Professor of Cultural Studies Helmi Järviluoma at the University of Eastern Finland holds an ERC Advanced Grant (1.9 million euros, 2016–2021) to investigate sensory environments, transgenerational environmental relationships and changes thereto.
The five-year Sensory Transformations and Transgenerational Environmental Relationships in Europe, 1950–2020(SENSOTRA) project led by Professor Järviluoma produces new understandings of changes in people’s sensory environmental relationships in Europe between 1950 and 2020. The project explores transformations in sensory environmental relationships as experienced by residents of three medium-sized European cities. The project is interdisciplinary, and it involves researchers from four EU countries. Among the methods used are sensobiographic walks and sensobiographic interviews.
“The research is urgent, because at present we are still able to ethnographically study people who were born in the 1930s and 1940s, i.e. people who lived their early years before the era of computers and other digital technologies. On the other hand, the project also focuses on generations born straight into the digital world, where there are new kinds of challenges to maintain a many-faceted relationship with their environments,” Professor Järviluoma says.
The project also involves collaboration with artists representing a variety of different fields. The field’s most extensive empirical study so far will be carried out in three medium-sized European cities: Brighton (UK), Ljubljana (Slovenia), and Turku (Finland).
The receipt of an ERC Advanced Grant speaks volumes about the extremely high scientific level of this research within the international sphere. Only two other Finnish researchers in the field of the humanities have received similar funding before.