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The research centre Taru extends the concept of communications

Published on 25.5.2024
Tampere University
From the left: Taru’s Associate Director Laura Ahva, Director Jarmo Viteli and Associate Director Esa Kirkkopelto. Photo: Jonne Renvall
From the left: Taru’s Associate Director Laura Ahva, Director Jarmo Viteli and Associate Director Esa Kirkkopelto. Photo: Jonne RenvallPhoto: Jonne Renvall
The Research Centre for Communication Sciences Taru unites humanists and social scientists to study social and cultural phenomena from the perspectives of communications, media and the arts.

Taru was created when the three research centres housed in the Communication Sciences unit – the Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication (COMET), the Tampere Research Center for Information and Media (TRIM) and the Centre for Practice as Research in Theatre T7 – were combined in January 2024. Taru merges some of Tampere University’s existing strong research fields into a new, multidisciplinary research centre.

– The research conducted at Taru transcends conventional disciplinary boundaries, bringing together experts specialising in information, game and media studies, journalism, visual studies, and performing arts,” says Jarmo Viteli, Director of Taru.

– The idea to consolidate all communication research under one roof dates back to 2022, when Tampere University underwent the international Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Previously, the Communication Sciences unit was split into three research centres, but we collaborated closely to prepare for the RAE. In the process, we realised that our collaboration was not only gratifying but also highly productive. In fact, we received an excellent rating for our research,” Viteli says.

Taru consists of 11 research groups and nearly a hundred researchers. The Associate Directors are Associate Professor (tenure track) Laura Ahva, head of the Journalism Studies Group, and Professor Esa Kirkkopelto, who leads the Boundaries of Performing research group.

With everything in a state of flux, including the support structures for research, Laura Ahva believes that this was the perfect moment to reconsider the organisation of research within the Communication Sciences unit.

– Now is the time to embrace something new. While we are still in the early stages with Taru, we are eager to listen to what people want and need. One tangible form of support we can provide to each other is collaboration and support for preparing for important funding calls,” says Ahva.

Esa Kirkkopelto joined Tampere University in the autumn of 2023, assuming the role as professor overseeing artistic research in the Communication Sciences unit. He has previous experience in building research communities from the Theatre Academy in Helsinki, Finland, and Lund University in Sweden. At Tampere University, research on the performing arts has primarily been conducted under the umbrella of the Centre for Practice as Research in Theatre T7. Kirkkopelto recognises a growing demand for research in this area.

– With the establishment of Taru, we extend the concept of communication and collectively study society as a sustaining force. Researchers thrive within a community! They need a shared vision and collective energy. The integration of artistic research infuses new vitality into multidisciplinary collaboration,” asserts Kirkkopelto.


Laura Ahva and Jarmo Viteli echo this sentiment.

– A sense of community and presence! The strength of a community lies in its individual members.”

One of the newly launched studies at Taru is “Fostering capacity building for civic resilience and participation: Dialogic communication ethics and accountability” (Diacomet). This EU-funded project brings together researchers from eight EU countries to develop ethical communication guidelines for navigating the increasingly complex media landscape.  

When asked about their research topics, the answers from the researchers at Taru reflect the diverse nature of the research conducted within the centre.

The researchers at Taru study the following topics:

"... strategies of hope and utopia in the context of theatre and the performing arts."

"... exiled Russian journalists."

" in the health-related visual content posted on social media."

"... election communications on social media"

"... the audio-only media consumption of young people in technology-mediated daily life, podcasts in journalistic work."

"... solutions that promote the cultural, social and economic sustainability of the gaming culture in Finland." For more answers, visit the websites of the research groups at Taru


Taru – Research Centre for Communication Sciences

· Approximately 100 persons

· 11 research groups

· Director Jarmo Viteli, Associate Directors Laura Ahva and Esa Kirkkopelto

· Taru has a Studia Generalia lecture series coming up in the academic year 2024–2025 

· Visit Taru’s website at