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Talkoot (talkoo in singular) is a traditional Finnish type of voluntary, collective work for the good of an individual or, in many cases, the entire community. The work is always unpaid and often based on an open invitation to join, especially in a traditional rural setting. A talkoot event can be organised around any theme; a building project, moving, cleaning the yard in the spring, or something that requires a number of people with special skills. Food and sauna are traditionally offered by the hosting party to the talkoot crew.

TALKOOTUUTTI Talkootuutti explains how talkoot and different talkoo modules work. This talkootuutti paper was published in the very beginning of our project, but it is still valid and very useful in explaining the principles of talkoot and presenting talkoo projects. Communication camps, held since 1987 by Viestintäkasvatuksen seura (Society for communication education), form a background for the Know-howtalkoot project (2008–2012).

CONTENTS: Know-how-talkoot – about us Objective of Know-how-talkoot Talkoot – where to organise Basic principles or good practices of talkoot Why engage in talkoot? –Joint efforts make it all easier! Talkoo modules – same principles every time Making a paper together – story on a talkoot event at Suvilahti village Food as a cultural factor deepening the idea of talkoot Ingredients from a local grower, whenever possible What shall we eat today? Making use of freeware


The objective ofKnow-how-talkoot is to improve communication abilities in communities and to create communication practices that remain in use after the project.

Know‒how‒talkoot About us What happens at Know-how-talkoot? We make a product according to the needs of the community: a paper, newsletter, a history overview, web pages, video, compendium, audio work, social media, or plans for the future – and food. Who is Know-how-talkoot organised for? All communities, companies, schools and groups of friends. The pilot guides and gives advice

How do we work? According to the talkoot principle: with equality, with an open mind, supporting each other, having fun and using our creativity. Why would you create a publication collectively? Because things are better accomplished in a group than working alone. Talkoot is about working with mutual support, no one has to be able to have all the skills! Why did you choose us? Because our starting points are the skills and needs of your group. Because we do not lecture, we participate in the process by giving examples. Because even a laborious project can be guided through in a fun and creative way. (Talkoo story, p. 11). What is in it for you? You will get a finished publication, learn together the use of computers and software, learn to share responsibility and make publications. You will also learn the use of scoring as a democratic method of problem-solving that allows everyone’s opinion to be noticed. Talkoot – how to order? Find out more about us and different types of talkoot projects in this publication and on our website ( Contact us: together we will decide on the place (p. 4) and the module (p. 7) to be used.

We all have the right to be seen and heard, to express ourselves and to participate. This requires access to networks, technical knowhow, understanding and motivation. Changes in communication culture and information technology are a challenge, but they also create new possibilities for self-expression. The objective of Know-how-talkoot is to improve communication capability in communities and create practices of communication for these communities. We all have the right to be seen and heard, to express ourselves and to participate.


Objective of Know-how-talkoot Traditionally, participation in social debate and objective-oriented action is channelled through associations and other communities. From individuals and communities alike, participation requires collective processing of ideas, access to networks and forums of communication, skills and motivation. Communication skills in many civic organisations and associations do not meet today’s requirements. A community where messages are not transmitted is a dead one. Know-how-talkoot responds to the communities’ need for communication skills with a five point approach: 1) When communities collectively learn the use of information and communication technology in order to reach a common goal, comfortable use of applications is strengthened, and people of different ages, different levels of skills and motivation are brought together. 2) The user is cared for in the process ofguidance; instructions are given as practical problems occur. 3) Pilot training increases the abilities of information technology instructors to assist the users. 4) The citizens’ network participation increases as self-produced material is published online. 5) A talkoot event launches a process of learning in the community; as the communication skills of the participants are strengthened, the practices of the community are permanently changed. The target of the activity gains volume and the activity itself becomes more influential.

Talkoot – where to organise? A talkoot event can be organised in the premises of a community, a company or an association, in a rented space or at the headquarters of the talkoot organisation. It is essential that the space is provided with a kitchen suitable for cooking, a place to enjoy the meal and a common working space for collaborative work. Furthermore, the talkoo spirit can be boosted by a space that is as unitary as possible: the more the group members have to scatter into separate rooms, the less they will be able to give feedback to each other and comment on the content. Dividing the group would also make it difficult for the members to follow each other’s work. Especially when organising an online talkoot event, the location is worth giving a consideration: a static network connection is useful, but one can manage with mobile broadband as well, as long as the connections are fully functional locally. 4

Basic principles or good practices of talkoot Talkoot events have a few principles that have proven to work well. These are principles on how to progress and how to cooperate. 1. Visioning together

In the beginning of the talkoot event, a common discussion is held concerning the goals of the event. The goal is often unclear before the event, but a vision on the aims of collaborative work is created using brainstorming and yellow notes. In future-talkoot, the vision concerns the whole group’s activity and the time scale is longer. One of the things to vision is what to eat. A common meal is everyone’s concern. It is useful to hear each individual opinion and to learn to take others into account. At the same time, creative models for problem-solving are adopted, to be used later in decision-making.

2. A beginner can do it as well

Family members or friends often join the talkoot, perhaps to take part in cooking for example. Such a person may often prove to be the most enthusiastic image editor, music maker or storyteller. Fear of information technology is overcome by the creative use of technology.

3. The pilot guides and instructs

A Know-how-talkoot event always involves two pilots, responsible for giving guidance and instructions to the participants. Pilots do not lecture, they are not teachers. They keep up a good atmosphere, see to that the project keeps in schedule, and make sure no one is left alone with problems. Eventually, the awkward intricacies of information technology are solved together.

4. Everyone’s work is appreciated

Everyone’s effort is important in a successful talkoot operation. The pilots never forget to thank the participants and give positive feedback for the results. The saying “there’s no harm in trying” is the motto of the pilots.

5. Completed work

A product, designed during the visioning process, is completed in Know-how-talkoot. If a product is left half-finished, with an agreement that someone will continue, it often happens that no one will. The project has in this case been useless, and the doing itselfhas been frustrating. People’s happiness relies on accomplished tasks.


Why engage in talkoot? – Joint efforts make it all easier! Is communication in your association the burden of a single person? - Suppose we make a model publication collectively. Perhaps the members of the association would be encouraged to do things themselves! And besides, it is more fun to work together. We cook together as well – no one has to work with an empty stomach. How many times has it occurred to you that it would certainly be nice if everyone knew about this? Or: “I wish I had heard about this earlier”? Have you imagined how nice it would be if others knew as well? - It is just so hard to get started on your own, let’s join our efforts! We can gather a team, design the association’s web pages for instance, and get to know each other as we work. Talkoot events also involve pilots. Their task is to help with technology and software, as well as the talkoo activity itself. Talkoot (talkoo in singular form) is a traditional Finnish collective way of working, having fun, with an accomplished project in mind. Everyone can join talkoot .The more skilled ones will help and give advice to those who need it. Tasks are shared in a way that leaves everyone with something to do with a good motivation. In our talkoot, we favour collaboration, in pairs or groups, so that no one is left working alone forcefully. After the talkoot event, we have before our eyes a finished product to be celebrated by everybody during a closing event with coffee and other delicacies. This is a way of showing appreciation to a work well done, and all get their share of the positive feedback.

Even a beginner can do it! The pilot guides and gives advice!


Modules Talkoot can be organised at different times (models 1, 2 and 3), and with different themes. The talkoot project options are: - A publication: brochures, posters, history booklets, papers, news letters... - An audio production: a radio play, a speech, a story, news, a lecture... - Video: a short film, a play, news, a promotion video, live video... - Internet: web pages for an association, a group, a housing cooperative, a company... - Social media talkoot event: practicing the use of social media by creating a Facebook page and using Google community services... Live video with Bambuser...

Talkoot as a process – same principles every time Talkoot events always start with a common gathering over coffee. The pilots use the occasion to explain the idea, model and practices of talkoot – telling, of course, who we are and who we represent. A principle of openness is applied in talkoot; all events are documented in a talkoo story in the form of a diary, published online with pictures. It is worth checking also if there is someone in the group who does not want to be recognised in published photographs. We go on to getting to know one another and discuss our ideas about the talkoot event: what is the goal? What is important? How do we proceed? And, of course, what shall we do? A moment spent together in the beginning will raise motivation, togetherness and joy of achievement in the talkoo community. After this, we naturally go on to planning the product. We use yellow notes and brainstorming to gather our ideas, as no one knows the ideas of others at this point. The results are displayed on the wall. One important part of planning is to find out what tools and equipment we are making a publication with. You may also want to ask about the skills of the group members. Some of them may be able to share their technical kitchen skills for instance. The next phase is producing the material and compiling it as a final product. At this stage, it is good to remember that planning alone – although it is important – will not give you a product. Unless finalised, the job may go on forever. Once ready, the product can always be improved afterwards, as long as there is a version to be published after the talkoo project. The best is the enemy of good! At some stage of all the busy work, do remember to buy the ingredients for the meal and prepare it. Before that, however, we score the food using a democratic method of problem-solving. You will find more information in the publication “Pisteytysmenetelmäopas” (Scoring method guide, in Finnish) and on our website ( Once the scoring is done, a shopping group will fetch the ingredients while the rest keep the work going. Let us remember that tea, coffee, juice and other refreshments can be enjoyed at any time as the work progresses. The intention of talkoot is not to work starving, but to accomplish things and have fun! When the materials are ready and gathered together, the result can still be further edited. The next step is to publish it for everyone to see. At the closing coffee, it is good to relax and enjoy the product of 12 hours of work! 7

Examples on the progression of talkoot A talkoot session can be organised at any time of the day, with any theme that suits the client. The most important thing is to note the duration: a talkoot event takes 12 hours.

Model 1 is practical for example during Friday-Saturday; the talkoot event will not leave the weekend one entire day shorter because of “work”. Model 2 is suitable for those who spend a working day at talkoot, or for the unemployed, pensioners, and others who can use office hours for the event. Model 3 is best for hard workers who prefer to get things ready once and for all.


5 pm – 4 pm, the overnight model 5 pm The working session begins with an opening coffee and discussion on the talkoot, the principles, accomplishment, cooperation...

Example: video-talkoot 5:30 pm Ideas for a scenario 6:30 pm Plans for the realisation: camera work, audio control, acting, directing, costumes, setting... Tasks are interchanged and recycled! Note: Catering is planned as the work goes on: evening meal, breakfast and lunch for the next day. Filming begins. Material is then transferred on computer. Additional takes on the following day, if necessary. According to strength and resources, work continues until 9-10 pm and ends with the evening meal. In the morning, work continues as agreed, keeping in mind the total 12 working hours of the project. After breakfast, editing continues, with possible additional video takes. 2:00 pm Lunch, possible finishing touches to the video. The final version is viewed together, over a cup of coffee.


Example: publication-talkoot 5:30 pm Ideas for the contents, using a flap-board and yellow notes. 6:30 pm Writing texts using a desktop publishing program, taking or selecting pictures. Finding information, making interviews, finding contact information and logos. Note: Catering is planned as the work goes on: evening meal, breakfast and lunch for the next day. Writing continues as long as it seems reasonable, evening meal at the end of the day. In the morning, work continues at the time agreed upon, keeping in mind the 12 working hours of the project and the publication to be completed. After breakfast, work continues with desktoppublishing software: text formatting, composing graphics or photographs to fit with the text. Possible misspellings are checked, and the text is further edited. More stories and pictures, if needed. 2:00 pm Lunch. Possible further work with the layout. Finally, a copy of the product is printed for everyone to read and admire at the closing coffee.


9 am to 5 pm, two-day model

9 am

The working session begins with an opening coffee and discussion on the talkoot, the principles , accomplishment, cooperation...

Example: audio production 9:30 am Planning of the scenario begins. 10:30 am Plans for realisation: recording, soundscape, effects. Recording starts. People switch roles, and remember to enjoy themselves. Note: lunch and coffee breaks are planned as the work goes on. 12:00 Cooking, lunch by 1:30 pm 3:00 pm End of day 1. Tasks for day 2 are agreed upon. 9:00 am Morning coffee. A glance at the results so far. 9:30 am Recording begins/continues. by 11:00 am Editing begins. 1:30 pm latest Lunch 2:30 pm Listening to the final result, having coffee.

Example: publication-talkoot 9:30 am Ideas for the contents, using a flap-board and yellow notes. Tasks are dealt to the participants. 10:30 am Writing texts using a desktop-publishing program, taking or selecting pictures. Finding information, making interviews, finding contact information and logos. Note: lunch and coffee breks are planned as the work goes on. 12:00 Cooking, lunch by 1:30 pm 3:00 pm End of day 1. Tasks for day 2 are agreed upon. 9:00 am Over morning coffee, a glance at the results so far. Work continues with desktop-publishing software; formatting text, fitting images or graphics in. Possible misspellings are corrected and the text given a finishing touch. If necessary, additional stories and pictures. by 11:00 am A test version is printed, spelling checked. Texts given a final polish. 1:30 pm latest Lunch 2:30 pm Reading the final version of the publication over coffee.



9 am – 9 pm, long day model 9:00 am

The working session begins with an opening coffee and discussion on the talkoot, the principles, accomplishment, cooperation...

Example: video-talkoot 9:00 am Initial ideas for the scenario. 9:30 am Plans for the realisation: camera work, audio control, acting, directing, costumes, setting... Tasks are interchanged and recycled! Note: Catering is planned as the work goes on: lunch, dinner, evening meal... Filming begins. Material is then transferred on computer. Additional takes are filmed later, if necessary. Lunch and other breaks are taken at suitable intervals as the work progresses. According to strength and resources, the work goes on until 9–10 pm. At the end of the day, an evening meal, while watching the video together.


Example: internet-talkoot 9:00 am Ideas for the contents, using a flap-board and yellow notes: what to display on the web pages, what is their purpose, what is the target group. 10:30 am Writing texts for the web, selecting/taking photographs, uploading them on the pages. Finding information, making interviews, acquiring contact information and logos. Note: Catering is planned as the work goes on: lunch, dinner, evening meal... Writing is continued as long as possible, meals at suitable intervals. During meals, a look at the results so far, what remains to be done. 8:30 pm An evening meal, browsing through the pages together.

MAKING A PAPER TOGETHER -story on a talkoot event at Suvilahti village

Persons: the talkoo crew: Senni, age 67, Tuula, age 60, Onni, age 40, Irja, age 60, Leena, age 45, Simo, age 60, Pertti, age 50, Sisko, age 24, Topi, age 30, Markus, age 63. Resource personnel: Jonna age 21, Heidi age 30.

Scene 1: Planning The talkoo crew is gathered at 9 am, sitting down, chatting and having coffee. Jonna gets up and takes the lead. She tells about the talkoot event where everyone has a task to do. She takes a felt-tip pen and writes ideas on the board about the possible contents of the paper: editorial, interview, illustrated story on a summer excursion, upcoming events, birthdays. Many find the market garden story interesting: who, for whom, what, where? Jonna asks for opinions about horoscope, a “practical advice” column, the editorial, a gossip page. Gossip raises a fervent discussion with opinions for and against. Jonna tries to interrupt, saying that only benign and positive gossip should be written, like: “Lauri caught a 10 kg pike last week...” Senni, 67 years and eldest of the group said she had always wanted to be a gossip editor! Everyone agreed, as it was known that Senni would never say a bad word about anyone, and she was a sharp-eyed observer. Other tasks were dealt as well. Tuula, the philosopher of the group would write the editorial, and Onni, the eternal joker, promised to make a good horoscope for everybody. Senni asked the others to give her hints for good gossip. When the contents of the paper had been planned and all had their tasks figured out, Heidi called everyone for another planning session: What should we eat and drink, and when? Back to the flap-board again to create new ideas: pea soup was followed by organic salmon and lasagne. When all minds were empty of ideas, points were given to all

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the proposed foods. Each person had five points to give either to single food or to divide between several options. Food was to be prepared according to the most voted options. Irja, Leena, Simo and Pertti announced right away that they wanted to start their talkoot in the kitchen group, and went off to plan their own cooperation.

Scene 2: Busy at work The flurry of activity began. Senni went ouside with the camera to observe the environment. Tuula sat down to write, so did Onni. Terttu started to look for horoscope signs online while Sisko and Topi went to the market garden for pictures and interviews. Jonna had written down instructions for saving the texts on computer in txt-format – they were not to be edited – and pictures as jpg files. Once the stories were ready and saved, they were printed and put, with clear titles, on a spike beside the computer used for page layout. This is done in order to avoid losing any material. On the other hand, the a beginner can manage. persons responsible for the layout can Photography takes skill, but even immediately see the length of each story. After about two hours Jonna asked everybody what they had ready by then, and work began with planning the order and number of pages. A lot had been done already, but there were texts and images still under way at this stage. A 24-page paper was agreed upon (24 is divisible by four, which allows the paper to be printed on A3 paper). Markus was eager to learn page layout. Jonna told that the publishing programme Scribus would be used. Jonna and Markus created together the templates and styles for the paper. Markus took a picture on the cooking session, to be used as the cover photo of the paper: delicious talkoot!

Scene 3: Lunch Everyone got a text message: “Lunch served in hall A. Welcome”. Those who were making the paper remembered to save their work results and headed for hall A. They were quite surprised when they opened the door: Mozart playing gently in the loudspeakers, tables nicely set, candles lit, and a seat reserved for everyone. Simo the head waiter wished the guests welcome, towel folded on his arm. A creamy trumpet chanterelle soup was served as appetiser, and the main course was pasta with different sauces. The guests could order a sauce of their choice from the waiter. During the meal, a lively discussion went on about the paper. The food was praised, and Senni took photographs of the waiters Irja and Pertti, the head waiter Simo and the cook Leena, to be used on her gossip page. The dessert was coffee and ginger biscuits. The attentive “restaurant staff” had brought sofas in the room next door, and now carried the audio equipment into the room saying that anyone who wished to take a nap after the meal could now do so. The teachings of Markku Partinen seemed to have been carried to their ears. Senni and Tuula did not hesitate to seize the opportunity.


Scene 4: Layout After a short rest, work began again. Now the members of the “lunch team” could also find time to participate in making the paper; they took pictures and came up with ideas for small stories, such as recipes for the food they had just cooked. Markus started working with the layout. His computer was connected to a video projector and page layout was projected on the wall for everyone to see. It was easy to follow the work as it progressed. Markus and Jonna had made templates on paper and also made plans on what to put on each page, whose story was to cover an entire double page, for example. The plans were displayed on the wall. Markus started planning the layout from the cover, since he had the cover photo ready. The name of the paper was thought up together, and the team decided to call it “Suvilahden Tuutti nr. 1”. Jonna gave Markus a mini lesson on the use of Scribus and the cover was quickly done. The font size raised discussion, as well as the font itself. Finally, Norasi BoldItalic was chosen. Once the cover was ready, pages 4-5 were opened. Leena had written a column on the importance of food in human health, mental health sociability etc. In her writing, she also emphasised the importance of European table manners in international activity. As the subject was a matter of the heart for Leena, T she had written the story while the food was he pilot is happy to guide cooking. Markus was secretly pleased to an d g i v e advice. find that his cover photo matched so well with the theme of the column. Page 3 was left open to wait for the table of contents and other things. As Senja had, with Heidi’s assistance, already transferred images to the computer and saved them in the right folder, she started working on the centrefold layout with Markus. Many people followed on the projection screen as the layout progressed. Senja’s pieces of gossip were an amusement to many. Layout was made page by page with Markus working as the main layout artist. As the job went on, it was discussed whether everyone or everyone willing could make their own page layout in peace, on their own computer. This can of course be done, and it was agreed as the method in the next talkoot session. A user guide for Scribus can be found on the Know-howtalkoot website, along with instructions on how to combine pages located on several computers. The paper had already taken shape, and Markus printed all the pages, which were then spread on a side desk. A closer observation revealed that there were still too many gaps and unedited stories. A text message came beeping: dinner time! After dinner, at around 6:30 pm, the paper was read page per page, and everyone picked up a task: Pertti took the task of collecting the pictures and names of the editors, Irja made the table of contents, Senja made a few additions to her gossip page, Sisko added photos of the market garden.


Scene 5: Copying the paper At 9 pm the entire paper was printed a second time; this time it was noted that nearly all the pages were ready. Heidi showed how copying is planned. She folded a 24-page book and marked page numbers on it, so that it was easy to see which pages, and in which order, belonged to each A3 sheet. The difficulty of copying was a common source of bewilderment. Copying started on the pages that together make a double page.

Copying the


ect an one would exp th s ie lt cu fi if d re paper is mo

– a real art!

Scene 6: Reading the paper

At 10 pm, over evening tea, Sisko and Topi handed a fresh copy of the paper to everyone. Imagine the joy and happiness a completed paper gives you: We did it together!

FOOD AS A CULTURAL FACTOR ENRICHING THE TALKOOT EVENT In a talkoot event, food is prepared by the participants themselves. Cooking and shared meals play a significant role in a successful project. Cooking and eating together is a way of creating new forums for interaction, on which creative ideas come bubbling out and develop into shared goals. This brings good atmosphere and community spirit in the group. The process of preparing food is similar to other creative processes: producing ideas, planning, acquisition of materials, preparation, finishing, and a shared moment of enjoyment. Collective engagement in ordinary tasks also increases awareness of the possibilities of technology, and bridges the gap between the language of technology ant that of everyday life.

traditional cooking, it is more than that; it is about appreciating and enjoying genially prepared food.



Talkoot have a goal of promoting sustainable development and community spirit. Local food production is a substantial part of local community life. Local food is also a healthy option, due, for instance, to the lack of artificial additives. Slow food has become an internationally appreciated way of life. Slow food is not an equivalent to

Open decision-making is also important in talkoot. It is practised also when decisions on food are made. In making decisions, an open method of problem-solving is used, that is scoring. The decision-making process involves brainstorming, evaluation and scoring. Points are given with taste, healthiness, locality and organic production as criteria.

MAKING USE OF FREE SOFTWARE Know-how-talkoot use a Linux operating system and open-source software whenever possible. Installing Ubuntu is easy, and the old computer can be formatted at the same time to delete existing information. This is a way of providing recycled computers to be used by communities. Commercial desktop publishing programmes, editors and other software are costly. Freeware (for example Scribus in page layout designing and Audacity in audio editing) give quite nice results and are user-friendly as well. They also make it easier to keep work going after the talkoot event. Web pages are designed using Google Sites. Combined with Youtube and the Issuu publishing platform, a number of features can be used the pages. Freeware programmes have developed in leaps during the project, and they become ever more user-friendly. At early stages of the project, web pages were made with software owned by our partner Verkkoviestin. The Know-how-talkoot project is very grateful for that, for when we started, free publishing software hardly allowed any irregularities on the pages. 15 Address:

Liisa Kirves Project Manager Know-how-talkoot +358 400 400 082 Marja-liisa Viherä Consultant Know-how-talkoot +358 400 501 581 Johanna Viherä Project Worker Know-how-talkoot +358 400 454 826 Robert Serén Managing Director The Finnish Information Processing Association, FIPA +358 400 446 300 Lars Sonckin kaari 12 02600 Espoo Finland

Tietotaitotalkoot/Tietotekniikan liitto ry Eerikinkatu 28 00180 Helsinki Finland


Talkootuutti explains how talkoot and different talkoo modules work. Thistalkootuutti paper was published in the very beginning of our proje...