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Rosa Liksom

Rosa Liksom (Anni Ylävaara)
Born January 7, 1958, Ylitornio, Finnish Lapland

Master of Arts (main subject Cultural Anthropology; subsidiary subjects incl. ethnology, folk poetry, aesthetics, Art History, Religion, Finnish Literature) University of Helsinki, 1983
Studies in Universities of Moscow and Copenhagen, 1981-1986

Freelance Artist since 1991
Radio Journalist at Radio City and Reporter for City-lehti newspaper, 1989-1993 (programme deviser, interviews: Suomalaisia unelmia [‘Finnish dreams’])
Barworker, Agricultural Labourer, Shop Assistant and Bakery Assistant, Youth Drop-in Centre, Fleamarketeer at Lepakko, Sauna Boss in Freetown Christiania, Denmark; Agricultural Labourer, Shop Assistant

Photo: Pekka Mustonen
Written by Heta Muurinen
Translated by John Calton

Freetown Christiania: unacceptable dissertation material

When Liksom got the final stage of her studies, with just a dissertation to write, she was living in Denmark, in the alternative Copenhagen district of Christiania. The district has proclaimed itself a free town and is known as a home for artists, anarchists and other dissidents.

As a student of anthropology, Liksom had an idea she could base her master’s dissertation on her adopted home district. Her teacher, the social anthropologist Jeremy Gould, was keen on the idea. But with cultural anthropology as her main subject he couldn’t accept the topic. So Liksom went to see the professor of Finno-Ugrian ethnology, officially appointed to supervise the work.

“I explained my idea. The professor was dumbstruck, and had nothing to say,” Liksom explains.

The professor recommended another topic: the development of Finno-Ugrian interiors.

“It was something to do with furniture. My turn to be gobsmacked: I reckoned I’d have to manage without the dissertation. At first I thought I’d take a break from studies, but in the end the dissertation got dropped altogether. Now I think about it, I should have taken the idea elsewhere, but I didn’t get it back then; there was a real culture clash.”

Times have changed since 1985. Fortunately.

“Nowadays any number of professors would give the tattoos on their left arm to supervise a thesis on Christiana.”

The entrance to Christiania. Photo: Bruno Jargot / Wikimedia Commons.​
The entrance to Christiania. Photo: Bruno Jargot / Wikimedia Commons.​


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