Social media: Public Spaces or Filter Bubbles?

On Thursday May 2d, I will participate to the Digital Humanities Research Seminar of the university of Helsinki and present part of my book project on Sámi media. Based on examples of social media use in Sápmi, I will discuss to what extent social media are public spaces, and what role they might play in creating filter bubbles (among other things).

This talk is based on a book chapter. The publication itself should be out by the end of the year.


Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World

“Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World” is the title and the topic of the SIEF2019 14th Congress in Santiago de Compostela, Spain 14-17 April 2019.

The Congress of the International Society of Ethnology and Folklore takes place every second year. This time, I am honoured to be invited as keynote speaker!

In my presentation, Digital footprints and narrative traceability/Narrative footprints and digital traceability, I will reflect upon our stories and our research practices in an increasingly digital and digitalised world.

International Year of Indigenous Languages

The UN has proclaimed 2019 the international year of indigenous languages

This is a way to acknowledge the value of Indigenous languages for communities and in our cultural heritages. Aim to raise awareness about the endangerment of Indigenous languages and its consequences.

This international year is meant to function as a cooperation mechanism. Cultural events, conferences and capacity building activities will take place along the year in many countries around the world. The website keeps an updated list of events and welcomes cooperations.

In Sweden, the Sámi Parliament inaugurated this international year with a conference in Jåhkåmåhke on February 7th.

Perspectives on Indigenous writing and literacies

Our newly published book has received some attention in the regional media! You can read more on the website of the Sámi Radio and the local newspaper Västerbottens Kuriren.  

We hope that this publication will increase visibility and interest for Indigenous languages and for the work of cultural workers, educators and researchers in different Indigenous contexts!

The Language of Place-Making

I have received funding from the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development for a research project that will investigate the linguistic landscape in northern Sweden.

The project, entitled The language of place-making. A mixed-method analysis of the linguistic landscapes (Platsskapandets språk. En studie av språkliga landskap) focuses on linguistic landscapes (languages on signs, billboards, etc) in a traditionally linguistic rich area of Sweden, Norrland. The aim is to investigate how languages as they materialize in our surroundings contribute to the making of public spaces. Through a mixed-methods approach, we will describe and analyze which languages are visible and which are not, and relate these findings to demographic, socio-economic, educational and linguistic characteristics of different spaces. This will enable is to understand how urban and rural places are constructed by the use of majority, indigenous and minority languages. Although the role of languages for inclusion and exclusion has been studied and confirmed in previous research, less research has been conducted about how this comes to expression visually in the landscape.

We will use textual data collected through ethnographic fieldwork with photo documentation and socio-economic data based on register data. Central to our approach is the spatial analysis through a deep map for the exploration of place-making and for visualizing the layers of information. Thereby, this project will provide an evidence-based understanding of the role of languages in relation to specific places and domains, and thereby highlight unnoticed processes of inclusion and exclusion.

This project will be conducted together with UmU colleagues in language studies (Prof Eva Lindgren), multiculturalism (Associate Prof Lena Granstedt) and cultural geography (Prof Urban Lindgren). It build on a pilot project that focused on the city of Umeå.

Strengthening Indigenous languages in the digital age

New publication!

Our article Strengthening Indigenous languages in the digital age: social media–supported learning in Sápmi is now published in Media International Australia and available in open access.  I was happy to collaborate with my Umeå colleagues Hanna Outakoski and Peter Steggo for this publication.

The article presents and discusses Sámi social media initiatives for strengthening languages. All Sámi languages are endangered, and the lack of resources for maintaining, promoting and teaching the languages has been underscored on several occasions by the European Council and the Sámi parliaments. Social media has become an arena where resources are created and shared, enabling communities of speakers to support each other and promote their languages. YouTube, blogs, Twitter and language learning applications are here discussed as public domains and community-grounded media. Based on a few examples and on our expertise as instructors within Sámi studies, we suggest strategies for developing long-lasting and innovative models for revitalizing threatened languages and cultures, and for counteracting language loss through social media. This contribution shares examples of innovative uses of social media in Sámi of relevance for other Indigenous contexts.


Perspectives on Indigenous writing and literacies

Upcoming book! In January, our edited volume Perspectives on Indigenous writing and literacies will (finally) be out, published by Brill in their series Studies in Writing. From the publisher’s website:


Exploring Indigenous writing and literacies across five continents, this volume celebrates the resilience of Indigenous languages. This book makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the contemporary challenges facing Indigenous writing and literacies and argues that innovative and creative ideas can create a hopeful future for Indigenous writing. Contributions following the themes ‘Sketching the Context’, ‘Enhancing Writing’, and ‘Creating the Future’ are concluded with two reflective chapters evidencing the importance of volume’s thesis for the future of Indigenous writing and literacies. This volume encourages the development of research in this area, specifically inviting the international writing research community to engage with Indigenous peoples and support research on the nexus of Indigenous writing, literacies and education.



Here is a first glimpse at the contents:

1 Indigenous Writing and Literacies: Perspectives from Five Continents

Coppélie Cocq and Kirk P.H. Sullivan

Part 1 Sketching the Context

2 “I’ve Admired Them for Doing so Well”: Where to Now for IndigenousLanguages and Literacies?

Nathan John Albury

3 Indigenous Education: Affirming Indigenous Knowledges and Languages from a Turtle Island Indigenous Scholar’s Perspective: Pikiskēwinan (Let Us Voice)

Laara Fitznor

4 Literacy Proficiency among Students in Aotearoa-New Zealand: Why the Gap between Māori and Pākehā?

Dean Sutherland

Part 2 Enhancing Writing

5 Indigenous Storytelling and Language Learning: Digital Media as in text: as a Vehicle for Cultural Transmission and Language Acquisition

James Barrett and Coppélie Cocq

6 Enhancing Information Accessibility and Digital Literacy for Minorities Using Language Technology—the Example of Sámi and Other National Minority Languages in Sweden

Rickard Domeij, Ola Karlsson, Sjur Moshagen and Trond Trosterud

Part 3 Creating the Future

7 Teachers, Textbooks, and Orthographic Choices in Quechua: Bilingual Intercultural Education in Peru and Ecuador

Nancy H. Hornberger and Nicholas Limerick

8 Researching Writing Development to Support Language Maintenance and Revitalization Design and Methodological Challenges

Hanna Outakoski, Eva Lindgren, Asbjørg Westum and Kirk P.H. Sullivan

9 Indigenous Literacy in South Africa: an Argument for Psycholinguistically Responsive Teaching

Mark de Vos

Part 4 Reflections

10 A Coda and a Preface

Shelley Stagg Peterson

11 Education is Not Sufficient—Exploring Ways to Support and Research Indigenous Writing and Literacies

Kirk P.H. Sullivan, Virginia Langum and Coppélie Cocq

Rasism mot samer – en kartläggning

Under 2018 genomförs vid Vaartoe (Centrum för samisk forskning), en kartläggning om rasism mot samer i Sverige på uppdrag av Sametinget. Kartläggningen kommer att rapporteras under hösten, i form av en rapport och ett dialogseminarium.

Uppdraget genomförs av Tobias Poggats under ledning av Patrik Lantto och Per Axelsson vid Vaartoe. Tillsammans med Jon Petter Stoor ingår jag i arbetsgruppen som handledningsresurs.

Rasism mot samer i Sverige finns, som t.ex. Sameradions kampanj 2017 under ledning av journalisten Katarina Hällgren, kunde ge konkreta exempel på. Dock saknas det kunskaper om var, hur och när rasismen förekommer samt om dess konsekvenser. Kartläggningen som nu genomförs hoppas kunna bidra till bättre kunskap, föreslå åtgärder samt utgöra ett underlag för vidare undersökningar och forskning om rasism mot samer.



Poster: Linguistic Landscapes

Next week, I will participate to the conference on Digital Humanities “DH Benelux” in Amsterdam.

I will present a poster about our project on linguistic landscape (see here for an early presentation of the project). It develops slowly since we are still applying for fundings, but the DH Benelux conference will be a good opportunity to present and receive feedback and new input.

The Societal Dimensions of Sámi Research

The website for The Societal Dimension of Sámi Research together with Tromsø University is now up and will continue to be updated with research activities and publications. The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Within this project, I have the responsibility for a Work Package about “Nordic Media as a Field for Negotiating Scholarly Knowledge on the Sámi” that explores how knowledge, produced by scholars working with Sámi issues, is articulated, transformed or omitted through the channels of digital media. How do images and discourses in media affect researchers’ focus and results, and thus the professional and disseminated understandings of Sámi pasts and presents?

Beside this responsible for a work package, I will of course contribute with publications, participation to research activities and editor.