Life at the Collegium

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies provides its fellows excellent facilities to pursue their research in an intellectually stimulating and encouraging environment. The fellows have their offices in a peaceful yet centrally located building, which also houses the Collegium's Common Room, the center of various HCAS activities such as symposia, weekly seminars and coffee breaks.

For a number of reasons, the Collegium is a place that incites discussion and chat. Maybe it’s the comfy sofas of the common room, maybe it’s the particular nature of its inhabitants – a confederacy of rogues who have chosen to leave the comforts of their departments and warmer climes for a while.  (Josephine Hoegaerts, HCAS Core fellow 2015-2017)

The weekly Fellows’ Seminar (Tuesdays 10:15am - 12pm) is the core of academic activities at HCAS. The seminar presentations give fellows the opportunity not only to present their ongoing research project to other fellows but also to initiate an interdisciplinary conversation on methods, concepts and the theoretical premises of the project. We encourage fellows to present work in progress and to use the presentation as a chance to discuss a challenge they are currently tackling.

At the beginning of the academic year, new fellows are also invited to give shorter presentations of their research projects to the HCAS community.

The HCAS usually hosts two official symposia in the fall and two in the spring. The symposia are interdisciplinary as well as international in nature, and they give fellows the opportunity both to cooperate with each other and to invite other University of Helsinki researchers to participate as co-organizers, speakers, session chairs and audience. The HCAS symposia receive funding as well as organizational support from the HCAS.

In addition, the fellows may organize workshops as well as different kinds of small meetings on an ad hoc principle. They are also encouraged to develop other forms of cooperation such as reading groups and to reserve rooms at HCAS for this purpose.

The core fellows should be present at the Collegium 80% of the time of their employment at the HCAS. In addition to focusing on their individual research projects, the fellows are expected to attend the weekly seminar meetings. The weekly seminar is the most important official forum for interdisciplinary exchange at the HCAS, and each fellow gives at least one presentation at the seminar during the academic year.

Fellows are also expected to report their publications at the University of Helsinki TUHAT database and to mention their HCAS affiliation in publications, conferences and media appearances.

Core fellows have a 5% teaching requirement from the second year onward. The teaching is conducted within the faculties of the University of Helsinki. The fellows may also participate in the organization of the annual HCAS Winter School for doctoral students.

The HCAS strives to be a scholarly community in which fellows meet on a regular basis and have plenty of opportunities to delve into conversation also outside the weekly seminar program. We meet regularly for informal coffee breaks that fellows are encouraged to attend when they suit their own schedule. The academic year begins with a field day outside the Collegium premises and ends with a spring outing. We also organize receptions after seminars, informal get-togethers among fellows and gatherings open to family members. Fellows are encouraged to use the Collegium spaces and internal communication channels to organize social meetings outside the official Collegium program. 

All our fellows have their offices in the Collegium building (Fabianinkatu 24) next to the main libraries of the University of Helsinki and at the heart of the central campus. The rooms are equipped with a computer, an office mobile phone, a desk and a chair, book shelves and a closet.

The HCAS fellows can reserve the rooms at HCAS for various events linked to their research. The larger events are held at the Common Room, which is a convenient lounge-like space suitable both to seminar sessions and to lunches and post-conference receptions. The Common Room includes a kitchen, a dining table corner as well as an armchair area for coffee gatherings or quiet reading. The seminar space of the Common Room is equipped with contemporary conference technology, which enables live streaming and recording of events.

We also have a meeting room suitable for smaller seminars, meetings and skype conferences.

The academic year at HCAS begins at the beginning of September with an orientation week, during which new fellows are introduced to practices at the Collegium and to the University of Helsinki. The weekly seminar runs until mid-December and resumes in mid-January. The weekly seminars end in mid-May, but May and early June are often busy times at HCAS because of various conferences and symposia. The office is closed part of July due to staff vacations.