Ferienuni – Organizing the Crisis
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Change Laboratories and The Finnish School of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory
Annalisa Sannino (Tampere University) & Yrö Engeström (University of Helsinki)

These two combined presentations uncover how activity theory can serve as a resource to address acute societal challenges with the help of the methodology of formative interventions, its epistemological principles and the Change Laboratory method. Yrjö Engeström will present a brief overview of the basic idea and principles of the Change Laboratory method and its implementations in different parts of the world and in different fields. Then Annalisa Sannino will present a recent study of three interconnected Change Laboratories conducted in Finland within the national strategy for eradicating homelessness. This study documents and supports the establishment of a heterogeneous coalition of researchers and homelessness actors and practictioners across the local, city- and national levels. This is a first comprehensive example of the application of the Change Laboratory method within the framework of the emerging fourth generation of activity theory

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Yrjö Engeström,
Yrjö Engeström is Professor Emeritus of Education at University of Helsinki and Professor Emeritus of Communication at University of California, San Diego. He is Director of the Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE) in Helsinki, and serves as visiting professor at Rhodes University in South Africa and at University West in Sweden. In his work Engeström applies and develops cultural-historical activity theory and the theory of expansive learning as frameworks for the study of transformations in educational settings, work activities and communities. He is known for the methodology of formative interventions, including the Change Laboratory method. His recent books include Learning by Expanding: An Activity-Theoretical Approach to Developmental Research (2nd Edition, 2015), Studies in Expansive Learning: Learning What Is Not Yet There (2016), and Expertise in Transition: Expansive Learning in Medical Work (2018), all published by Cambridge University Press.

Annalisa Sannino,
Annalisa Sannino is Professor of Education at Tampere University, Finland. She is distinguished research fellow at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and visiting professor at University West, Sweden and at Rhodes University, South Africa. Her research focuses on collective learning and agency formation processes in educational settings, workplaces and communities. Her work is increasingly recognized as a substantive contribution to cultural-historical activity theory and formative intervention methods with a novel theory of transformative agency. With the help of these theoretical and methodological tools, her work aims at bringing interdisciplinary scholarship in the learning sciences into active engagement to address acute challenges of societal renewal. Results of her research have been published in numerous publications across disciplines among which there are two edited books published by Cambridge University Press (2009) and Routledge (2013). Other publications include special issues she edited in the Journal of Educational Change (2008), Theory and Psychology (2011), Mind, Culture and Activity (2012), and Learning, Culture and Social Interaction (2015).