TaRC Master Class 2018 - Media and the Arctic

Course: Media and the Arctic (5 ECTS)

1st international Master Class in Tampere

Are you interested in the theme of Arctic change from a media perspective? Would you like to learn from the experiences and expertise of acclaimed media professionals and specialists in Arctic issues?

Tampere Research Centre for Russian and Chinese Media (TaRC) will host an international university course titled Media and the Arctic in October 2018 – January 2019. The coursework consists of online pre-assignments, an intensive five-day Master Class in Tampere (26–30 November 2018), and a journalistic or other media-related independent final assignment dealing with the themes addressed in the Master Class. Attendance and active participation on all five days of the Master Class are required. The working language of the course is English.


The course is free for up to 40 students of the University of Tampere and TaRC’s partner universities.

At the University of Tampere, the course can be used for units JMMMETUS (Free Choice Specialized Studies in Media Research), JOUJOVTS (Free Choice Specialized Studies in Journalistics), RUST2 (Russian Politics and Foreign Policy), RUST5 (Russian Media) AND VENS10 (Media Discourse).

Up to ten media professionals are invited to take part in the course as part of their career training. They or their employers can buy the course as an academic module. Course fee for media professionals: 1950 € (VAT 0%).

The course will be beneficial for participants with a background in Russian studies, politics, communication, media, journalism, intercultural communication, visual studies, or Eastern European studies. However, participants with backgrounds in other disciplines are also welcome. The course is mainly targeted at students completing their master’s studies. Doctoral students can also apply for the course, as can students who are in the later stages of their bachelor’s studies and can provide sufficient evidence of their professional skills.


Enrolment for the course has expired. You can still ask if there is space on the course by sending e-mail to <tarc@uta.fi>.


The Arctic is becoming the focus of worldwide interest due to climate change and the utilisation of the region’s natural resources. It has seen the emergence of new industries, environmental pressures and geopolitical tensions. At the same time, academic and public discourse and the media are facing the challenge of finding adequate ways to discuss the developments in the region. The course offers information and expertise on three topics, and each participant will work on one of them:

  1. Arctic Environmental Journalism
  2. Global Connections of the Arctic
  3. Visual Representations of the Arctic


The course includes an international one-week event, Media and the Arctic: Master Class in Tampere, Finland, 26–30 November 2018. The week will be led by four principal teachers: Markku Heikkilä, Head of the Science Communication Unit of the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland (Rovaniemi); Anna Kireeva, Head of Communications at the Bellona Foundation (Murmansk); Thomas Nilsen, Editor of the Independent Barents Observer (Kirkenes); and Alexei Popogrebsky, film director, screenwriter and the head of directing department at the Moscow Film School. Contributing teachers include Vlad Strukov, Associate Professor in Film and Digital Culture at the University of Leeds; and Malgorzata (Gosia) Smieszek, political scientist and researcher at the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland (Rovaniemi).

Read more detailed information about the teachers here.


After completing the course, the participants will recognise factors influencing international debate that relate to journalistic duties and the media industry in the Arctic region. The participants will be able to analyse discussions related to the Arctic region and evaluate various journalistic means of managing conflict sensitive topics. The participants will have gained deeper knowledge of the chosen media environment and have developed expertise in questions of substance and working methods that relate to the media and the Arctic region.

The course provides an in-depth analysis of the way the media represents and mediates the Arctic region, and an examination of the changes and challenges taking place in the area. The participants will acquire knowledge about global media and the issues related to the Arctic region, especially in the Scandinavian and Russian Arctic regions. The participants will conduct their own media projects during the course.


  • Online pre-assignments: 1 October – 11 November 2018 (40 hours)
  • Lectures: 26–30 November 2018 (8 hours)
  • Collaborative work in small groups: 26–30 November 2018 (32 hours)
  • Independent project work: 3 December 2018 – 31 January 2019 (55 hours)

There will be a briefing for the participants accepted onto the course on Monday 1 October 2018 at 2–3 pm Finnish time (EEST) at the University of Tampere in Pinni B4075 (please note the changed location and time!)

Contact teaching will be organised as an intensive Master Class between 26 and 30 November 2018 at the University of Tampere. The venues will be announced at a later date. Rough schedule of the week is below:

The Master Class will also include a voluntary evening programme and networking. Check the full teaching programme here. There will also be many public events, which are open to everyone. The schedule of the public events is now available.

Pre-assignment: Before the intensive contact teaching week, the participants are required to familiarise themselves beforehand with the course material, which includes readings, visual materials and video lectures on current research related to Arctic topics. The material will be made available via an online learning environment.

Day 1: The Master Class begins with a joint workshop for all participants to collaboratively reflect on the pre-assignment material. Day 1 also includes an open seminar, where the principal/supervising teachers will give keynote lectures based on the topical issues of the week and their experience as media professionals. The seminar functions as the opening discussion for the following three days.

Days 2–4: The participants work intensively in small workgroups. Supervised by two teachers, each group will consider one of the main topical issues of the course in greater depth. The three issues are ‘Arctic Environmental Journalism’, ‘Global Connections of the Arctic’ and ‘Visual Representations of the Arctic’. The teachers are responsible for planning the teaching methods used in the workgroups. These methods may include expert meetings, guided and independent reading and information gathering, analysis exercises, preparing journalistic articles, etc.

Day 5: At the end of the week, the students will present the materials produced by their workgroup in an open seminar. The week concludes with a panel discussion held by specialists of Arctic issues related to Russia, China and other topics in the complex field of the Arctic.

Final assignment: After the Master Class, the learning outcomes will be evaluated as agreed upon with the teachers. To successfully complete the course, the participants are expected to deliver a piece of independent written work related to their own field; this can be a journalistic article on the themes of the Arctic region along with an analysis of the knowledge obtained during the course, or some other type of written work. The final assignment should be returned via the online learning environment by the end of January 2019. The final assignment may also include giving peer feedback on other participants’ final assignments.




Participation in all the contact teaching days and active participation in one of the workgroups. Completion and submission of the pre-assignment and the final assignment by the given deadlines.


The participants will be granted access to the study materials via an online learning environment by the end of September 2018.


The course will be taught with a major focus on discussion, critical thinking, and individual and collaborative work. The course will be taught in English; no knowledge of any other language is required.


TaRC coordinator Mika Perkiömäki (tarc@uta.fi, +358 50 437 7396).

Tampere Research Centre for Russian and Chinese Media (TaRC), founded in 2017, is an international meeting place that brings together novel forms of teaching, research, and events. For further information about the centre, please visit <https://research.uta.fi/tarc/>.

TaRC’s Master Class 2018 is funded by C.V. Akerlund Media Foundation sr.