Ari Hirvonen (1960-2021)

This is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write.

Yesterday evening my beloved friend and cherished colleague Ari passed away. The emotions are still too raw to be eulogised into anything meaningful. But for those of you with whom we have stayed in touch through these digitised media, especially over the last few years, hopefully this short message will be enough for now.

Ari slept away peacefully with his loved ones by his side. He had battled with ill health for longer than most of us had realised. During his final days, Ari was generous enough to receive friends. He may have drifted in and out of consciousness, but during his better moments, he would clearly acknowledge our presence, maybe mumble a word or two, and smile faintly.

He will be so deeply missed.

Visualising academic work

The postscript to my earlier post on Peter Fitzpatrick reminded me of something that has been going on for quite a while now. When I was working for the Finnish Institute in London, I had a full set of design tools available on my desktop by default. And so I familiarised myself with the basics of image manipulation, graphic design, desktop publishing and web design. I don’t think that I really thought I would have any use for those autodidactically acquired skills later on, and in all truth, whatever I may have since done, has never had any utilitarian value. It has simply given me pleasure. And I’ve been grateful to my ‘clients’ who have allowed me to indulge myself and have been kind enough not to complain too much. Continue reading “Visualising academic work”

Tracing a friendship

In early January, I received an email from Shelby Fitzpatrick on a mailing list including Peter Fitzpatrick’s friends and colleagues. Peter was ill, and apparently there wasn’t much time left. Shelby asked for ‘thoughts and recollections; anything you feel like sharing would be a great boost to us’. The aim is to bring together facets of Peter’s life-long dedication to the academy and to document personal connections. Perhaps I should have done this earlier. But for whatever it’s worth.

Continue reading “Tracing a friendship”

A new commitment

Well, more than a year has passed since my last post. It’s not as if nothing has happened. In addition to the usual teaching-related excuses, I can confidently say that I’ve kept writing, little by little, added seemingly connected bits and bobs into my Scrivener projects. But I should have developed those ideas here too, if only to somehow reframe my (occasionally) inaccessible formulations into something that at least resembles plain English. That was, after all, my original motivation. Continue reading “A new commitment”

Universities and managerialism

After the events at the University of Helsinki in 2015/16, one new role that I took on was shop steward (well, deputy) for my union. Like a few other professorial colleagues from other Faculties that I’ve met, I cut down on other ‘useless’ administrative work to devote time to union activities because I was shocked by how crudely the redundancies, as necessary as they may have been, were put into practice. The activities that this role involves have given me a vantage point from which to observe labour relations at the University. In addition, membership in the University’s Equality Committee complements these observations. Continue reading “Universities and managerialism”

The photo

Fishing boat in Norway.
Atløy, Norway. Photo: PM

Too many questions about the default header image of this particular WordPress theme (the cactus-like plant). So I quickly found something presentable from my archives. The photo that’s there in place now was taken on the island of Atløy in Norway some two hours on a fast boat north of Bergen. Continue reading “The photo”

Sort of a newbie

I can’t really claim to be a newbie to blogging. In addition to this personal site, I manage several others, as well. One is dedicated to my teaching, another to the research project that I co-direct with colleagues from Sweden. During the course of this year, I’ve opened two further WordPress sites. One marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Roland Barthes’s Mythologies that I translated into Finnish quite some time ago, and the most recent one, still under construction, is an attempt to initiate a socio-legal agenda at the Faculty. In addition, I am webmaster for the site of the Finnish national section of the IVR. So plenty of sites, all on the WordPress platform (and a few dormant Tumblr sites, as well). Continue reading “Sort of a newbie”