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Tuomas Heikkilä

Tuomas Mikael Heikkilä
Born January 26, 1972, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1996, Licentiate 1997, and PhD 2002 (general history), University of Helsinki
European Diploma in Medieval Studies 1997 (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

Docent in general history 2003–, University of Helsinki
Docent in general history and church history 2006–, University of Helsinki
Docent in Finnish history 2013–, University of Turku
Director, Finnish Institute in Rome (Villa Lante), Rome
University lecturer of general history and church history 2003, 2005–07, 2010–13, University of Helsinki
Principle investigator of the Studia Stemmatologica­ research network 2009–12
Principle investigator of the Kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Suomessa (‘Literary culture in medieval Finland’) research project 2006–11
Visiting Research Fellow, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala 2010
Professor of general history 2004 and 2008–09, University of Helsinki
Commissioner 2001–07, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae Foundation
Research fellow 2007, Academy of Finland
Senior research associate in European history 2004 and research associate 1999–2003, University of Helsinki
Researcher 1998–2001, Diplomatarium Fennicum, National Archives of Finland
Researcher of general history, 1997–98, University of Helsinki

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Research themes: monasteries in the High Middle Ages, the cult of saints in the medieval period, literary culture in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, computer-assisted stemmatology, digital humanities, the period from late Antiquity until the Renaissance.

Awards and special achievements:
Luminous Middle Ages Prize 2012, awarded by the Society for Medieval Studies in Finland
Head Marshal of the conferment ceremony of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, 2010
Lauri Jäntti Foundation honorary award 2010
Winner of the Vuoden kristillinen kirja (‘Christian book of the year’) prize (together with Liisa Suvikumpu) 2009
Invited to reside in the University of Helsinki’s apartment Tiedemies-kunniakoti (‘Honorary scholarly home’) 2006
Finnish Science Book of the Year prize 2005
The Yrjö Koskinen medal 2006
Vuoden historiateos (annual prize for the best work of history) 2005
Finnish Academy of Science and Letters scholarship for an outstanding doctoral dissertation 2003
Doctor Primus 2003
Snellman Foundation prize for an outstanding master’s thesis 1997

Written by Tuomas Heikkilä (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

University, home

Universities are the home of every thinking person. For Tuomas Heikkilä and his family this is also true in a literal sense, as in 2006 he was invited to be the resident of the University of Helsinki’s Tiedemies-kunniakoti (‘Honorary scholarly home’). This is an apartment left to the university in the will of Professor Ernst Nevanlinna and his wife Ines Nevanlinna in 1963. In accordance with the rules stipulated in the will, the University invites the most deserving academic, a person who provides something truly new and progressive to their scientific discipline, to be the occupant of the apartment.

Tuomas Heikkilä with his family. Photo: Tuomas Heikkiläs archive

Ernst Nevanlinna (1873–1932) had the phenomenal ability to be at the centre of the action. He was a senator during the period of Russian rule, and an activist in the Wiipurilainen student nation, an inspiration to students, a beloved lecturer, one of the founders of both the National Coalition Party and the University of Turku, editor-in-chief of the newspapers Suometar ja Uusi Suomi, member of parliament and in the tempestuous circumstances of 1918 even speaker of the house. He was one of the central forces behind attempts to make Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse king of Finland, and Nevanlinna also appeared as a representative of Finland at numerous international conferences around Europe.

When minister of the interior Heikki Ritavuori was murdered in the Töölö district of Helsinki in 1922, who else ran and apprehended the man than the long-shanked Ernst Nevanlinna. Beginning in the 1910s, he and his wife played host to Helsinki’s most important cultural salon. Aino Kallas characterised the Nevanlinnas’ salon as a true “oasis in the wilderness of Helsinki’s official social life.” In the same spirit, 100 years later Tuomas Heikkilä and Liisa Suvikumpu have strived to make the honorary scholarly home a meeting place for different disciplines.

Photo: Tuomas Heikkiläs archive


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