Researchers look for young Estonians abroad to take photos and film their everyday environment

Researchers from the University of Tartu are inviting people from Estonia under the age of 40 to document their everyday environment of their life abroad; the material will be used in a research project, “Young Estonians Abroad”, that studies the migration and residential preferences among young Estonians.

The aim of the research is to create a visual mapping of the young Estonians living in different places around the world. The collected photos and videos are also used in the making of a documentary film.

The project lead Terje Toomistu, a researcher at the University of Tartu, said in a statement that the idea of using an artistic method developed partly in response to the pandemic that hindered carrying out fieldwork abroad.

“This probably pushed the need to try out something unconventional – to create a collaborative project with young diasporic Estonians, which is undoubtedly very telling from the point of visual anthropology, but can also bring an entirely new quality to the documentary,” she said.

About real lives of young Estonians

“Anyone who is willing to take some photos or videos of their everyday environment, even just with a cell phone, is welcomed to join from all around the world with all kinds of ways of life. This project is not about dream lives and success stories from faraway lands, it’s about the real lives of young Estonians.”

Jana Helandi’s daughter entering a ballet class in Brisbane, Australia. Photo by Jana Helandi.

The material is collected until the end of June and, at the end of the project, it will be stored at the Estonian National Museum. To this day, there are over 70 participants from 19 countries. People can register to participate on the University of Tartu website.

The majority of the participants live in the UK, which is also the main destination for young Estonians. Many participants are also from Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. There are also people taking part from the different faraway locations, for example from Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Cover: Kristiine Volt has spent eight years in Barcelona, Spain. Private collection.

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