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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 significance of professional societies lies in interaction and co-operation

When I came to work at the university, I was already familiar with both Nordic and international organisational work in theatre from my previous workplaces, and it was clear to me that I would move on to organisational work in theatre research as well. I was one of the founders of the Nordiska teaterforskare (Association of Nordic Theatre) and served for a time as a member of the board and vice-president. For twelve years, I was a member of the executive committee of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), four of those years serving as vice-president.

The most important thing in these professional societies has been scientific discussion and co-operation. I view my founding and development of the IFTR New Scholars Forum as my greatest accomplishment during my time as vice-president. The forum gives new researchers a chance to present their work, irrespective of the theme of the conference in sessions chaired by senior scholars, thus encouraging dialogue between senior and novice researchers. Today there are also New Scholars Workshops, where senior scholars offer advice on how to publish an academic article and other research skills. Thanks to the IFTR and our international summer school for researchers, at one point I knew many of the new scholars from various countries. I was also a founder of our own Finnish Teatterintutkimuksen seura (Theatre Research Society).

Participants at the IFTR Theatre Historiography Working Group at a reception in the 1990s.​
Participants at the IFTR Theatre Historiography Working Group at a reception in the 1990s.​

From 1994 to 1998, I was the head of the Department of Comparative Literature, Theatre Studies and Aesthetics at the University of Helsinki. I served as deputy director of the Department of Art Studies, and in 2007 as its director. Most of my administrative work, however, has been connected to theatre or international co-operation. For example, I have served on the governing boards of several theatres as well as the Theatre museum. Even after retiring, I still devote time to Finnish and international assessments, often because researchers in the Nordic countries use several languages and assessors need to be familiar with them.

International Summer School at Lammi (group photo)​
International Summer School at Lammi (group photo)​

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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