The year 2021 marks Paulo Freire’s centennial. Scholars, educators, and activists around the world celebrate Freire’s 100th anniversary.

How difficult is the task of an educator. No matter where this kind of educator works, the great difficult – or the great adventure – is how to make education something which, in being serious, rigorous, methodical, and having a process, also creates happiness and joy. – Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire
Paulo Freire (1921–1997)

Paulo Freire Center–Finland (PFC–Finland) is a hub for those interested in Paulo Freire and his legacy for making the world more equal and just for all. PFC–Finland fosters critical national and international discussion on education, participatory democracy, and social justice.

The PFC–Finland promotes research, organizes events, collaborates with teachers, educators, cultural workers as well as educational groups and agencies in developing projects and teaching – lectures, seminars, and workshops – in different topics relating, e.g., to arts, comparative education, critical pedagogy, developmental issues, peace research, media education, and social media.

The PFC–Finland was established in November 2007 in Tampere, Finland. At the time the PFC-Finland was the only center in Scandinavia dedicated to Freire’s philosophical and pedagogical thinking and ideas. The inauguration lecture was given by Professor Peter McLaren at Tampere University on November 20, 2007. His topic then was “Paulo Freire and Critical Pedagogy in the Times of Neoliberal Terror.”

Professor Peter McLaren, one of the leading scholars of Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy

In the first years, the center was active in publishing academic books and organizing research seminars. In 2007–2009 a trilogy of studies on critical pedagogy was published (in Finnish) (see here, here, and here). In sum, those books have been downloaded nearly 21, 000 times (by the end of 2020).

In 2008–2009 the center organized two summer schools on critical pedagogy and media education with the Department of Education (University of Tampere) and the Finnish Youth Research Society. Peter McLaren acted as a keynote in both of those events.

In 2019 Prof. Juha Suoranta published a biographically oriented research monograph on Freire Paulo Freire. Sorrettujen pedagogi (Into, Helsinki, 2019). During the writing process, he visited Freire’s sculpture in Stockholm, Sweden (see photo below). In addition to the Freire monograph Prof. Suoranta has published several Freirian-spirited books and articles:

  • Suoranta, J. (2005). Radikaali kasvatus (‘Radical Education’). Gaudeamus.
  • Suoranta, J. & Ryynänen, S. (2014). Taisteleva tutkimus (‘Rebellious Research’). Into.
  • Suoranta, J. & Tomperi, T. (2020). Freire en Finlandia: las trayectorias de la presencia de Paulo Freire en el norte. Revista Archivos de Ciencias de la Educación 13(16). Archivos de Ciencias de la Educación – Revistas de la FaHCE
  • Suoranta, J. (2021). Paulo Freire’s Spirit Has Guided My Work: Confessions of the Finnish Working-Class Academic. Revista Ideação.
  • Suoranta, J. (2021). Ashraf, Paulo and Me, or Where Heterogeneous Realities Meet. In Kress, Tricia, Lake, Bob & Stein, Elizabeth (Eds.). Radically Dreaming: Illuminating Freirean Praxis in Dark Times. New York: DIO Press (forthcoming.)
After the Bath, 1976. A sculpture by Nye Engström located in suburban Stockholm, Sweden. Paulo Freire second from the left. Juha Suoranta reads his manuscript on Freire on the right.
After the Bath, 1976. A sculpture by Nye Engström located in suburban Stockholm, Sweden. Paulo Freire second from the left. Juha Suoranta reads his manuscript on Freire on the right.

I had experimented with and abandoned various methods and processes of communication. Never, however, had I abandoned the conviction that only by working with the people could I achieve anything authentic on their behalf. Never had I believed that the democratization of culture meant either its vulgarization or simply passing on to the people prescriptions formulated in the teacher’s office. – Paulo Freire