Salome Tuomaala-Özdemir

Research fellow and activist

During the residence, I will be writing about neighbour relationships. I have been studying them in Hervanta, Tampere for almost three years in the Naapurijurtta (Neighbour Yurt) project funded by Kone Foundation. We collected stories and observations for the study, for example, in a yurt, which we moved to eight different locations in the suburb over the year. Hervanta is more to me than just a research subject; I have lived there for about four years and have been working on social projects since 2012. Taking a concrete step back from your own neighbourhood is necessary in order to refine your perspective. Residence work offers a great opportunity for this. During the home residence, I will be focusing on writing about performing ethnography.

While taking a step back from my research subject and home, I hope to get closer to good old-fashioned research: reading in peace and writing contemplatively. My texts are not created in a vacuum, but through dialogue with others. That’s why I’m very happy that the residence also offers the company of thoughtful and creative people. In the project, we have combined research and art, and during the residence I will continue to outline my ideas by writing, but also by drawing and painting.

I am a researcher at the University of Tampere’s Peace Research Institute TAPRI. In the past, I have studied ethical agency and changes in agency and have worked in several community projects. In the project Hervannan Uusi Paikallisuus (New Locality in Hervanta), I worked with artists and researchers to develop a multilingual community. In the Neighbour Yurt project, I have observed community development, neighbourly help as a daily dialogue and the spread of good practices among neighbours. I have also gathered experiences and thoughts about neighbourly help while living with chronic pain. The pain has interspersed my research work, changed my agency and activism, and intensified my relationships with the people and places near me.