Dr Ashley Barnwell, (Ashworth Lecturer in Sociology, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia) Research areas: sociological aspects of life writing, narrative, authorship and memory; intergenerational transmission of stories and memories; family histories, relationships, and kinship; post-colonial literature and social experience; classical and contemporary theories of affect and social transmission/contagion; social theories of memory and truth; secrets and truth-telling; emotional vs. verifiable truths. Relevant publications:

“Identity Hoaxes and the Complicity of Social Authorship” – Brian Schiff, Elizabeth McKim & Sylvie Patron (eds), Life and Narrative: The Risks and Responsibilities of Storying Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

“‘Unpacking the Complexities of Authorship’ on This American Life”, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 28 (5), pp. 708–718, 2014.

“The Genealogy Craze: Authoring an Authentic Identity through Family History Research”, Life Writing, 10 (3), pp. 261–275, 2013.


Daniel Blackie is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the History of Science and Ideas at the University of Oulu. His main areas of expertise are disability studies; British and North American social history, 1700–1900; and the history of mining. He has recently finished a book (with David M. Turner) entitled Disability in the Industrial Revolution: Physical impairment in British coalmining, 1780–1880 (forthcoming, Manchester University Press) as part of the Wellcome Trust-funded ‘Disability and Industrial Society’ project. Daniel has also published on disability in early America and his chapter on ‘Disability, Dependency, and the Family in the Early United States’ in Disability Histories received an honourable mention from the Disability History Association’s Publication Award Committee (2015).

His new project uses life-writing sources to explore the meanings of disability in nineteenth-century England through an examination of the life of Edward Rymer, an injured industrial worker and union official.

For updates on Daniel’s work, follow him on Twitter: @daniel_blackie

Jason Finch, Lecturer in English Literature, Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology, Åbo Akademi University. Research areas: E. M. Forster; the literary history of the ‘London slums’; literature, space and place (theory and practice); literary urban studies; London in literature 1800- present; the contribution of literary studies to cultural and historical geography, urban sociology, planning, cultural studies, architecture and design; literary archaeology. His recent publications concerning SELMAs main areas include:

(with Elle-Mari Talivee). 2015. ‘Eduard Vilde and Tallinn’s Dynamic Peripheries, 1858-1903’. In Literature and the Peripheral City, edited by Lieven Ameel, Jason Finch and Markku Salmela, 164-83. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. [storytelling, experientiality and memory in the construction of discourses of the modern city and new national capital]

‘Beckett’s Manywheres’. Literary Geographies 1.1: 7-23.2015. [mental mapping; the experientiality of location]

‘Grotland Explored: The Fleeting Urban Imaginaries of Post-War Inner West London’. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 2.3/2015 : 279-95. [the role of memory and oral history mediated by television documentary, in processes of urban gentrification and transformation]

Contact: See also

Anne Heimo, Dr. Adjunct professor of Folkloristics, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku. She is the chair of the Finnish Oral History Network (FOHN) and co-chair of the European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC) Oral history and Life Stories network. In addition to oral history research and memory studies her research interests include participatory historical culture, online memory practices and diasporic genealogy. Contact:

Her most recent publications include:

Heimo, Anne 2016: Nordic-Baltic oral history on the move. – Oral history 44:2, 37–46.

Heimo, Anne 2016: Socialist Endeavors, Fist Presses and Pen Wars: Literacy practices of early Finnish migrants in Australia. – Ann-Catrine Edlund, Anna Kuismin & Timothy Ashplant (eds.): Reading and Writing from Below: Exploring the Margins of Modernity. Vardagligt skriftbruk. Umeå University & Royal Skyttean Society, 97–113.

Heimo, Anne 2014: The 1918 Finnish Civil War Revisited: The Digital Aftermath. –Anne Heimo, Ene Kõresaar & Pauliina Latvala (eds.): Folklore 57: History, Culture and Selected Pasts, 141–168.

Kaisa Ilmonen, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow in TIAS, Turku Institute for Advanced Studies, and works at the department of Comparative Literature. Her research areas include Caribbean studies, postcolonial studies, queer studies and intersectionality. Currently Ilmonen is particularly interested in narrativity included in theoretical discourse about intersectionality. Few of her publications concerning SELMAs main areas include Caribbean Journeys. Intersections of Female Identity in the Novels of Michelle Cliff. (Annales Turkuensis, 2012), ”Vapaus (post)koloniaalisen modernin myyttinä.” Teoksessa Säännellyt vapaudet: Tulkintoja toiseuden tuottamisesta. Marianne Liljeström ja Marko Gylén (Toim.). UTU-kirjat, 2014), and co-edited book Seeking the Self – Encountering the Other. Diasporic Narrative and Ethics of Representation. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholar’s Publishing (2008). Ilmonen is also interested in storytelling and experientiality in drama and theatre, and she is a member of the board in multiarts group Third Space whose central focus is the internal dialogue between, and an investigation of, the relationship between art and science. Contact:

Riitta Jytilä, Ph.D., researcher in Finnish literature at the University of Turku. Her research focuses on contemporary Finnish trauma fiction and the new forms of memory, in particular its transnational, affective and future-oriented dimensions. She is also interested in normative and moralizing aspects of life narratives, the ways of “othering”, and the politics of speculative imagination. Her most recent publications include:

2017: “Memory as Imagination in Elina Hirvonen’s When I Forgot” Storytelling and Ethics. Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative. Edited by Hanna Meretoja & Colin Davis. London: Routledge. (Forthcoming)

2017: ”Tuho ja toiveikkuuden tarinat Elina Hirvosen romaanissa Kun aika loppuu” Kotimaisen kirjallisuudentutkimuksen vuosikirja Joutsen – Svanen. (Tulossa)

2015: ”Kuvittelun keinoin. Sodasta kertominen ja muistamisen mahdollisuus Katja Ketun romaanissa Kätilö” Nainen kulttuurissa, kulttuuri naisessa. Toim. Viola Capkova, Heidi Grönstrand, Ritva Hapuli & Kati Launis. Turun yliopisto: k&h-kustannus.


Kaisa Kaakinen, Ph.D., works as postdoctoral researcher in Comparative Literature at University of Turku. Her research focuses on intersections of literature, history, literary studies and historiography in the context of historical transitions of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, on 20th and 21st-century literature (especially in German), theories and practices of comparison in comparative literature, transnational and postcolonial studies, memory studies, and biographical forms and documentary strategies in contemporary literature.

Selected Publications:

Comparative Literature and the Historical Imaginary: Reading Conrad, Weiss, Sebald. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

“Melancholy and the Narration of Transnational Trauma in W. G. Sebald and Teju Cole.” In Hanna Meretoja & Colin Davis (eds.): Storytelling and Ethics: Historical Imagination in Contemporary Literature and Visual Arts. Routledge (forthcoming in 2017).

“A Readjustment in Our Bearings. Untimely Reference in Peter Weiss’s The Aesthetics of Resistance.” In: Pirjo Lyytikäinen et al (eds.): Rethinking Mimesis. Concepts and Practices of Literary Representation. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012.

Markus Huss, Kaisa Kaakinen, Jenny Willner (eds.): “Dislocating Literature: Transnational Literature and the Directions of Literary Studies in the Baltic Sea Region.” Theme section in Baltic Worlds. Vol. 5:2, 2012.

Päivi KosonenPhD, literary scholar & bibliotherapist, works as a senior lecturer in comparative literature, bibliotherapy and creative writing mainly at the University of Turku & University of Helsinki. Her research interests lie in the field of autobiographical studies. She has studied modern autobiographical literature (Perec, Duras, Sarraute & Robbe-Grillet) and the genre history of autobiography. She has published a monograph on the autobiographical writing in the antiquity and is currently finalizing a book on the main forms of autobiographical literature during the Middle Ages. As a bibliotherapist she is interested also in the self-care potential of reading  and writing. Her most recent publications include “Modern autobiographical literature & the forms of self-storying” (article written in Finnish; niin&näin, 2016)  and “Creative autobiography. From self-knowledge to the teaching of writing” (written in English; Scriptum 2/2015). Contact:

Susanna Lahtinen, M.A., PhD student at the Department of Cultural History at the University of Turku. Research areas: history of travelling, history of the senses, spatiality, long 18th century and cultural history of the night. In my doctoral thesis I research how British ladies experienced the night and the dark landscape during the long eighteenth century. Contact:

Pauliina Latvala, University lecturer/Docent works at the Department of Cultural Heritage Studies/Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, UCPori/University of Turku. Research areas cover Intangible Cultural Heritage, Oral History, Narrated History, Political narratives and Experiences of Everyday Political Culture, Cultural Heritage Conventions, Heritage Politics, Everyday life, Archived memoirs, Interviews, Memory and Power. Recent publications: Pauliina Latvala 2016 (January): The Use of Narrative Genres inside Oral History Texts. Past Representations of the Finnish Civil War (1918) – Genre -Text -Interpretation. Eds. Frog, Ulla Savolainen & Kaarina Koski. Studia Fennica Folkloristica, SKS, Helsinki. Pauliina Latvala 2013: Kerrottu politiikka. SKS, Helsinki. 2013. Sami Lakomäki, Pauliina Latvala ja Kirsi Lauren (toim.) 2011: Tekstien rajoilla. Monitieteisiä näkökulnmia kirjoitettuihin aineistoihin. SKS, Helsinki.

Maarit Leskelä-Kärki, PhD, Adjunct Professor, works as a University Lecturer at the Department of Cultural History at the University of Turku. She is also the co-director of SELMA. Her main research interests cover cultural history of women’s writing, autobiographical sources and life-narratives as well as biographical research and feminist studies. She has published widely both in Finland and in international publications e.g. on the history of women’s writing, on methodological questions concerning biographical research and autobiographical (particularly epistolary) sources. She has mainly been working with the 19th and early 20th century textual material, but she is currently interested also in life-narrative practices in popular culture, particularly in women artist’s production. Contact: See for publications here.

Hanna Meretoja is Professor of Comparative Literature, director of SELMA, and leader of the research project Ethics of Storytelling and the Experience of History in Contemporary Arts (Emil Aaltonen Foundation, 2013-16) at the University of Turku. Her research interests lie mainly in the fields of narrative studies, cultural memory studies, trauma studies, hermeneutics, and the interrelations between literature, philosophy, and history. Her most recent publications include The Narrative Turn in Fiction and Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), “Narrative and Human Existence: Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethics” (New Literary History, 2014), “Understanding Narrative Hermeneutics” (with Jens Brockmeier, Storyworlds, 2014), and Values of Literature (co-edited, Brill Rodopi, 2015). She is currently finalizing a monograph entitled Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible, which explores the intersections of literary narrative studies, narrative psychology, narrative ethics, and cultural memory studies.

Elina Mikkilä, Dr., free literature-based researcher. Born and raised in Finland. Studied Comparative Literature and Romance studies, as well as Slavic and Scandinavian / English studies in Vienna, Paris and Saint Petersburg. Completed the first German-language PhD in Creative Writing with a meta-literary thesis about today’s autofictional communication process at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Former research fellow at Bern University of the Arts and Freie Universität Berlin. Research interests: Migration literature of culturally bi- or multilingual authors, intercultural hermeneutics and questions of identity. Recently published: “Autor 2.0 – Schreiben ohne feste Identität” (“Author 2.0 – Writing Without Firm Identity”) and “Das Fremde im Eigenen” (“The Other in Ourselves”), both: paraflows/monochrom.

Nena Mocnik holds a PhD from Balkan Studies, University of Ljubljana/Slovenia, and is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at TIAS, Turku Institute of Advanced Studies. Her research interest covers topics of conflict related sexuality and violence, multiculturalism, cultural dialogue, cultural trauma and collective memory, art based research and community theatre. She is the author of the book “Sexuality after War Rape: From Narrative to Embodied Research” (Routledge, 2017), and has published and presented her work worldwide. In 2014, she was a Fulbright visiting researcher at University of Southern California, USA, in 2015 Brown International Advanced Research Institute Fellow (Brown University, Rhode Island, US) and in 2016, the International Centre on Non-Violent Conflict, (Tufts University, Massachusetts, US) Fellow and New Europe College (Bucharest, Romania) Research Fellow. As an applied drama practitioner she focuses on community work and education on the topic of political & mass violence, discrimination, and sexuality. She is also an author of several forum theatre performances on human rights violation and her own monodrama, Canned (slo. Konzervirano).

Sini Mononen is a PhD candidate and art critic at University of Turku, at the department of musicology. Her research interest covers following areas: music and violence studies, representations of violence, cultural studies of music, music and phenomenology, study of contemporary art, study of audiovisual art, film music and sound, the representations of violent experience, trauma studies. Currently she works on her PhD thesis on the sonic representation of the violent experience of stalking in film. She is also an art critic interested in political and socio-culturally critical contemporary art.

Mononen, Sini (2017) Taide ja tarinan poliittisuus [Art and the Politicality of the Story]. IHME-katalogi 2017.

Mononen, Sini (2016) Voiko musiikilla raiskata? Vainoaminen off-screen-raiskauksena ja akusmatisoitu vainoaja-raiskaaja elokuvassa Hirveä kosto. Widerscreen-lehti.

Marjo Nieminen, PhD, University lecturer, Department of Education, University of Turku. Recent publications in the area of life-writing research: Nieminen, Marjo. 2014. Opettajat Turun tyttölyseon kouluhistoriikkien muistelukirjoituksissa. Kasvatus & Aika 8 (4), 36–54 [www-lähde.]

Nieminen, Marjo. 2016. From elite traditions to middle-class cultures: images of secondary education in the anniversary books of a Finnish girls’ school, 1882–2007. Paedagogica Historica 52 (3), 236–251. DOI:10.1080/00309230.2016.1148059


Niina Oisalo, M.A., M.Soc.Sc. works as a Doctoral researcher at Media Studies at the  University of Turku. Her research areas include: Contemporary Nordic documentary film, transcultural/transnational film studies, documentary filmmaking practices as well as politics and representations of migration. Her recent publications include eg. “Kynnyksellä: välitila, ruumiillisuus ja kohtaaminen dokumenttielokuvassa” (“On the Threshold: Liminal space, embodiment and encounter in the Finnish documentary films Ghosts and Neighbours”), Lähikuva 3-4, 2014. Contact: niina.oisalo[at] and see more in Academia edu

Jarkko Oraharju, M.A., PhD student at Cultural Heritage Studies at the University of Turku. Research areas: memory and remembering in culture, arts studies. His current doctoral thesis research is “Poetics of remembering. The meanings of memory and the layers of meanings in the short fiction of Raija Siekkinen”. His research examines the literary texts as a cultural production of inner and personal forms of remembering.
His recent publications: “Jäljistä spiraaliin. Raija Siekkisen lyhytproosatekstien muistimetaforat”. Vaasan yliopiston kääntämisen, erikoisalaviestinnän ja monikielisyyden tutkijayhdistys Vakki Ry:n Symposiumijulkaisu Teksti ja tekstuaalisuus, Vaasan yliopisto 2016. 95–105.
Hitaasti muistin, muistaessani unohdin”. Muistamisen merkityksen rakentuminen Raija Siekkisen novellissa Vieras maa. J@rgonia, vol. 14, nro 27 (2016). Historian ja etnologian laitokset tutkijat ry:n elektroninen julkaisu, 2016. 1–15
”Ei voi unohtaa, ellei muista.” Muistitutkimuksen kysymykset ja Raija Siekkisen lyhytproosatekstit. Avain 1/2016. Kirjallisuudentutkimuksen aikakausilehti. 73 – 77.

Freja Rudels, Postdoctoral researcher, Comparative Literature, Åbo
Akademi University. Her research interests cover contemporary Swedish language fiction, postmodernism and beyond, PerOlov Enquist, Feminist theory, New Materialism, Ethics of narration

1) Rudels, Freja: I berättandets makt. Om tre romankroppar av Per Olov
Enquist [diss.], Åbo Akademis förlag, Åbo 2016:

2) Rudels, Freja: “Monstrous Subjectivity in P. O. Enquist?s
Nedstörtad ängel 1985”, Scandinavian Studies vol. 86, nr 3 2014, s.

Sanna Salanterä, professor of clinical nursing science, PhD, Department of Nursing Science. Research areas: Clinical Nursing Science, Nursing and patient Decision-making, Smart technology in nursing, Pain nursing, Health Service Research, Children’s Nursing, Empowering Patient Education. recent publications concerning SELMAs main areas:

Flinkman M, Salanterä S. 2014. Early career experiences and perceptions – a qualitative exploration of the turnover of young registered nurses and intention to leave the nursing profession in Finland. Journal of Nursing Management.

Salmela M, Aronen ET, Salanterä S. 2011. The experience of hospital-related fears of 4- to 6-year-old children. Child: Care, Health and Development, 37(5):719–726.


Samira Saramo, PhD, Post-doctoral Researcher, John Morton Center, University of Turku. Samira Saramo’s research focuses on the History of Everyday Life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as seen through life writing sources. Using Finnish North Americans as case studies, Saramo explores issues in ethnic, gender, childhood, and family histories, with a keen interest in memory, emotion, identity, and representation. Saramo’s research has examined the letters and memoirs of Finnish Canadians and Americans in 1930s Soviet Karelia and Finnish immigrant women and children in the Canadian Left. Currently, Saramo is beginning a new research project, “Death and Mourning in Finnish North America.” In addition to historical studies, Saramo has also begun to analyze contemporary Canadian feminist and environmental activism, applying life writing analysis to social media narratives. Saramo’s publications include:

“Terveisiä: A Century of Finnish Immigrant Letters” in The Finnish Experience in Canada, edited by Michel Beaulieu, Ronald Harpelle, and David Ratz. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, forthcoming 2015.

“The Letters, Memories, and ‘Truths’ of Finnish North Americans in Soviet Karelia.” Histoire sociale/Social History, 46, 92 (November 2013): 471-495.

“‘One girl who left for Canada’: A Teenaged Immigrants’ Life Seen through Her Letters.” In Letters from an Immigrant Teenager: Letters from Varpu in Canada to Kaisa in Finland, 1963-1965, by Varpu Lindström, 150-161. Beaverton, ON: Aspasia Books, 2012.

Dr Anna Sivula, Professor of Cultural Heritage, University of Turku. My research areas are cultural heritage and historiography. Most important recent publications, concerning SELMAs main areas, are

Anna Sivula (2014): Corporate history culture and the useful industrial past– A case study on history management in Finnish cotton company Porin Puuvilla Oy, Folklore : Electronic Journal of Folklore, ISSN: 1406-0957, Volume 57;

Sivula Anna (2015): Tilaushistoria identiteettityönä ja kulttuuriperintöprosessina, Kulttuuripolitiikan tutkimuksen vuosikirja, ISSN: , Volume 2015.

Anna Sivula / Susanna Siro (2015): The town scale model as an artefact and representation of the past, Finskt Museum, ISSN: 0355-1814, Volume 2013-2015.


Mikko Waltari, photographer MA, studied photography and media arts at Vilnius Academy of Arts in 2011-2017. His earlier career as a sales manager has contributed to the development of narrative in his art, since selling process is comparable to a creative, successful story-telling – branding oneself is an act where facts and fiction come together.

Tracing Europe is Mikko Waltari’s ongoing long-term photography project that maps the social and political development in Europe during the past three decades. The project got inspiration from Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man, where Fukuyama argued that the long battle between various ideologies had ended to the victory of western liberal democracy. In his opinion this might have signalled the endpoint of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. However, the thesis has faced a lot of critique since it’s publication in 1992. The recent changes in the geopolitical situation have led Fukuyama to reshape his formulation.

Contact: mikko.waltari[at]

You can read more on Waltari’s work from his website


Elizabeth Whitney, Ph.D., works as a Fulbright Scholar 2015-2016 at the Department of Media Studies at the University of Turku. Her research is located primarily at intersections of Performance Studies and Gender Studies. Her Fulbright project is an ethnographic collaboration with artists and cultural workers in Finland on the relationship between freedom of expression and arts funding. An open invitation to participate is available on her website as a letter titled, “Dear Artists”. Her recent research project on lyceum lecturer Anna Elizabeth Dickinson traces U.S. histories of public lecture as performance, and explores failure and queer identity in Dickinson’s life. Recent publications include: “Queer Longing, Queer Failure: A Performative Lecture on Anna Elizabeth Dickinson.” Text and Performance Quarterly. 35.4 (2015): 286-304. She has given several invited quest lectures on Dickinson (Villanova University, Eastern Performance Festival, Emerson College, Women Performing Feminisms, Monmouth University, Art Now Series)