writing culture (pp. 1–32). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Berry, K. (2002). Theater of Disequilibrium: Challenging the hegemonic practices of the priviledged. Key-note in IDEA Conference in Bergen, Norway. Published in Conference report B. Rasmussen & A. Östern (Eds.) Playing Betwixt and Between: Idea Diaologues. Idea Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Brah, A. (1996). Cartographies of diaspora: Contesting identities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Brah, A. (2001). Difference, diversity, differentiation. In K. Bhavnani (Ed.), Feminism and “Race” (pp. 456–478). Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Buber, M. (1993/1923). Minä ja Sinä [I and Thou] (J. Pietilä, Trans.). Porvoo: WSOY.Google Scholar
  16. Butler, J. (2000). Competing Universalities. In J. Butler, E. Laclau, & S. Zizek (Eds.), Contigency, hegemony, universality. contemporary dialogues of the left (pp. 136–181). London: Verso.Google Scholar
  17. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of ‘Sex’. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Cixous, H. (1993). Three steps on the ladder of wrrting (S. Cornell & S. Sellers, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Conquergood, D. (2009). Performance studies: Interventions and radical research. In H. Bial (Ed.), Performance studies reader (pp. 311–322). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Denzin, N. (2003a). Reading and writing performance. Qualitative Research, 3(2), 243–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Denzin, N. (2003b). Performing (auto)ethnography politically. The Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, 25, 257–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Denzin, N. (1997). Performance texts. In W. Terney & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Representation and the text. Re-Framing the narrative voice (pp. 179–218). Albany: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  23. Eisner, E. W. (1997). The promise and perils of alternative forms of data representation. Educational Researcher, 26(6), 4–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Finley, S. (2005). Arts-based inquiry. Performing revolutionary pedagogy. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative inquiry (pp. 681–694). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Finn, J. (1995). Ella cara deloria and mourning dove: Writing for cultures, writing against the grain. In R. Behar & D. Gordon (Eds.), Women writing culture (pp. 131–147). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  26. Freire, P. (1996/1968). Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Myra Bergman Ramos, Trans.). New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  27. Friedman, S. S. (2012). “Border Talk,” Hybridity, and performativity: Cultural theory and identity in the spaces between difference. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from
  28. Garcia Canclini, N. (1995/1990). Hybrid cultures. Strategies for entering and leaving modernity (C. Chiappari & S. Lopez, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  29. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  30. Gough-Dijulio, B., & Wolcott, A. (1997). Just looking or talking back. A postmodern approach to art education. In J. Hutchens & M. Suggs (Eds.), Art education: Content and practice in postmodern era (pp. 143–152). Alexandria, VA: The National Art Education Association.Google Scholar
  31. Gordon, T., Holland, J., & Lahelma, E. (2000). Making spaces: Citizenship and difference in schools. London, GB: MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Haraway, D. (2004). The Haraway reader. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Haseman, B. (2006). A manifesto for performative research. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy,Practice-led Research”, 118, 98–106.Google Scholar
  34. Hernández, G. (1995). Multiple subjectivities and strategic positionality: Zora neale hurston’s experimental ethnographies. In R. Behar & D. Gordon (Eds.), Women writing culture (pp. 148–165). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hill Collins, P. (1998). Fighting words: Black women & the search of justice. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.Google Scholar
  36. Honkasalo, V. (2011). With girls: Multiculturalism and gender equality in youth work. (Tyttöjen kesken. Monikulttuurisuus ja sukupuolten tasa-arvo nuorisotyössä). Helsinki: Nuorisotutkimusseura.Google Scholar
  37. Hooks, B. (1990). Yearning. Race, gender and cultural politics. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
  38. Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as a practice of freedom. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Hooks, B. (1995). Art on my mind: Visual politics. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  40. Hua, A. (2011). Homing desire, cultural citizenship, and diasporic imaginings. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 12(4), 45–56.Google Scholar
  41. Ibrahim, A. (2009). Taking hip hop to whole nother level: Métissage, affect and pedagogy in a global hip hop nation. In S. Alim, A. Ibrahim, & A. Pennycook A (Eds.), Global linguistic flows: Hip hop cultures, youth, identities, and the politics of language (pp. 231–248). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Irigaray, L. (2002). The way of love. Käännös Heidi Bostic & Stephen Pluhacek. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  43. Jagne, S. (1994). African women and the categoryWoman: Through the works of Mariama Bâ and Bessie Head. Dissertation, State University of NewYork.Google Scholar
  44. Joseph, M. (1999). Nomadic identities: The performance of citizenship. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  45. Kristeva, J. (1992/1988). Muukalaisia itsellemme [Stangers to Ourselves] (P. Malinen, Trans.). Helsinki: Gaudeamus.Google Scholar
  46. Lappalainen, S. (2002). Becoming European in preschool—pre-primary education as a (Finnish) national project. In T. Gordon, K. Komulainen, & K. Lempiäinen (Eds.), Hello Finnish maiden! The gender of nationality. Eskarissa eurokuntoon—esiopetus (suomalais) kansallisena projektina. Suomineitonen hei! Kansallisuuden sukupuoli (pp. 230–245). Tampere: Vastapaino.Google Scholar
  47. Lappalainen, S. (2006). Nationality and gender in the relationships of children and practices of primary education (Kansallisuus ja sukupuoli lasten välisissä suhteissa ja esiopetuksen käytännöissä). Helsingin: Yliopisto.Google Scholar
  48. Lincoln, Y., & Denzin, N. (2005). Epilogue: The eighth and ninth moments—Qualitative research in/and the fractured future. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative inquiry (pp. 1115–1126). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  49. Lentin, A. (2004a). Racial states, anti-racist responses, picking holes in ‘Culture’ and ‘Human rights’. European Journal of Social Theory, 7(4), 427–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lentin, A. (2004b). Racism & anti-racism in Europe. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  51. Lloyd, M. (2005). Beyond identity politics. Feminism, power & politics. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  52. McLaren, P. (1997). Unthinking whiteness, rethinking democracy. In J. Kincheloe, P. McLaren, & S. Steinberg (Eds.), Revolutionary multiculturalism: Pedagogies of the dissent for the new millenium (pp. 237–293). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  53. Midolo, E. D. (2011). Beyond cultural reterritorialization: Rapping for Islam in London’s East End. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, 2, 73–88.Google Scholar
  54. Minh-ha, T. T. (1991). When the moon waxes red: Representation, gender and cultural politics. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Minh-ha, T. T. (2011). Elsewhere, within here: Immigration, refugeeism and the boundary event. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2003). Toward performative research: Embodied listening to the self/other. Qualitative Inquiry, 9(4), 569–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2005). Mother’s Daughter, Daughter’s Mother (Äidin tyttärenä, tytärten äitinä). In J. Latvala, E. Peltonen, & T. Saresma (Eds.), Tutkija Kertojana: Tunteet, tutkimusprosessi ja kirjoittaminen (A Researcher as a Story Teller: Affects, Research Process and Writing) (pp. 160–188). Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto.Google Scholar
  58. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2007). Mona’s and Sona’s Monday. (Moonan ja Soonan maanantai). Helsinki: Yhteiset lapsemme.Google Scholar
  59. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2008a). Boundary spaces and dissonant voices: Performative writing in-between Finland and Gambia. (Syrjän tiloja ja Soraääniä: Performatiivista Kirjoittamista Suomen ja Gambian Välimaastoissa). Helsinki: University of Art and Design, 2008.Google Scholar
  60. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2008b). Hyme: An ethnographic story and story of ethnography (Hyme: Etnografinen tarina ja tarina etnografiasta). Helsinki: Bod.Google Scholar
  61. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2011a). Performative belongings and dis/locations in between continents: The making of a children’s book. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, 2, 89–107.Google Scholar
  62. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2011b). Moving on boundary spaces: Altering embodied representations of the other and the self. In J. Finch & P. Nynäs (Eds.), Transforming otherness (pp. 114–131). New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  63. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2015a). “I Guess We Are Some Kind of a New Generation of Finns and Each One Also Slightly Something Else.” Second-generation Finnish Somalis as Creators of Images of Diverse Finnishness. In M. Kallio & J. Pullinen (Eds.), Conversations on Finnish Art Education (pp. 34–47). Helsinki: Aalto Arts.Google Scholar
  64. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2015b). Making space: Finnish Somali youth discussing and making audio visual narratives (Tilaa tekemässä: suomalaiset somalinuoret pohtimassa ja tuottamassa audiovisuaalisia esityksiä). In A. Arlander, H. Erkkilä, T. Riikonen, & H. Saarikoski (Eds.), Performance studies (Esitystutkimus) (pp. 113–138). Helsinki: Kulttuuriosuuskunta Patruuna.Google Scholar
  65. Oikarinen-Jabai, H. (2015c). Constructions of finnishness in the media productions of second-generation Finnish immigrant children and youth. Global Studies of Childhood, 5(1), 74–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. O’Neill, M. (2008) Transnational refugees: The transformative role of art? Retrieved March 20, 2016, from
  67. O’Neill, M. (2009). Making connections: Ethno-mimesis, migration and diaspora. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 14, 289–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. O’Neill, M. (2011). Participatory methods and critical models: Arts, migration and diaspora. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, 2, 13–37.Google Scholar
  69. O’Neill, M., & Hubbard, P. (2010). Walking, sensing, belonging: Ethno-mimesis as performative praxis. Visual Studies, 25(1), 46–58.Google Scholar
  70. Phelan, P. (1993). Unmarked: The politics of performance. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Richardson, L. (1992). The Consequences of poetic representation. Writing the other, rewriting the self. In C. Ellis & M. Flaherty (Eds.), Investigating subjectivity: Research on lived experience (pp. 125–137). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  72. Richardson, L. (1997). Fields of play: Constructing an academic life. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Schechner, R. (1995). The future of ritual: Writings on culture and performance. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  74. St. Pierre, E. (2005). Writing as a method of nomadic inquiry. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative inquiry (pp. 967–973). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  75. Tolia-Kelly, D. P. (2007). Participatory art: Capturing spatial vocabularies in a collaborative visual methodology with Melanie Carvalho and South-Asian women in London, UK. In S. Kindon, R. Pain, & M. Kesby (Eds.), Participatory action research approaches and methods: Connecting people, participation and place (pp. 26–32). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  76. Turner, V. (1964). Betvixt and between: The liminal period in Rites de Passage. In The Proceedings of the American Ethnological Society. Symposium on New Approaches to the Study of Religion (pp. 4–20).Google Scholar
  77. Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and reality. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  78. Viswesvaran, K. (1994). Fictions of feminist ethnography. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  79. Yuval-Davis, N. (1997). Gender & nation. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  80. Yuval-Davis, N. (2004). Borders, boundaries and politics of belonging. In S. May, T. Modood, & J. Squires (Eds.), Nationalism, ethnicity and minority rights (pp. 214–230). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Yuval-Davis, N. (2011). Power, intersectionality and the politics of belonging. [FREIA Working Paper Series No. 75]. Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Aalborg. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from

Other Sources

  1. Soo Dhawoow/Tule lähemmäs/Come Closer Documentary (2016) by Akram Farah, Hassan Omar, Jabril aka Dice, Mohamed Isse & Ahmed Muhamed. Producers H. Oikarinen-Jabai & J. Gräfnings.Google Scholar
  2. Toisin silmin (By Other Eyes) (2015). Najma Yusuf. H. Oikarinen-Jabai. (Ed.) Turku: Siirtolaisuusinstituutti.Google Scholar
  3. Minun Helsinkini/My Helsinki/Waa Magaaladeydi Helsinki Documentary (2013). By Akram, Farah, Hassan Omar, Jabril aka Dice, Mohamed Isse, & Ahmed Muhamed. Producers H. Oikarinen-Jabai & S. Sallinen.Google Scholar
  4. By my eyes, video-installation of Najma Yusuf (2013). Production H. Oikarinen-Jabai & T. Salomaa.Google Scholar
  5. Mun stadi (My town) (2012) Ahmed Kahie, Akram Farah, Hassan Omar, Jabril aka Dice, Mahad Ali, Mohamed Isse, Ahmed Muhamed, & H. Oikarinen-Jabai (Eds.) Turku: Siirtolaisuusinstituutti.Google Scholar
  6. Where is my space/Mis on mun tila? Radio Programme (2011) by Hassan Omar, Akram Farah, Mohamud Isse, Muhamed Ahmed, Jabril aka Dice, Shaka de Bresche, & Asiya Ubah Abdillah. 6 October 2011, H. Oikarinen-Jabai, L. Tajakka, K. Ranta, & H. Karisto (Eds.) YLE (Finland’s national public service broadcasting company).Google Scholar
  7. Experiencing Helsinki (2010). A video made by Life Breather mobile application by youth with immigrant background. Production L. Diaz, J. Sheible, & H. Oikarinen-Jabai.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social ResearchHelsinki UniversityHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations