Raili Nugin: Tallinn University, Estonia

I am Raili Nugin, a researcher in Tallinn University, Centre for Landscape and Culture, Institute of Humanities. I have somewhat interdisciplinary background, gaining my MA degree in history and PhD in sociology: I always tend to look the contemporary social trends in historic perspective. Most of my current colleagues in Centre for Landscape and Culture have human geography background and so I have indulged a bit also into this discipline, as my main research interests are connected with social processes in rural areas.I am very grateful for the opportunity to apply for a post of a visiting scholar in Helsinki University Ruralia Institute in Mikkeli for a month. It noticed the opportunity already some years ago when I was looking for options to do my post-doc. However, unfortunately the deadline for applications had just passed, so I decided I will try later. So, when after some years a colleague from Tartu University circulated the call, I did not hesitate to apply. I was truly happy to receive the scholarship and very pleased with my time spent there. The atmosphere of Mikkeli unit was inspiring in many ways. I really liked to spend time around my colleagues in Ruralia at coffee breaks and lunches and was thankful for their friendly suggestions about how to survive the winter in Finland. I also enjoyed very much talks with my colleagues about their research in present, past and in the future. It really broadened my view on rural topics and made me look at issues I have never thought before and see some of my research topics from new angles. Finnish and Estonian rural areas have had different development paths and are in many ways different – in demographic structures, sizes of municipalities, distances from the capital etc. Yet, they are entangled in many ways in the same problems and issues, even if from varied prisms.

I started off my studies in rural topics with rural youth, young people’s outmigration and mobilities. However, I realised these issues are highly intertwined with others, such as regional development, history, demographic processes, infrastructures, spatial organisation, community activism, cultural heritage and construction of the rural. Therefore, I have broadened the scope of my research within a new project in our Tallinn research group, titled “Landscape approach to rurbanity.” The aim of the overall project is to detect ways in which rural and urban have intertwined and how this has affected the development of rural areas. I believe the month in Mikkeli has contributed to my development as a scholar within this project as I found new ways of posing questions which would enrich the research field. I truly hope my one-month visit was just a start for a broader co-operation with different scholars from Ruralia Institute. Also, I believe our research groups can be project partners in various future projects.

I would like to thank everybody who made this month possible for me!

PhD Raili Nugin was a visiting scholar in University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute.