Team Helsinki

The University of Helsinki research team concentrates on two case studies, which relate to the post WWII time in Finland and in Estonia. Both of these case studies focus on the issues of stigma, trauma and silence. In addition, two scholars in the team (Dr Sofia Laine, Dr Päivi Salmesvuori) form a monitoring group, whose task is to facilitate and coordinate research and dialogues conducted by all partners.

Principal Investigator Kirsti Salmi-Niklander

Dr. Kirsti Salmi-Niklander

Kirsti Salmi-Niklander is Academy Research Fellow and University Lecturer in Folklore Studies at University of Helsinki. Her doctoral thesis Itsekasvatusta ja kapinaa (Self-education and rebellion, 2004) focused on oral-literary traditions of working-class young people in the early 20th-century Finland. Her post-doctoral project Hand-written newspapers as an alternative medium in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Finland was funded by the Academy of Finland 2007–2009. In her Academy Research Fellow project (Between voice and paper. Authorial and narrative strategies in oral-literary traditions, 2011–2016) she explores several case studies: 19th-century popular movements and student organizations, Finnish working-class young people and Finnish immigrant communities in North America. She has been involved in many conferences, networks and publishing projects in the fields of oral history, book history and working-class culture. Currently, she is Principal Investigator for the research project “Fragmented visions. Performance, authority and interaction in early 20th-century Finnish oral-literary traditions”, funded by Academy of Finland 2014-2017. Selected publications:


Contact information:

Mail address: Folklore studies, P.O. Box 59, 00014 University of Helsinki, FINLAND


Tel: +358-2941-23696


Dr. Ulla Savolainen: Memory of the Internment of German and Hungarian Civilians in Finland

Dr. Ulla Savolainen

The first case study of the Finnish research team (conducted by Dr Ulla Savolainen) is oral history research on the internment, and its aftermath, of German and Hungarian citizens during 1944–1947 in Finland after the war with the Soviet Union. The research explores memories and narratives of individuals (usually children of German fathers and Finnish mothers) who were minors during the internment. The study explores issues relating to silence, agency and nationality on personal and societal level. The research materials include oral history interviews conducted by Savolainen. In addition, the role of visual materials and objects as well as the relationship between public memory and personal/private memory are explored. The study also takes into account the reception of the law of compensation (in Finland 2014). Ulla Savolainen’s doctoral dissertation in folklore studies (2015, University of Helsinki) focused on the life writings of former Karelian child evacuees in Finland and the poetics of life writings and reminiscing as a genre of vernacular expression. Her research interests include folklore; oral history and memory studies; narrative theory; vernacular literature; relationship of memory and narrative with space, place, matter and body; and experiences of migration, diaspora and transnationality.

Selected publications:
  • The Return – Intertextuality of Reminiscing of Karelian Evacuees in Finland. Journal of American Folklore. (Forthcoming 2017.)
  • The interplay of memory and matter: Narratives of Former Finnish Karelian child evacuees. Oral History 44(2). Forthcoming 2016. (Together with Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto-Arponen.)
  • Genre of Reminiscence Writings. Applying the Bakhtin Circle’s Genre Theories. – Frog, Kaarina Koski & Ulla Savolainen (eds.): Genre – Text – Interpretation: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Folklore and Beyond. Studia Fennica Folkloristica 22. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society. Forthcoming 2016.
  • Genre – Text – Interpretation: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Folklore and Beyond. Studia Fennica Folkloristica 22. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society. Forthcoming 2016. (Book of research articles. Editors: Frog & Kaarina Koski & Ulla Savolainen)
Web pages:


MSocSc, MA Riikka Taavetti: Queer Politics of Memory in Estonia

Riikka Taavetti
MSocSc, MA Riikka Taavetti

The second case study of the Finnish research team is related to queer sexualities in Soviet Estonia, conducted by MSocSc, MA Riikka Taavetti (web page). In the research, Estonian post-Soviet life stories gathered in the 1990s will be used to understand how queer, or othered sexualities were constructed during the immediate post-Soviet years. In addition, contemporary utilization of a Soviet Estonian court case in visual art and public discussion around it will be used to portray the possible queer readings of recent past. The research will provide answers to following questions: How has it been possible in the post-Soviet era, to understand and remember queer Estonian pasts? How is it possible to remember and commemorate something that was silenced in the past, especially when it is not openly discussed even now? What is the role of memories of sexuality in general and queer identities in particular in the heritage of the Soviet Estonian era? The study brings together materials reflecting the institutional or semi-public dimension (visual art, media debate, archival collections) and personal or private dimension (life stories) on how to deal with diverse identities as well as difficult memories. Selected publications:

  • A marshall in love. Remembering and forgetting queer pasts in the Finnish archives. Archival Science. DOI 10.1007/s10502-015-9251-7 Published online July 27 2015.
  • Siiri ja minä. Lesboelämän kirjoittaminen ja lukeminen muistitiedossa. [Siiri and I. Writing and reading lesbian life in personal narratives.] SQS 8 (2014): 1–2, 1–19.
  • ”Seksi oli rakkauden hinta” Seksuaalisuus eilisen nuoruudessa. [”Sex was the price of love” Sexuality in yesterday’s youth.] In Vehkalahti, Kaisa & Suurpää, Leena (eds.): Nuoruuden sukupolvet. Omaelämäkerrallinen katse suomalaiseen nuoruuteen. Helsinki: Nuorisotutkimusseura / Nuorisotutkimusverkosto 2014, 88–109.
  • Kohti sosialistista feminismiä. Marxist-Feministerna-ryhmä 1974-1978. [Towards socialist feminism. Marxist-Feministerna-group 1974–1978.] Naistutkimus – Kvinnoforskning 3 / 2012, 30–42.
Full list of publications.


Dr. Sofia Laine

Dr. Sofia Laine

Dr. Sofia Laine will contribute in the project by writing policy papers based on meta-analysis of the project partners’ research results. She is also one of the editors of the final anthology of the research project. In addition, she will conduct a pilot study on young asylum seekers in Finland in collaboration with the Finnish Youth Research Network.

Selected publications:

  • Laine, Sofia (2015) Embodied and moral methodological cosmopolitanism opposing rising neo-nationalism. Microanalytical perspective. In Pirkkoliisa Ahponen & Päivi Harinen & Ville-Samuli Haverinen (eds.) Dislocations of Civic Cultural Borderlines. Methodological Nationalism, Transnational Reality and Cosmopolitan Dreams. Springer, 71-85.
  • Laine, Sofia (2015) Mikropolitiikka, globaali toiminta ja kinesteettinen kenttä. Kanssatodistajana kahdessa vaihtoehtoisen globalisaation sosiaalisessa koreografiassa (Micropolitics, global action and kinaesthetic field. Co-performing in two social choreographies on alter globalization). In Anette Arlander & Helena Erkkilä & Taina Riikonen & Helena Saarikoski (eds.) Esitystutkimus (Performance studies). Helsinki: Partuuna, 83-112.
  • Laine, Sofia & Oinas, Elina & Suurpää, Leena & Levamo, Tiina-Maria & Onodera, Henri & Lavila, Piia & Rantama, Minna (2015) Polyphonic Ethos in Team Research: Lessons from the World Social Forum, Tunis 2013. In Airi-Alina Allaste & Katrin Tidenberg (eds.) “In search of…” New Methodological Approaches to Youth Research. Cambridge: Cambridge Publishing, 116–135.
  • Laine, Sofia (2012) Young Actors in Transnational Agoras. Multi-Sited Ethnography of Cosmopolitan Micropolitical Orientations. Helsinki: The Finnish Youth Research Network / The Finnish Youth Research Society, publications 121.
Full list of publications.

Dr Päivi Salmesvuori

Dr. Päivi Salmesvuori

Dr Päivi Salmesvuori will contribute in the project by writing policy papers based on meta-analysis of the project partners’ research results and by being one of the editors of the joint publication. As an expert of religion she will also pay careful attention to issues concerning gender and religion.  From September 2016 to August 2017 she will be working as university lecturer of Church History in the Faculty of Theology. Before that Salmesvuori is university researcher in Kirsti Salmi-Niklander’s project Fragmented Visions.

Selected publications:
  • Salmesvuori, Päivi: Birgitta of Sweden: Power and Sainthood. The Case of Birgitta of Sweden. The New Middle Ages Series. Palgrave Macmillan 2014.
  • Salmesvuori, Päivi & Terhi Utriainen (eds): Finnish Women Making Religion and Gender. Between Ancestors and Angels (Palgrave Macmillan 2014).
  • “Convincing One’s Self and Other People. The Case of Trance-preacher Helena Konttinen”. In Finnish Women Making Religion. Eds. Päivi Salmesvuori & Terhi Utriainen. Palgrave Macmillan 2014, pp. 43–59.
  • Salmesvuori, Päivi 2015: Valta, sukupuoli ja uskonto. Näkijänaiset Ruotsin Birgitta (1303–1373) ja Helena Konttinen (1871–1916) vallankäyttäjinä“. [Power, Gender and Religion. Visionary Women Birgitta of Sweden (1303–1373 and Helena Konttinen (1871–1916) as Exercisers of Power]. In Uskonnon ja sukupuolen risteyksiä. [Intersections of Religion and Gender]. Eds. Johanna Ahonen & Elina Vuola. Finnish Literature Society 2015, pp. 188–212.
Web Pages: TUHAT-portal