This is a translation of the podcast interview of Katri Arnivaara, included in the Managing Expectations article on this website.
(Length: 6 minutes)
Katri: I have worked in local engagement in a sort of developer role, promoting an approach in which residents are heard. So my work has a kind of an inclusion perspective.
Interviewer: When you were asked to join this project, do you still remember what you were thinking at that point? Did you know what you were getting into?
Katri: Well, yeah, I did have a faint idea, and I’ve always been intrigued by the idea that this kind of cooperation is actually taking place.
And then, having had the chance to be involved in the urban studies research group and in these projects, I sort of started thinking what a great thing it would be to be able to bring together academic teaching and research, and then get students committed to working in this way.
I mean, I’m really excited about it, because if we are talking about the university of applied sciences syllabus, I’ve been doing this kind of thing for almost ten years now. What we have done is we’ve given students concrete assignments in local engagement work, and they’ve then found the theoretical framework for it and worked that into the course content.
So, as it were, on another level, I have personal experience of it, but it would be great to start seeing this kind of cooperation at all levels.
Interviewer: When you started on this project, what did you hope to get out of it?
Katri: I think I was able to take home exactly what I was hoping for. In other words, you gather a huge amount of silent information, which is not really something researched, but something you, over the years, learn to read from residents in the neighbourhoods, listening to their messages.
And I thought, I just wish a course like this, or this kind of work, could make the feelings of people in the neighbourhood visible and known. What happened was that the things that arose from all this were things that I felt should be promoted and taken into account in future work.
Of course, they had been acknowledged before, but this gives a lot of perspective to my work, also when speaking about it to outsiders, you can be sure that you have had the right feeling about the situation. It has also been studied and surveyed among students, and similar findings have emerged.
Interviewer: How well were your expectations met in this project? How would you rate it on a scale from one to five?
Katri: I’d rate it a five. This is perhaps because I think the students succeeded extremely well on a very tight schedule. Plus, for example, the time I had for the project was very limited. Considering the little support the students got, they managed to achieve extremely good results and were able to raise issues with the neighbourhoods in the right way, and to really explore the things that they themselves were interested in.
Of course, there were discussions with the supervising teacher about what these issues could be, and then the students could directly give input about what they could be. And a few things, in fact, came up and made it onto the list of issues that the students could then study, and even though they got to decide the issues themselves, there was a good consensus about them.
You have really summed these up nicely in a clear, concise form. What you have put here is easy to read. I can’t think of anything to say about this. It’s a good thing that this first section has a good clear question, and then there’s the why, and then the solution.
And, of course, as I myself have previous experience of this sort of work, I’m able to reflect on the issues recorded here. This includes, for example, these three recommendations that you have put here.
Perhaps you should ask people who have not been involved in a process like this whether they can grasp what these mean. For me, the picture that emerges corresponds really well with the work that was carried out.
In a way, you get a nice outline of what you should consider in work like this, including what kinds of expectations there are and what has happened.
That world, the traditional research world of universities, is so foreign that you can’t think what benefits this work brings to that world, but I think it is interesting for us, outside the university world, to read this type of website, where you can get an understanding of the working methods used.