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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

The Links between Research and Teaching

When I arrived at the University of Helsinki in the 1980s, theatre research was changing rapidly all over the world, and in order to keep up we needed to strengthen its foundation in Finland. University professors need to follow both domestic and international research, but they also need to be able to share this information with students through their teaching. It was then, and still is now, important to balance between my own interests and my responsibility to my students. This is challenging, but also rewarding when it works.

From the very beginning, it was clear to me that I wanted to be involved in international activities. It also felt important to bring this international perspective to the Theatre Research unit. My own research has always focused on Finland, but it has usually been developed in interaction with the international research community.

Nordic professors at Hanasaari in 1990. [From left] Willmar Sauter (Stockholm), Pirkko Koski, Claes Zilliacus (Åbo Academy). [Behind] Per Ringby (Umeå). The Nordiska Teaterforskare had been founded the previous year.​

For me, it is important to research Finnish theatre and theatre history, but it is also equally important to present these findings abroad. I have combined these goals by choosing topics from Finland and methods from the international community. For example, I have been able to introduce both domestic and international audiences to the co-operation between Hella Wuolijoki and Bertolt Brecht, as well as to the work of the director Kristian Smeds. Sometimes my research has led to international publications, more often to a chapter in a Finnish-language book or journal article.

When doing research, I try to strike a balance between joint projects – usually together with doctoral students – and my own work. The field of study is vast and interaction with others broadens your horizons and knowledge. At the same time, however, working on your own projects helps you to deepen your knowledge and in so doing keep up with new researchers, and sometimes even lead the way.

Exploring with students the roots of theatre at the Great Theatre of Epidaurus, Greece. Picture includes some Irish students.​

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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