issue 2, year 1

Who is CATCH-EyoU

Introducing the Tartu Team

The team of the University of Tartu (UT) is made up of six core members, researchers and lecturers at the Institute of Social Studies. The Institute provides higher education in
journalism, communication management, media studies, social work and social policy, sociology, and information management. Moreover, the Institute has close cooperation with many fields of teaching and research at the University, such as political science, psychology, education sciences and other social sciences

Therefore, the research team of UT incorporates a similar approach as the CATCH-EyoU project as a whole, consisting of researchers with different, often interdisciplinary backgrounds and experience in diverse and complementary areas.

The Tartu Team

Photo by Katre Tatrik, University of Tartu.
Caption: (standing) from the left Katrin Kello, Ragne Kõuts-Klemm, Mai Beilmann, Veronika Kalmus and Andu Rämmer; (on knees) Signe Opermann and Gordon, a “guest member” who spontaneously joined the photo shooting.

The Angel’s Bridge, located on Toome hill in the centre of Tartu, was built in the 1814-1816 and replaced an earlier temporary bridge. There is a bar relief of the first rector of the University of Tartu G.F. Parrot with the Latin writing “Otium reficit vires” (rest restores strength).

The team is coordinated by Veronika Kalmus, professor of sociology and head of the chair of sociology. She studied issues of active and critical citizenship and civic education in her PhD thesis “School textbooks in the field of socialisation”, defended in 2003. She considers herself, to an equal extent, as media scholar and sociologist, having researched, inter alia, youth values and identities, children’s and young people’s media use, generations and inter-generational relations, and various aspects of socialisation.

Ragne Kõuts-Klemm is a lecturer in sociology of journalism and director of BA and MA programs in journalism. Her research interests include the role of media in the integration of society, but also the interplay between changing media and changing society. A special attention has been paid to transforming media use among various groups in the Estonian population. A study of what are the patterns of media usage among young people is crucial as it enables to discuss in depth on cohesion in the society as a whole. It also helps to focus on pre-conditions for participation in democracy, and on future perspectives. Ragne collaborates also closely with media practitioners.

Mai Beilmann is a junior research fellow in social policy, with a background in sociology. In her doctoral dissertation, Mai Beilmann explores the relationship between social capital and cultural values. However, her other research activities are more closely related to CATCH-EyoU topics as Mai has been involved in several (applied) research projects which focus on youth and youth work. In particular, her research topics have been related to impact of youth work, competencies of youth workers, EU funded youth projects and initiatives, and early school leaving.

Katrin Kello is a research fellow in cultural communication, with a background in history and educational research. Katrin is interested in social memory, history politics, history teaching and social representation theory. She has studied teachers’ professional identities and pedagogical dilemmas in dealing with contradictory expectations and divergent educational aims, as well as student and teacher perceptions of national educational reforms. Besides her tasks in CATCH-EyoU project, her current research focuses on teachers dealing with sensitive issues in history and citizenship, and on social representation processes in school history textbooks.

Andu Rämmer is a lecturer in sociology, with a background in psychology. His research interests lie in the formation of attitudes and values, political culture and social capital, diffusion of new ideas in society, trust in science and social representation theory. Central part of his research focuses on youth – he has contributed to and published on different research topics such as values and attitudes of young people, participation in youth work. He has published on social, political and work values and technological optimism.

Signe Opermann is a postdoctoral research fellow in media sociology, with a background in media and communication. Signe has explored the concept of social generations in the context of media, and especially news media usage in her PhD dissertation. The problem of generational consciousness will be further elaborated also in her postdoctoral project, which is part of larger research program on acceleration of social and personal time at the Institute of Social Studies.

The team of UT, thus, can be characterized by the interdisciplinary nature and synergistic work on various tasks in the CATCH-EyoU project. Most of the work packages have been discussed by the whole team, and several research tasks been solved together in a spirit of open dialogue. Such interdisciplinary collaboration has great potential to open new aspects of research and is also very effective for the process.

The best way to learn something about young people, education, identities, and public engagement is through personal experience. Besides expertise in theories and concepts of social sciences, the team members have, in a way or another, their own experiences with membership in youth groups and communities or civic organizations, so that they know and understand the core of participation and reflexive engagement. Mai Beilmann has been actively involved in several youth organisations. During her undergraduate studies, Mai was a volunteer at the open youth centre KOHT, where she helped to organise activities for economically disadvantaged youth. In 2007–2012, Mai was board member of Association of Estonian Sociology Students. Mai is also actively involved, is DD Academy, which aims to provide young people with necessary skills and experiences to actively participate in civil society. Andu Rämmer has also been active member in student societies. Since her school years, Ragne Kõuts-Klemm has been active in various youth organizations. In recent years she has explored and practiced a variety of models of social involvement and cooperation within the local community. She is one of the founders and active members of a community association. Veronika Kalmus has previously been active in (youth) sports clubs, namely draughts clubs and the Estonian Draughts Federation, and is now acting as the vice president of the Estonian Association of Sociologists. Signe Opermann has her background in music, mainly as an ensemble and choral singer in various community-based projects. She also is a member of the Karl Ristikivi Society (Ristikivi is, as pointed out by literary scholars, one of the most European authors of Estonian literature).

CATCH-EyoU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement n. 649538