By Oona Simolin, Department of Cultures
In the end of January, I got to know that I will receive a one-year grant for my doctoral research from the Finnish Cultural Foundation central fund. The foundation receives thousands of high-quality applications, so I am honoured to receive funding for my PhD.
My grant period starts in March 2019 and lasts for 12 months. In my PhD project, I am interested in guided tours organised in three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In other words, I am interested in the heritage interpretation delivered in these sites. Narration, stories and history, communicational methods and interaction create a set of emotional, educational and experiential elements that ultimately form the heritage experience. My main questions are: What kind of emotions, meanings and interpretations do guided tours suggest to the participants? How do the participants actually feel during and after the tour, and how do they understand the significance of the site?
To find answers, I have already collected some materials in Suomenlinna Fortress. During spring 2019, you will find me observing even more guided tours and interviewing tour participants. To capture different sides of the tours, my materials include also photos and location data. Finishing the article on Suomenlinna is my first big milestone this year, but I will also move on to my next research site, Tallinn Old Town. I am really looking forward how the Northern European history is told on the other side of the bay!
After quite many grant applications, I am thrilled to focus only on heritage research for some time. I also hope that each grant is a sign that heritage studies is becoming more recognized and that even more heritage researchers are lucky to find funding in the future.