Kirsi Saarikangas
Humanist of the day

Kirsi Saarikangas

Kirsi Saarikangas, professor of art history, is passionate about multidisciplinary research and teaching. She has conducted research at the intersection of art history, urban studies and gender studies. She is currently studying lived spaces in suburban areas, nature in cities and residents’ relationship with the built and natural environment. Professor Saarikangas loves hiking and wandering in mountains, cities and their outskirts, as well as swimming in the cold sea.

Kirsi Saarikangas

Kirsi Anneli Saarikangas
Born March 9, 1960, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1987 and PhD 1993 (art history), University of Helsinki

Professor of art history, University of Helsinki 2010–
Director of the research project Nature in Arts, Culture, and History 2014–18
Director of the doctoral programme for History and Cultural Heritage 2014–
Vice-dean of the Faculty of Arts (teaching) 2010–13
Director of the national doctoral programme for women’s studies 2007–11
Professor of women’s studies (acting) 1994–95 and 2003–09
Director of the Kristiina Institute 2003–09
Academy of Finland senior research fellow 2001-03

Research themes: Gender and space, suburbs and modern architecture, urban nature, and the relationship between residents and the built and natural environment.

Awards and special achievements
Member of the Teachers’ Academy 2015–
State Award for Public Information 2006 (editorial board of Suomen kulttuurihistoria 1–5 (‘Finnish cultural history 1-5’))
Finnish Academy of Science and Letters scholarship for an outstanding doctoral dissertation 1994

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Written by Kirsi Saarikangas and Suvi Uotinen
Translated by Matthew Billington

At present I am researching the relationship between citizens and the built and natural environment. I am investigating suburban spaces in the Helsinki metropolitan area in the 1950s­–1970s by analysing both this relationship and suburbs as multisensorially significant, sedimented, lived environments. In the study I connect suburban planning and writing…

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Doctoral programme directors Tuija Pulkkinen (left), Kirsi Saarikangas and Jan-Ola Östman. Photo: Mika Federley.

In my research I have always moved between and at the interface of academic disciplines. In my doctoral dissertation, Model Houses for Model Families, I investigated conceptions of a good family house and assumptions about…

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With students on an urban nature course in Arabianranta September 21, 2015

Kirsi Saarikangas thinks that learning is about action and doing. On courses, it is important that students read and what has been read is discussed together. Moreover, they should go on excursions: Professor Saarikangas has just taught a…

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With Katariina Mustakallio on the way to a Bruce Springsteen concert at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg June 8, 1985. Photo: Tuomas Lehtonen.

One of Kirsi Saarikangas’s best memories is when she enrolled to study at the University of Helsinki.

“It opened up an incredible world. I was able to…

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Doctoral dissertation finalised in Paris at the end of 1990. Photo: Tuomas Lehtonen

After graduating as a Master of Arts in 1988, Kirsi Saarikangas decided to go to Paris for the spring.

Doing her Master’s thesis had confirmed to her that she wanted to be a researcher. In the autumn…

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I dream of peaceful things. Immersing myself in writing and thinking and being able to hike in the mountains and on seashores for many times to come.

In the Italian Alps, Alta Via 2, Valle d’Aosta, July 11, 2013. Photo: Tuomas Lehtonen.