Horsti Karina, Akatemiatutkija/Academy of Finland Fellow

Horsti Karina, Akatemiatutkija/Academy of Finland Fellow
Kulttuuripolitiikka/Cultural Policy
Opinkivi 320.1.


Dr. Karina Horsti is Senior Lecturer and Academy of Finland Fellow at the University of Jyväskylä. Karina's background is in sociologically and anthropologically oriented media studies. Over the past 18 years she has developed a multidisciplinary profile in transnational migration research by successfully completing research on cultural diversity policies, nationalist populism, and mediated representations of refugees and asylum seekers. Her current research examines public remembering of forced migration and the commemoration of deaths at Europe's borders. She collaborates with artists, museums, activists, and refugees, and is inspired by  multimodal and creative methodologies. Karina works across disciplines and her work has appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals: New Media & Society, Memory Studies, Citizenship Studies, Patterns of Prejudice, European Journal of Cultural Studies, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Political Geography, and other journals. Karina Horsti has delivered invited plenary talks at the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Tulane University, University of Tübingen, and University of Naples Federico II. She has served as expert evaluator for several institutions and publishers such as European Commission, COST (European cooperation in science and technology), Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), Oxford University Press, and Routledge. She has been a Visiting Fellow at New York University (2009, 2011 - 2012, 2019), London School of Economics and Political Science (2016) and University of Melbourne (2017).

Areas of Interest:

  • Mediatization of migration
  • Humanitarian communication
  • Social memory in mediated societies
  • Critical border studies
  • Nation, ethnicity/race and difference in media culture
  • New media practices
  • European multicultural media policies
  • Discourse and frame analysis in media studies
  • Multimodal and creative methodologies
  • Ethics of doing research with refugees

Current research projects:

  • Remembering Migration: Memory politics of forced migration in mediated societies, 2014 - 2019 (Academy of Finland, project leader: Karina Horsti)  
    • Mediterranean sea is a border zone where thousands of people have drowned in the past 20 years. My present project examines how contemporary forced migration and border related deaths are publicly remembered in Europe—and what kinds of implications memory performances have for social equality and cultural identities.
  • Remembering the Tragedy of Lampedusa: radical participation in documentary film making, 2017 - 2019 (Kone foundation, project leader: Karina Horsti, team: MA, film maker Anna Blom, Phd student Ilaria Tucci, refugee activist Adal Neguse)
    • This participatory documentary film project examines the constitution of national and diasporic memory by focusing on the memories of one shipwreck, the so-called Tragedy of Lampedusa of 3rd October 2013. We produce five short documentary films designed to be shared in social media and in mobile devices. In addition, the project develops and analyzes participatory methods in film making. Artistic and scholarly work entangle in this project, which develops a radical participatory method in both research and cultural production.

Invited talks and keynotes, recent:

Curating the 'European Refugee Crisis' Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne, November 6, 2017.

Curating the 'Refugee Crisis', keynote at the Nordic Cultural Policy Conference: Migration, Culture and Nation, Helsinki August 24, 2017.

Debris of the Border: Seeing, and Seeing with, Objects Discarded by Migrants, public lecture at the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, April 17, 2017.

Participatory and Creative Methods in Migration Research, public workshop at CAMRA lab, University of Pennsylvania, April 18, 2017.

Immigration Debate in the Transforming Media Scape in Finland, invited talk, Immigration to the Nordic-Baltic Region -conference, Tallinn, March 31, 2017.

Transcultural Remembering of European Border Zone, keynote at the Participation in Media Cultures: Studying Participation in the Context of Immigration Societies, University of Tuebingen Spring School, April 5-8, 2016.

Recent publications

Short essays:

2018 Ilmiö - sosiologinen media kaikille: Miksi siirtolaisten kuolema esitetään numeroina?

2019 Atlas of Transitions, #3: Psychogeographies of Lampedusa

2017 National Gallery of Victoria 2017 Triennial Catalogue: Mapping the fatal borders of Europe, pp. 32 - 34.

2017 Inside Story: It's Hard to Put a Lid on the World. Candice Breitz’s compelling video installation, and its renaming, has been met with an unsettling silence at the 2017 National Gallery of Victoria Triennial (co-authored with Klaus Neumann).

2017 Refugees Deeply: On Arctic Border, Refugees Embraced by 'Northern Hospitality'

2017 Border Criminologies, Oxford University: The Memory Politics of Migration at Borderscapes

2017 OpenDemocracy: Unjust to everyone? Responses to deportation of asylum seekers in Finland.

2015 Border Criminologies, Oxford University: Remains of Rescue and Confinement: Humanitarian Bordering in Lampedusa

 Scientific publications (feel free to request a copy of my publications: karina.horsti@jyu.fi)

2018 "Refugee testimonies enacted: voice and solidarity in media art installations" Popular Communication, online first.

2018 ”Debris of the border: seeing, and seeing with, objects discarded by migrants”, Arena Magazine (Melbourne), 156: 26 – 30, co-authored with Adal Neguse.

2018 "Live free or die motionless: walking the migrant path from Italy to France" Cultural Studies Review, 24(2), open access.

2018 ”Anti-racism from the margins: Welcoming refugees at Schengen’s northernmost border”, in P. Hervik (ed.) Racialization, racism and anti-racism in the Nordic countries. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 183 – 202, co-authored with Carolina Boe.

2018 “Humanitarismi ja rajaspektaakkelin materiaaliset jäljet: siirtolaisten hylätyt esineet museoissa”, in M. Maasilta and K. Nikunen (eds.) Pakolaisuus, tunteet ja media. Tampere: Vastapaino.

2017 "Witnessing the experience of European bordering: watching the documentary Under den samme himmel in an immigration detention center", International Journal of Cultural Studies, online first.

2017 "Memorializing mass deaths at the border: two cases from Canberra (Australia) and Lampedusa (Italy)", Ethnic and Racial Studies, online first, open access.

2017 “Visibility in mediated borderscapes: The hunger strike of asylum seekers as an embodiment of border violence”, Political Geography, co-authored with Saara Pellander, online first.

2017 ”Communicative memory of irregular migration: the re-circulation of news images on You Tube.” Memory Studies, 10(2): 112 – 129.

2016 “Art, mémoire et monuments : les tragédies des migrants aux frontières de l’Europe”, Communication & langages, Volume 2016, Issue 190, pp. 53-72.

2016 ”Digital islamophobia: The Swedish woman as a figure of pure and dangerous whiteness”, New Media & Society, published online first.

2016 ”Imagining Europe’s borders: Commemorative art on migrant tragedies.” In Lynda Mannik (ed.) Migration by Boat: Discourses of Trauma, Exclusion, and Survival, Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 83 – 100.

2016 ”Visibility without voice: Media witnessing irregular migrants in BBC online news journalism”, African Journalism Studies, 37(1): 1- 20.

2015 ”Conditions of cultural citizenship: Intersections of gender, race and age in public debates on family migration.” Citizenship Studies (19)6-7: 751 - 767, co-authored with Saara Pellander.

2015 ”Techno-cultural opportunities: Anti-immigration movement in the Finnish media environment.” Patterns of Prejudice, (49)4: 343 – 366.

2014 ”The cultural diversity turn: policies, politics and influences at the European level”, in K. Horsti, G. Hultén & G. Titley (eds.) National conversations: Public Service Media and cultural diversity in Europe. Pp. 43 – 60. Bristol: Intellect.

2014 ”The politics of a multicultural mission: Finland’s YLE in a changing society”, in K. Horsti, G. Hultén & G. Titley (eds.) National conversations: Public Service Media and cultural diversity in Europe. Pp. 167 – 183. Bristol: Intellect.

2013 “The ethics of hospitality in changing journalism: The response to the rise of the anti-immigrant movement in Finnish media publicity”, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(4): 489–504, co-authored with Kaarina Nikunen.

2013 “De-ethnicized victims: Mediatized advocacy for asylum seekers”, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, 14(1): 78 – 95.

2013 “Maahanmuuttajat mediamaisemassa” [Immigrants in the media scape] in T. Martikainen, P. Saukkonen & M. Säävälä (eds.) Muuttoliikkeet, etnisyys ja monikulttuurisuus. [Migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism], pp. 301 – 317. Helsinki: Gaudeamus. (In Finnish.)

2012 “Humanitarian discourse legitimating migration control: FRONTEX public communication”, in M. Messier, R. Wodak & R. Schroeder (eds.) Migrations: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, pp. 297 – 308. Vienna: Springer Science & Business Media.

Teaching (list of courses)

Media and globalization, International Master’s degree program in Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä, fall 2015, fall 2014, fall 2013, 5 ECTS, in English.

ERASMUS lectures, Sociology of Culture and Communication, Department of Sociology, University of Bologna, fall 2014.

Master’s thesis seminars, International Master’s degree program in Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä, fall and spring 2013, 5 ECTS, in Finnish and English.

Kansainvälinen kulttuuripolitiikka II, (International Cultural Policy II), International Master’s degree program in Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä, spring 2013, 5 ECTS, in Finnish.

Media and identity, Department of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University, spring 2012, 5 credits.


Past research projects

  • Mobilising the Disenfranchised: Post Truth Public Stories in Finland, France and United States, 2017-2018, funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. This was a comparative research project that studied how Finnish, French and US nationalist populist countermedia mobilize people. We examined debates in the so-called hybrid media space, using a mixed-methods approach; qualitative methods from media studies and sociology complemented by a computational big data toolkit. The team included: Dr Karina Horsti (Project leader), Dr Niko Pyrhönen, Dr Gwenaëlle Bauvois and Dr Tuukka Ylä-Anttila.
  • Borderscapes, Memory and Migration, 2016 -2017, funded by Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (NOS-HS). In the series of three explorative workshops 12 Nordic academics together with activists and artists examined how border zones and practices of bordering are embedded in interpretations of the past: in history and memory making.
  • Structures of Compassion: Media, Migration, and the Politics of Emotion. The project is directed by Prof. Ullamaija Kivikuru, University of Helsinki and funded by Academy of Finland 2010-2013. Horsti's contribution to the project continues to scrutinize mediatisation of undocumented migration and refugees in Europe. Since the late 1990s she has studied news media’s role and ethical implications of news coverage in the context of European migration control.
  • Humanitarian narratives: Critical perspectives on humanitarian action, human rights, and development. This project is part of the Humanitarian Action Initiative, Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University and Horsti was a member during her stay at NYU in 2011-2012. The project rethinks and reformulates the systems in the humanitarian field by analyzing emerging and historical humanitarian narratives. This multiyear project builds a network of international scholars and practitioners in the field of humanitarian action.
  • Framing immigration and integration in changing journalism. This project analyzed the ways in which opinions in and around journalism have increased in Finland, and how this change has contributed to the rising populist politics. This project scrutinized changes in immigration related opinionated journalism, like blogs, editorials, and columns. Funded by Academy of Finland post-doctoral fellow grant, University of Helsinki, 2010-2012. The project connects to an international network "Citizenship and journalistic practices" which brings together academics and practitioners from the UK, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Ireland, and the Netherlands. The network is ongoing and hosted by the City University of London.
  • Project leader. MigraNord: Nordic researcher network for media, migration and society. Funded by Nordforsk and hosted by CEREN, University of Helsinki, 2007-2010. The network brought together some 90 Nordic academics and doctoral students in seminars, conference panels, working groups, and joint publications. The network continues in a new form as TheoryNord: Re-developing international theories of media and migration in a Nordic context, hosted by the Roskilde University in Denmark.
  • Multicultural media policy in public service broadcasting. This project analysed a shift from multicultural discourse to cultural diversity discourse in media policies at national and European levels. The results were presented in an invited symposium at the University of Stanford, News and Inclusion: Journalism and the politics of diversity. The project was funded by the University of Helsinki Post Doctoral Researcher programme 2007-2009.