Go Back

Kirsti Salmi-Niklander

Born May 20, 1957, Joensuu

Master of Arts 1988, licentiate 1991, PhD 2004 (Folkloristics), University of Helsinki

University lecturer in folkloristics 2015–, University of Helsinki
Academy of Finland research fellow 2011–16

Docent in folkloristics, University of Helsinki 2008–
Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher 2005–09
Research associate in folkloristics, University of Helsinki 1989–2003
Assistant archivist, National Archives of Finland 1987
Temporary researcher, Finnish Organisation for Labour Heritage 1985–87
Research themes: interaction between verbal and literary expression, hand-written newspapers, oral history, working-class culture, migrant culture

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and special achievements:
Award for the best monograph in Labour History 2006

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Kirsti Salmi-Niklander (Tiia Niemelä, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Labour Communities, Oral Tradition and the History of Books

Academic networks have been very important to me in the different stages of my research career. I was a member of the board of the Finnish Society for Labour History between 1993 and 1999. The biggest project from those years was the research symposium Crisis, chaos or challenge? which was organised in Karkkila in August 1995. The idea originated from the economic crisis in Karkkila in the early 1990s.

The Finnish Oral History Network (FOHN) became an important community for me after my doctoral dissertation. I coordinated FOHN symposiums between 2006 and 2008, and I have participated in them every time. Those same years saw the birth of a network of researchers studying the development of literacy and self-taught writers in the 19th century, which grew into an international nexus. Projects led by Lea Laitinen, Anna Kuismin and Taru Nordlund have resulted in numerous conferences and publications. A third important group has been the network for researchers of the history of education, which established the spirited multidisciplinary publication Kasvatus & Aika (‘Education & Time’). I was a member of the editorial staff between 2007 and 2012, and I edited, for example, the themed issues on the history of writing, the history of childhood, and the relationship between religion and education.

The Australian professor Paula Hamilton (centre) was invited to give a lecture at a FOHN symposium in November 2012, and got to experience her first blizzard. The Finnish oral historians Anne Heimo (left) and Kirsti Salmi-Niklander (right) acted as her guides. Photo by Daniela Koleva.

In the summer of 2000, I participated for the first time in a conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) in Mainz. Then I had to explain my own role as a folklorist interested in literary history. In 2010 I was involved in organising the annual SHARP conference in Helsinki, the theme being “Book Culture from Below.” I am now the Foreign Liaison for SHARP in Finland, and I have been a member of the jury for the DeLong literary prize since 2014. Between 2011 and 2014 I was the secretary of the Book History Society of Finland, and from 2014 onwards I have been the chairperson. For example, the Society ran the Life as a Reader project, which organized a life-writing call in collaboration with the Literature Archives of the Finnish Literature Society in 2014.

Go Back