TRANSIT is Tampere University’s first ever Collaboratory merging interdisciplinary collaboration and experimentation (collaborate / laboratory). Its aim is to to work through matters of concern arising from keen societal observations that are transnational in nature and relate to transformations at the global, regional, national, and local scales.

Photo: Unsplash, Jr Korpa

TRANSIT adopts the approach of slow science and works through collaboration, dialogue and public engagement across geographical and disciplinary borders. It brings together knowledges and different onto-epistemologies and methodologies for the explorations of transnational processes such as exchanges and interactions between policies, people, organizations, ideas, technologies, or resources, and their implications for societal transformations. It aims to build a shared intellectual space and create supporting services for participants from diverse scholarly and public domains particularly interested in extending interdisciplinary and innovate collaborations and addressing the challenges and opportunities of transnational activities.

The broad research questions in the core of TRANSIT’s intellectual focus are: How is the world constituted by transnational (im)mobilities of humans, ideas, planetary forces, policies, technologies, experiences and other processes?

  • How do these define the unequal experiences of transnationalism and its derivates, such as nationalism, populism, poverty, inequality, climate change and other?
  • What constitutes the core of social, political, economic and environmental transformation in diverse local, national, regional, and global contexts?
  • How do we grasp the past, present and future manifestations of transnational interdependencies and how can we affect their possible shapes and directions, particularly for more sustainable and just futures for all co-inhabitants?
  • How are processes of knowledge production, valuing and dissemination entangled with the political, technological, organizational and societal unfoldings of transnationalism?
  • In what ways do societal transformations call for and may lead to transformations and innovations within key sectors in the knowledge-based society, such as university, industry and government as well as renewed ways of citizens’ engagement?
  • How can we shape knowledge production in ways that critically address transnationalism as a field of hierarchical knowledge production and what responsibilities can universities assume to intervene in this unequal condition?

TRANSIT facilitates unique forms of collaboration within and across disciplinary fields, research foci and scientific, societal, political and artistic engagements. Bringing together individual researchers, research groups and projects, as well as a wide range of practitioners and citizens from Finland and across the globe, TRANSIT initiates new forms of encounter, reflection and action processes to devise new frames of reference and education programs, publications, resource archives, debates, and stakeholder engagements in physical and virtual spaces.


Nelli Piattoeva is an Associate Professor (tenure track) at the Faculty of Education and Culture.

Her research looks at how forms of digitalisation, quantification and surveillance integrated into national large-scale assessments of education quality act as technologies of education governance at a distance. She is also a co-investigator on a research project that seeks to re-narrate socialist and post-socialist histories in general and childhood and schooling under socialism and post-socialism in particular through memories of cultural insiders and research produced in the region. Her previous works have been published, among others, in Critical Studies in Education; Journal of Education Policy; Comparative Education Review; and Learning, Media and Technology. Nelli has recently joined Critical Studies in Education as Associate Editor. Nelli’s primary geographical focus of research is Russia and the post-Soviet space. 

“Even though we often hear about the centrality of inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration in researching complex scientific phenomena or making societal impact, inter/transdisciplinarity are poorly defined and it is not clear at all how to help such collaboration thrive in practice. Transnational phenomena at the core of TRANSIT’s research focus necessitates engagement of multiple research fields and perspectives. TRANSIT’s task is to bring together and help individuals and groups who already engage in or aspire to enter the muddy waters of interdisciplinary collaboration in research or teaching on transnational issues. We look forward to building exciting ways of working together for a future that benefits all beings of our fragile world”

Vice director

Yuzhuo Cai is a Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Professor at the Higher Education Group (HEG), Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland.

He has been with the HEG for 19 years and was the Acting Professor of the unit from August 2013 to July 2014. He is the Director of Sino-Finnish Education Research Centre, a network organisation involving over 20 Chinese and Finnish universities, and the Deputy Director of Research Centre on Transnationalism and Transformation, an interdisciplinary research centre spanning three faculties at Tampere University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Triple Helix: A Journal of University-Industry-Government Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a guest professor at the Institute of International and Comparative Education, Beijing Normal University and the Institute of China’s Science, Technology and Education Policy, Zhejiang University in China. He is a doctoral student supervisor at Peking University.  He has worked as work package leader of nine EU funded projects and as a coordinator of four Nordic or Finnish projects. His main interests are in higher education research and innovation studies, focusing on interactions between innovations in higher education and societal transformation from a global perspective. He has published six books, three special issues, and over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, including those in top/leading journals, such as Higher Education, Studies in Higher Education, The Review of Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Minerva, Science and Public Policy, and European Planning Studies.

“I am passionate about TRANSIT not merely because the research theme of TRANSIT is the core of my interest. I believe TRANSIT as an innovative interdisciplinary platform would help ambitious scholars to fill the gaps in developing creative ideas and implementing innovation initiatives through knowledge sharing and collaboration”

Chair of the Steering Group

Zsuzsa Millei is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University.

Her research addresses child politics by exploring how politics (power, government, nationalism, and ideology) intertwine with childhood and children’s everyday life in child institutions, and more recently reconfigured within the Anthropocene. Her comparative studies of nationalism and explorations of childhood memories of (post)socialist societies use post-qualitative and artistic methods and reveal complex matrices of power and seek to decolonize the research imagination and knowledge production. Her recently edited special issue on ‘Banal and Everyday Nationalisms in children’s mundane and institutional lives’ is forthcoming in the journal of Children’s Geographies. Her co-edited book ‘Childhood and Schooling in (Post) Socialist Societies: Memories of Everyday Life’ by Palgrave Macmillan and other articles and artistic explorations related to the Re-connect / Re-collect: Crossing the Divides through Memories of Cold War Childhoods project can be found on the website www.coldwarchildhoods.org

“TRANSIT is an interdisciplinary centre that has the potential to bridge disciplinary boundaries and to create collaborative and creative spaces for scholarly engagements that I often miss in contemporary neoliberal academia. Today, we have little time to read and discuss ideas, however, to address the huge challenges we face – political shift to the right, pollution, extinction, environmental degradation, migration, and climate change – we must consider what concepts we think with and what methodologies we use. I hope to create spaces among the activities of TRANSIT for robust scholarly discussions.”

Members of the Steering Group

Riikka Era is a PhD researcher of Social Anthropology at the Faculty of social sciences.

Riikka’s PhD research dives into the everyday lives of young children living in a Finnish reception centre. The knowledge is produced with the children and their families; one of the research’s aims is to ponder the possibilities of co-research with under school aged children that form a marginalized multilingual and multicultural group. What are the mundane practices of children in this in-between-space? How does their liminal status as not-yet-permitted, or waiting-for-the-war-to-end affect their daily lives?

Riikka is interested in the governance of transnational mobilities, the inequalities that this governance produces and the ways these are experienced in the everyday lives of people. Riikka’s aspiration is to take part in the knowledge production that enable a just society.

“The questions of inequalities that are attached to global (im)mobilities of humans, starting from historical impoverishment of certain regions and ending up in the violent border regulations and practices of present, are so extensive that interdisciplinary approach and dialogue with different stakeholders is needed to unravel them. This unraveling is not getting any easier, and that is why it is important to understand the relevance of the past, acknowledge the challenges of present, and imagine just futures. TRANSIT is a space where people from different fields can experimentally envision futures together.”

Kirsi Pauliina Kallio works as Professor of Environmental Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education and Culture.

Broad themes in her research are contextual political agency and subjectivity, spatial socialization and subject formation, lived citizenship, critical environmental pedagogy and socio-ecological sustainability, democratic and sustainable urban development, and positive recognition. Her multidisciplinary work situates at the nexus between critical political geography and childhood and youth studies, with links to other thematic fields such as refugee studies, planning studies, international political sociology, and environmental pedagogy. The ongoing research has two foci: refugeeness and humanitarian governance, and environmental education from critical pedagogy and critical geography perspectives.

“Forced migration is being increasingly governed through transnational bordering policies and practices, including the outsourcing of humanitarian aid to countries where human rights are not respected equally to the countries blocking the entrance of asylum seekers at their territories. Environmental deprivation and hazards are worsening the situation as they are not recognized in international refugee and asylum agreements yet are forcing people to move from their places of origin to major cities and other countries. The lack of international responsibility for climate mobility is specifically problematic as the areas suffering from climate change are typically not the ones advancing its development. Multi-disciplinary critical research is needed to tackle these interlacing phenomena.”

Kalle Pajunen is professor of management and organizations.

My areas of interest intersect the fields of strategic management, organization theory, and international business. I also work on questions related to configurational theory, set-theoretic methods, and historical organization studies. I am currently examining questions related to, for example, temporality of firm de-internationalization, rhetorical underpinnings of institutional logics and board’s role as a strategic decision-maker. I am also generally interested in the systemic nature of sustainable institutional environments and the role of agency therein.


“The backlash against globalization during the recent years has underscored that business organizations are embedded in the heterogenous national, political, cultural and institutional environments. TRANSIT provides a Collaboratory to examine the implications of this issue and to consider how organizations constitute a mechanism for transnational interaction.”

Anitta Kynsilehto works as a Senior Research Fellow (tenure-track) at the Tampere Peace Research Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, and holds the title of Docent in Ethnic Relations at the University of Helsinki.

Anitta’s research encompasses global mobility, different forms and practices of solidarity and resistance, and the concept and practical implications of intersectionality. Over the past years, her research has focused increasingly on mobilities in the so-called Global South and in possibilities and forms of decolonizing knowledge production. She has co-authored two monographs, Gender and Mobility: A Critical Introduction and Choreographies of Resistance: Mobile Bodies and Relational Politics, and published numerous articles, book chapters and commissioned reports. She works closely with civil society organizations and groups, such as EuroMed Rights (formerly Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network) where she served as the board member in charge of migration and asylum (2012-2018).

“TRANSIT addresses themes that form the core of my research and teaching, namely mobilities and their transnational governance in a broad sense, and constitutes a platform for interdisciplinary encounters. I’m also fascinated by the keen interest to advance slow science, which seems a form of resistance to much of practices and demands in the contemporary academic world.”

Elias Pekkola, PhD, Docent, is a university lecturer and the head of administrative studies unit in the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland.

Pekkola has led several international master’s degree programmes, projects and act as in a role of expert and consultant for ministries, municipalities and   international organizations. Pekkola has a decade -long experience in working different projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Pekkola’ s publications include articles and books on public policy and administration, academic work, the academic profession, careers, and HR policy. Pekkola is a member of National Development Policy Committee (KPT).