Creating history: Finnish Death Studies Association

On Monday the 28th history was made by me and some colleagues in Vanhan Kuppila Helsinki: the Finnish Death Studies Association (Suomalaisen kuolemantutkimuksen seura in Finnish) was founded. During the process of organizing our Death and Identity -seminar in May, we realized that there is a hole in the Finnish death studies field. Researchers and professionals are not aware of each others and their work, which sometimes leads to “inventing the wheel again” (as Ilona Kemppainen puts it), or doing research almost blindfolded.

I’m very hopeful with this association and the people in it. I was appointed with the honor of being the secretary of the association and I’m also responsible of our (newborn) website http://kuolemantutkimus.wordpress.com/. (This gives me an excellent possibility to improve my internet skillz, which I’m really excited about!) Currently the website is mainly in Finnish, but we’re trying to provide all the info possible in Swedish and English as well.

When I started studying death and dying in 2007 as a master’s student, it seemed that nothing had happened since the beginning of 1990’s. Finding studies and contemporary publications wasn’t easy, although they existed, which frustrated me as a student and as a researcher-to-be. Also, as we realized with in Aalborg last November, Sweden, Norway and Denmark seem to be way ahead of us in networking the researchers and professionals of this field. Interdisciplinary seems to be the word of today and this is also what we are trying to do with the association. To provide, create and uphold knowledge.

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