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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

Learning is about gaining joint insights

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 course on urban nature which included trips to such places as Arabianranta, Kalasatama and Senate Square. In addition to students of art history, aesthetics, history and literature, students of environmental science from the Viikki campus also participated.

“Teaching is at its best when insights and joint activity occur,” says Professor Saarikangas.

Saarikangas has been a member of the Teachers’ Academy since 2015, where it is rewarding to be able to share experiences with teachers from different fields and learn from superb colleagues.

Saarikangas has also viewed university teaching from the vantage point of vice-dean in charge of faculty teaching.

“It was an important experience that broadened my horizons. I became acquainted with my own faculty in a different way. The faculty is very broad, and in the role of vice-dean one learns to view it from a fresh perspective. I was able to be in contact with many of the faculty’s teachers and students.”

In her professorial role, Kirsi Saarikangas loves the fact that she gets to meet enthusiastic new students every autumn. It is rewarding to follow their path and their progress.

“They graduate as Masters and commit themselves to such different kinds of jobs out in the world, and some of them go on to write doctoral dissertations. Today, it is easy to stay in touch through Facebook.

Study excursions were important to Kirsi Saarikangas during her own student days. She thinks it is great that the tradition is still as strong among students of art history. Teachers also participate in the excursions.

“We were in Berlin with the students the spring before last. It is an entirely different thing, for instance, to really see the Nefertiti Bust in Berlin than to see it as a picture on the wall.”

Kirsi Saarikangas feels that as a teacher and scholar she is in her dream job.

“There are great moments every week.”

Anna Moring’s speech at her postdoctoral party June 8, 2013. On the left her opponent, professor Tiina Rosenberg, on the right Custos Kirsi Saarikangas. Photo: Antu Sorainen


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