The MAPS team has extensive experience with cross-disciplinary and comparative studies in the fields of inclusive education, sociology and politics of education and urban studies. The project is led by Venla Bernelius, and the participants – researchers at different stages of their careers – are located in the universities of Helsinki, Turku, Iceland and Amsterdam.
Venla Bernelius (Ph.D) is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Helsinki. She specializes in research on urban segregation and development, as well as social and spatial educational dynamics. Her research has focused on the links between socio-economic segregation of urban neighbourhoods and the educational outcomes in comprehensive schools, immigration and housing choices of highly skilled migrants, and social cohesion in the context of the Nordic welfare state.
Alongside the academic field, Bernelius works closely with the local and state governance, and the funding model for urban schools in segregated neighbourhoods is Helsinki is based on one of these collaborations. Bernelius is also the chairwoman of the Finnish Geographical Society.
Dr. Willem Boterman is an Assistant Professor of Urban Geography at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. He holds master degrees in political science and human geography. He obtained his PhD in 2012 (cum laude) for research on residential practices of middle class households in the field of parenthood. His research has mainly focused on the interaction of demographic and class change, families, residential choice, housing and gentrification. His most recent work concentrates on issues of class and gender and social reproduction via school and residential practices. Also, he is engaged in studies on middle class disaffiliation, segregation and social and spatial polarisation.
Boterman is board member of the Centre for Gender and Sexuality, co-founder of the Urban Cycling Institute and member of the Centre for Urban Studies. Boterman is recipient of individual talent grants from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO open competition and NWO Veni-grant) the latter for a research project on the role of space in the reproduction of educational inequalities and school segregation (see above). Boterman has also contracted Research from the Ministry of the Interior; The Ministry of Education (Onderwijsinspectie); The Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL); and The Municipality of Amsterdam. He coordinates and teaches various courses at both Bachelor and Master level.
Heidi Vartiainen MA (History), MA (Educ.) works as a PhD researcher in the research unit Social studies in Urban Education (SURE) at the University of Helsinki at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. Her dissertation focuses on critical school improvement and disadvantaged schools in urban environments. She is also interested in policies and practices of school choice, and inclusion and exclusion in education. Before her doctoral studies, she worked seven years as a teacher in history, civics, and religious studies.
Sara Juvonen, MA (Educ.), is a doctoral candidate in the University of Helsinki and is part of the research unit of Social studies in Urban Education (SURE). Juvonen's research interests come from the field of sociology and politics of education and concern themes such as teachers, teacher education, and urban segregation. She has previously worked in the Research Unit focusing on the Sociology and Politics of Education (KUPOLI) at the University of Helsinki in research projects concerning e.g. Nordic education politics.
Project leader Sonja Kosunen is assistant professor of education and holds a title of docent in sociology of education and urban studies. Her research is focused on the (re-)production of inequalities in education and society. The research themes comprise educational choices in the lifecourse, school and urban segregation, education politics and privatisation of education. Kosunen leads the research unit Social Studies in Urban Education (SURE) and three research projects (LEE, MAPS and PAHE), which all deal with inequliaties in different stages of education from early childhood education through higher education. Kosunen works as assistant professor in Swedish-speaking teacher education.
Sirpa Lappalainen is an Adjunct Professor, currently working as a university lecturer in University of Helsinki at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. Her expertise is in sociology of education, and qualitative methodology, especially in ethnographic approach. Her research interests are in cultural processes of inclusions and exclusions in education. She is one of the founding members of Nordforsk funded Nordic Centre of Excellence Justice through education in Nordic countries 2014 - 2018.
Elizabeth Lay is a doctoral student at the School of Education, University of Iceland. She completed her M.A. in International Studies in Education in 2016 from the University of Iceland. Her research focus is on immigrant issues in Icelandic schools and society, particularly immigrant parental involvement in compulsory school. She is also interested in the policies and practices of inclusive education in Iceland’s increasingly diverse population.
Berglind Rós Magnúsdóttir (Ph.D. 2014, Univ. of Cambridge), team leader for Iceland on MAPS is Associate Professor in Educational Studies at the School of education, University of Iceland. She received her teacher certificate in 1998 and worked as a teacher for five years in the Rural North of Iceland before specializing in Gender and Education (MA) and Critical Sociology of Education (PhD) utilizing Bourdieu’s theoretical framework. Her PhD-thesis examines issues on cultural politics of parental choice in the US, exploring neoliberal choice policies and their effects on parents’ and teachers’ choices and practices to ensure school quality.
Her research interests lie in the fields of sociology of education; education policy; teacher professionalism; amd the intersection of gender, race, disability and social class in relation to social justice in education. Her previous work experiences include being special adviser to the Minister of Education (2009-2011), equal opportunity officer at the University of Iceland (2003-2005) and teaching at the compulsory school level (1992-1995 and 1999-2001). She has worked in academia since 2003 and has been politically involved in education since 2009. Her current research is on globalization, marketization, and differentiation in the Icelandic education system and its impact on social justice, parental choices and practices, teachers’ professionalism, educational quality and in-/exclusion in education. She is currently the department chair of the graduate programme Education and Diversity at the University of Iceland.
Bowen Paulle (1970, Ph.D. 2005, Univ. of Amsterdam), team leader for the Netherlands on MAPS, is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam. Originally from New York, where he taught full time at a non-selective high school in the South Bronx for three years, Paulle settled in the Netherlands for good in 1999 when he became a PhD candidate at the UvA. As a PhD candidate he worked for another three years at a secondary school in Southeast Amsterdam.
Paulle is the author of Toxic Schools: High poverty schooling in New York and Amsterdam (2013, University of Chicago Press). After working for years at the municipal level on efforts to desegregate schools in various parts of the Netherlands, Paulle is presently evaluating (by means of randomized controlled trials) a range of interventions meant to help disadvantaged populations. He also heads the UvA’s soon to be launched SEPP (Scalable Education Programs for socially disadvantaged students Partnership).
Paulle’s recent articles include: “Elias and Bourdieu” (with Bart van Heerikhuizenand Mustafa Emirbayer, Journal of Classical Sociology), “The Integration Matrix Reloaded: From Ethnic Fixations to Established Versus Outsiders Dynamics in the Netherlands” (with Barak Kalir, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies), “Coming Hard: The primacy of embodied stress responses in high poverty schools” (The European Journal of Sociology”), “Beneath Rationalization: Elias, Foucault, and the body” (European Journal of Social Theory) and “Stumbling on the rehabilitation gold? Foucault vs. Foucault in San Quentin and beyond” (Ethnography).
Piia Seppänen is a professor of education, especially in comparative education and education policy at the University of Turku, Finland. Much of her scholarly work has focused on school choice policy, pupil selection, classed practices, urban social segregation and comprehensive schooling systems. Seppänen has co-edited books Lohkoutuva peruskoulu (2015, Finnish Educational Research Association) [segmenting compulsory school in Finland] and Contrasting Dynamics in Education Politics of Extremes: school choice in Chile and Finland (2015, Sense Publishers). She is currently leading research project “Hollowing Out of Public Education Systems? Private Actors in Compulsory Schooling in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand (HOPES)” 2017-2021 funded by Academy of Finland at the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning and Education (CELE), University of Turku.
Dr. Yannis Tzaninis is Post-doc researcher and holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Geography from the UvA where he studied residential segregation, isolation and concentration among native and immigrant residents of Rotterdam. During his PhD he researched the (social and spatial) mobility, experiences and aspirations of old and new inhabitants of Almere, a suburban New Town outside Amsterdam. His more recent work is about political transformations in city and periphery, focusing on the intersection of rising xenophobia and sub/urban diversification. He is also engaging with new ways of life in suburbia as a result of demographic diversification and urban exclusion.
Yannis is currently involved in drafting a state-of-the-art research paper on Suburban Political Ecology, aiming at creating a new agenda that can deal with the ecological consequences of “postsuburbanization” and sprawl. He has been involved in the past in (international) comparative research projects on the interethnic coexistence in European neighbourhoods, on housing policies and migrants, and on the relation between social mobility and neighbourhood change.
Charlotte E. Wolff is working with team Iceland on the MAPS project, which aligns with her theoretical and practical interests in inclusive pedagogy and educational equity. She has an interdisciplinary background in Linguistics, Education, Anthropology, and Educational Science (Ph.D., 2016, Open Universiteit Nederland). As an adjunct professor at the University of Iceland, School of Education, she supports and prepares in- and pre-service teachers for the challenges of teaching language in increasingly multicultural contexts. Her academic pursuits are combined with many years of teaching experience in diverse contexts, from the remote humid highlands of Northwest Cameroon to urban classroom teaching in East Harlem, NYC. She has published in the Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Instructional Science, and works with a varied network of researchers, teacher educators, and classroom teachers in Europe and North America.
Much of her research has focused on teacher cognition and teacher expertise development, particularly how teachers perceive and interpret classroom situations, and determining the influence of practical experience on teachers’ representations of interactions and events. Her work is characterized by a mixed-method approach that blends qualitative insights with quantitative measures, and also draws upon linguistic analysis and ethnographic inquiry. Her MAPS project contribution links to teachers’ practices of in-/exclusion in education and involves micro-level investigations focusing on the social, interactional, and pedagogical practices of teachers in relation to the experiences and perspectives of their students.