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Mikko Myllykoski

Mikko Markus Myllykoski
Born December 25, 1963, Vammala

Bachelor of arts 1993, Master of Arts 1998 (general history), University of Helsinki
Doctoral student of art history 2012–, University of Helsinki

Experience Director 2002–, Heureka Science Centre
Head of design 1999–2002, senior designer 1994–99 and designer 1990–94, Heureka Science Centre
University of Helsinki history project research assistant 1990

President of the Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists (FASEJ) 2015–
President of the Società Dante Alighieri (comitato di Helsinki) 2008–12
President of the Finnish Inter Press Service 1994–2000

Research themes:
Travel-literature themed Master’s thesis on Mrs Alec Tweedie’s 1896 Finnish travelogue
Doctoral dissertation (in progress) on the exhibition Dialogue in the Dark as a radical social innovator

State Award for Public Information for the exhibition Nordic Explorers 1997 (together with Jouko Koskinen)

Recognition for Heureka Science Centre exhibitions:
Employer of the month award from the Ministry of Labour for recruiting 45 visually-impaired guides for the exhibition Dialogue in the Dark

Association of Finnish Aviation Journalists Follow Me award for the exhibition Flight! 2003

Association of Science and Technology Centers’ Roy L.Shafer Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience for the exhibition Heureka Goes Crazy 2014

Photo: Pinja Myllykoski
Written by
Mikko Myllykoski (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

My dream

I once took part in a post-doctoral party where the (successful) doctoral candidate, in a traditional speech to all the senior scholars and friends who had contributed to his work, thanked me for helping him understand the significance of the useless in life. I considered this a great honour. I was reminded of what I considered dream jobs as a small child: the owner of an ice cube factory, because I thought that it was too absurd to be real, or a sabre-tooth tiger tamer – for the same reason. Later I learned the Roman concept of otium, creative idleness, and I understood this was something vital: creativity cannot be forced; it requires the freedom to think, express, and interact with others. It should be kept in mind that the Greek word for otium, leisure time, is skhole. Education was understood to be a privilege.

Humanities scholars gain joy from studying old and new things and ideas with no regard to their immediate utility, but rather with a view to expanding their understanding. At worst, the short-sighted pursuit of profit will lead to the objectification of others and the thoughtless exploitation of our environment.

Photo: Mikko Myllykoski.

It is symptomatic of today that amateurs and dilettantes whose interest springs from a love of the subject are seldom valued. The zeal and curiosity of amateurs feeds their imagination and imagination feeds their ideas. In this I see an opportunity and also some signs of change. Many ideas from ordinary citizens have begun to change urban culture in a more participatory direction. There are more semi-spontaneous meetings in life.

For me it was a revelation to visit the Dialogue in the Dark exhibition (1997) and produce it at Heureka (2000 - 2001). It is an exhibition in a pitch-dark space, where we seeing visitors are guided by a blind guide. Without sight, our other senses get a workout. We trade our traditional roles with the visually handicapped: our guide is the master, we are the apprentices. Our understanding of the world of another – empathy – is increased. The public voted Dialogue in the Dark the best exhibition experience Heureka has offered, nor do I disagree: I’m working on my dissertation on this exhibition as a radical social innovation.

Photo: Pinja Myllykoski.

We have since produced a similar exhibition with the deaf (Dialogue in Silence) with similar success. Now we are working on a third dialogue exhibition in Heureka: Dialogue with Time. The expert guides for this exhibition will be people over 70 who are leading full and meaningful lives.

My dream? I hope I will continue to be able to feel that my life has a meaning that also gives joy to my nearest and dearest, and preferably even to total strangers. “To live and mix,” as I gather Jorge Luis Borges wrote. We learn from encounters. I dream of having many more yet.

Photo: Pinja Myllykoski.


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