KOTI core team


Mervi Kaukko

I am originally a primary school teacher, but now work as a professor at Tampere University, doing research with refugee children and youth. In the past, I have done participatory action research with different groups of migrants, for example with unaccompanied asylum-seeking girls who lived in a reception centre in Finland, and with refugee students in Finnish and Australian schools. What has intrigued me in these studies is how creative newly arrived children and young people are as they start building their lives in a new country. In the KOTI-project, I want to learn how schools and teachers could better support students from refugee backgrounds, and how refugee students themselves want us to understand their education.


Maria Petäjäniemi

I work as a postdoctoral researcher in the KOTI project, although originally, I am an arts-oriented primary school teacher. My current research focuses on the normative discourses surrounding refugee students and the mechanisms within the education system that produce inequity. In the KOTI project, I am especially interested in the different socially just and antiracist practices of primary education and how to make them more visible and reinforced through research. I am also excited to explore arts-based methods together with refugee children and youth!


Luke Macaulay

Hello. I am a researcher originally from Australia. My research interests include working with refugee youth to better understand their settlement experiences and the transition to adulthood – especially regarding their sense of belonging and construction of identity. As a researcher, I value interdisciplinary and novel approaches to research including arts-based methods exploring poetry. In the KOTI-project I hope to learn more about artistic research co-collaboration and to better understand how experiences in the Finnish education system influence the belonging and future sense of self for refugee youth.


Nick Haswell

I am an Australian-Finnish doctoral researcher working at Tampere University. With a background in artmaking and art teaching, I am greatly interested in the ways that art and story making give young people opportunities to explore and express their identities and experiences. In Australia I have researched how collaborative picturebook projects can give Aboriginal children agency in telling their own histories. In Finland I’ve been involved in research projects with refugee children and young people, using creative ways to explore their experiences of settling in a new country. I am also part of a working group, We Who Smile, which runs art projects in refugee centres around Finland, giving asylum-seeking children and youth the opportunity to share, through storybooks and animations, their stories with the wider community. I am excited to be part of the KOTI project, to learn more about refugee students’ own perspectives on education and how to communicate their ideas creatively and sensitively to others through art.


KOTI supporting team


Jenni Alisaari

I am Jenni Alisaari, and I am working as a university lecturer at the University of Stockholm and as a senior researcher at INVEST Flagship Research Centre at the University of Turku. Additionally, I am a docent of Finnish language at the University of Helsinki. My research interests are mainly connected with language education, especially with second and heritage language education as well as teachers’ competences in linguistically responsive pedagogy. I have also been studying multilingual learners’ learning and wellbeing. With my work, I aim to contribute in developing inclusive pedagogical approaches and teaching methods for all learners.


Raisa Harju-Autti

I am Raisa Harju-Autti, and I currently work as a senior lecturer (educational sciences) in Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius (The University of Jyväskylä). My research interests are mainly connected with language education, especially with second and foreign language education as well as early language education. In my doctoral thesis I focused on structured linguistic support (SLS), a pedagogical support measure for recently arrived immigrant students on lower secondary level , targeted at learning the language of schooling and subject specific contents simultaneously.  With my work, I aim to contribute in developing inclusive pedagogical approaches and teaching methods for recently arrived immigrant students.


Sanna Mustonen

I am Sanna Mustonen, and I am working as a university teacher and as a researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. Currently, I am doing participatory research with young Ukrainian students. In the past, I did research also with young asylum seekers and investigated language aware practices in Finnish schools and early childhood education. In both my teaching and research work, it is important for me to promote multilingual students’ equal participation in school and society. In KOTI-project, I aim to better understand the lived experiences of refugee students and their teachers.