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Pirkko Koski

Pirkko Kaarina Mirjami Koski
Born 22 December, 1941, Rural Municipality of Jyväskylä.

Librarianship qualification, 1963, University of Tampere.
Master of Political Science, 1964 (Literary History) and Master of Philosophy, 1980 (Comparative Literature, specialising in drama), University of Tampere.
Licentiate of Philosophy, 1989 (Comparative Literature, Drama), University of Turku.
Doctor of Philosophy (Theatre Studies) 1992, University of Helsinki.

Docent and Emerita 2008-, University of Helsinki.
Docent, School of Arts and Design 1998–2007.

Associate professor of Theatre Studies and Drama (fixed term) 1989–95, associate professor 1995–98 and professor 1998–2007, University of Helsinki.

Until 1979 librarian and research assistant for various employers; Acting director, Finnish Federation of Theatre Companies (3 years), 1977–84; Director, Theatre Museum 1981–88; theatre critic for Demari newspaper 1979–91

Publications, research projects and other academic activities
Research interests: Finnish theatre and theatre history, performance research and analysis, theatre and society

Awards and special achievements
Finnish Performing Arts, Gold Medal, 2001
First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland, 2002

Written by Pirkko Koski and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

My finest moments at the University of Helsinki

An especially fine moment for me was when I was presented with a festschrift on my birthday by the teachers and students of our international summer school. This summer school has been organised 11 times, and taught by our regular group of six professors who became a close work community and circle of friends. My international colleagues also got to know many students at the summer school.
The festschrift was put together by the teachers of the summer school, along with my own students. Three of my colleagues travelled to the celebration (at their own expense!) and afterwards Janelle Reinelt and her husband Jerry Hewitt stayed for Christmas.

All in all, the Summer School has been a great experience. Even though it always meant a shorter summer holiday, the intensive two-week discussions about research with Finnish and international students and teachers gave me much-needed energy for the long winter. In 2006 we agreed to organise the World Congress of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR). Previously we had arranged several smaller congresses. The IFTR seminars on theatre history and performance analysis, organised in Helsinki in 1993, were a great success. Now, however, the scale was larger and we took a financial risk, though we minimised it by organising the congress ourselves.

Much of the organising work was done by the department secretary, along with the students of theatre research. Postgraduate students were given jobs to do before the conference started, so they could still participate as researchers during the conference itself. Each person responsible for a different area received an information pack on organising conferences, and for two years students gathered every Friday to learn more about project work, conference organisation, and the structures of their field of research.

The university helped us to stay within our budget by providing the use of premises. Everything worked perfectly: 600 conference visitors received flexible and personal service, as everyone involved in organising the conference, from students to the university caretakers, were fully committed and knew what they were doing. The attitude and spirit of the people involved could be seen at the first seminar, where I gave a lecture on the structure and functions of the IFTR, and faculty representatives told us about their own work. The speakers were surprised to find the whole group of students packed into the first two rows of the lecture hall leaving the last rows empty.

The participants gave me a present that I still find moving. It is a large photo album filled with the names of the participants and entertaining messages, about 500 altogether, collected by the members of the board at the banquet.

Helka Kekäläinen and Steve Wilmer presenting the Festschrift. In the back are members of the Organisation of Students from Central Finland (for which Pirkko Koski has been the inspector, or Faculty representative). Photo credit: Tuomo Lehtinen​

Written by Pirkko Koski.

Translated as coursework by Sara Jormakka, Saana Kallioinen, Tanja Koski, Suvi Lehikoinen, Tuomas Mäenpää, Emilia Mäkinen, Emma Niemi, Eerika Norja, Anu Piippo, Riina Vepsä, Saara Viitanen, Marilena Constantinou, Liisa Eloranta, Teemu Heikman, Marika Holmberg, Cecilia Ihatsu, Juliette Lempinen, Elviira Mattila, Sinimarja Niironen, Milla Rautio, Riikka-Liisa Salomaa, Sebastian Wandao & Elina Virros.

Revised by Nely Keinänen & John Calton

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