Newsletter of the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities 02/2020

HSSH has effectively launched its core operations.

The HSSH – or Hessu, as it is also known – has now been operating for close to a year. Its core operations have been effectively launched although the coronavirus epidemic has made it difficult to organise institute-wide events. The aim for this autumn is to introduce HSSH’s operations more widely to scholars on the City Centre Campus. Best wishes for the autumn term!

Hannu Nieminen, director of the HSSH

1) HSSH organizes Brown Bag Lunches every other Tuesday

The first multidisciplinary HSSH Brown Bag Lunch will be organised on Tuesday, 29 September, at 14.15.

Mikko Tolonen, associate professor of digital humanities at the University of Helsinki, will provide an introduction to the use of digital methods in the investigation and use of historical data. Due to his background, Tolonen will give examples that focus on historical research, but his talk will apply more generally to research in the humanities and social sciences. Tolonen’s short talk will be followed by 40–60 minutes of informal discussion.

The first lunch will take place on Zoom, but face-to-face meetings will be organised in the future if the coronavirus situation allows. The BB lunches are open to everyone, and we hope to attract participants from all the faculties and units on the City Centre Campus.

Please join the Zoom event!

For the autumn BB timetable, please see our website.

2) New Research Culture lecture series begins on 9 November

The HSSH will arrange an event on Monday, 9 November, from 13.00 to 15.00, to discuss the latest research and multidisciplinary activities in the humanities and social sciences. This lecture, entitled New Research Culture, will be organised on the Stage venue at Think Corner and can be followed remotely on UniTube.

The keynote speaker will be Kirsten Drotner, professor of media studies at the University of Southern Denmark. Drotner has led several crossdisciplinary research projects and is one of Europe’s leading specialists in the SSH field. Her research topics have included media audiences, digital learning and museum communication. For further information on Drotner’s research, please see the research portal.

After the keynote address, the discussion will continue with Sarah Green, professor of social and cultural anthropology at the University of Helsinki, Risto Saarinen, professor of systematic theology at the University of Helsinki, and Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean at the Faculty of Law.

The event opens the HSSH lecture series focusing on the promotion of multidisciplinary activities and a new research culture in the humanities and social sciences.

3) Research infrastructures in the social sciences and humanities are insufficient

There is an evident need for developing the local research infrastructure in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) at the University of Helsinki. Currently, for example, the purchase, upkeep, storage and use of physical research equipment remain the responsibility of individual research projects. The lack of coordination results in overlapping purchases, missing equipment, and poor condition of devices. These and other deficiencies become visible in the report published by the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities.

The proliferation of digital resources and tools, combined with the movement towards open science, is profoundly changing the environment in which the SSH operate. Research is increasingly based on multiple empirical source materials and new computational and mixed methods, and data are collected and used in heterogeneous research constellations. However, the results of the survey show that these developments have not permeated the practices of SSH fields as much as they could.

The report on the survey results launches a new publication series, HSSH Reports and Working Papers. The publication series is aimed at research reports, working papers and other scientific writings intended for interdisciplinary audience across humanities, social sciences, educational sciences, law and/or theology.

Read more results of the report from news page.

The report is available on HSSH website.

4) HSSH as one of the spearheads in the new UH strategic plan

HSSH – Intersections of People, Institutions and Technology is one of the University of Helsinki’s three PROFI 6 projects. The project aims to develop a new culture of multidisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Helsinki by supporting institutional, infrastructural and multidisciplinary understanding of the phenomenon of datafication. The project is connected to the University’s strategic theme ‘A humane and fair world’. Decisions on PROFI 6 projects are expected in late 2020 or early 2021.

5) Small equipment lending library helps with data collection

The City Centre Campus has a small research equipment lending library that provides video cameras and sound recorders (including peripherals such as stands and microphones) on loan for data collection purposes.