Dialogue in the making - Research and development project on reciprocal relationships between migrant populations in Finland

This three-year project uses data consisting of notes and observations of online discussions relating to everyday life and topical political issues conducted on forums and groups popular among Estonian- and Russian-speakers living in Finland.

In our analysis, we will focus on critical issues and themes found in the discussions. In the second phase of the project, we will use the findings as a point of departure in attempting to create positive dialogue between minority groups. We will use two forms of activities to establish the dialogue: a workshop that will gather together representatives of different minority groups and a theatre play that will build on ethnic roles. The project also seeks to advance cooperation between cultural associations representing Estonian- and Russian-speakers in Finland, the Tuglas Association and the Cultura Foundation.



2018: Getting acquainted with the concept of identity talk. Operationalising this concept and its various dimensions (embracing, distancing and fictive storytelling). Mapping up social media discussions in Estonian- and Russian-speaking social media forums and transforming the discussions into data.

2019: Analysis of the data and comparison of the data originating from Estonian- and Russianspeaking social media forums. Creating networks with stakeholders and organisations. Organising an open forum: planning the workshop and its implementation. Actors of the project and activists of organisations participate in the forum. Planning of the threatre play. First draft of the first scientific article.

2020: Communication with media, dissemination of results. The play, video recording and publication on the Internet. Publishing the first article, draft of the second article.


The objectives of this project are twofold. Firstly, it seeks to enhance the understanding on the self-positioning of Finland's Estonian- and Russian-speakers (on the basis of social media discourses that members of these groups employ) and on their relationship with other minority groups in Finland.

Secondly, building on this understanding, we seek to define areas around which positive dialogue between different minority groups could be constructed. Previous studies have noticed that Estonian migrant workers construct identities that emphasise similarity to the native population and difference from other ethnic groups living in Finland. This differentiating talk can amplify ethnic inequalities within Finland, obstruct dialogue between different minorities and increase isolation between the groups.

Funding source

Kone Foundation

Contact persons

Markku Sippola

University Lecturer

markku.sippola [at]

+358 50 472 7748


Jaanika Kingumets


jaanika.kingumets [at]

+358 50 437 7350


Liisa Tuhkanen


liisa.tuhkanen.11 [at]