Steering group

Suvi Salmenniemi, chair of the steering group (Professor of Sociology, Department of Social Research, University of Turku) works as professor of sociology at the Department of Social Research, University of Turku. Her fields of interest include political sociology; therapeutic culture and wellbeing; critical social theory; cultural studies; feminist research; ethnography; and socialism and post-socialism. Suvi has studied political activism, women’s movement and civil society development in Russia, neoliberalism in post-socialism, and consumption of self-help literature in Finland and Russia. She has recently completed a long-term ethnographic research that looks at the ways in which people engage with complementary and alternative medicine, alternative spiritualities and self-improvement, and the political dimensions these engagements involve. She is currently studying political imagination, everyday utopian practices and spaces, and visions for alternative futures. Suvi has been involved in KULTVA since its inception and is chairing KULTVA’s board. She loves fiction and football.

Tuire Niinimäki-Silva (PhD candidate, Department of Social research, Social work). Her doctoral research focuses on family reunification and family migrants’ experiences of integration and belonging after the family is reunited in Finland.   Her research interests include ethnography as methodology, migration and refugees from many different aspects, particularly migrant family relations and generations, as well as critical approaches to the concept of integration.

Iida Kukkonen (PhD student, Unit of Economic Sociology, Department of Social Research, University of Turku) Kukkonen’s research interests revolve around physical appearance -related inequalities, gender, consumption and social media, and in her PhD thesis she uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods to study gendered physical appearance -related inequalities in working life. She loves both learning and teaching, and believes KULTVA is on an important mission to cultivate the values of critical thinking, curiousity and caring in our scholarly communities. Iida is into exotic houseplants and pizza.

Henri Koskinen (Doctoral candidate, Department of Social Research (sociology), University of Turku) is currently working on his PhD thesis, titled “Towards Startup-Finland? The shifting meanings of entrepreneurship in post-industrial Finland”. In his research, he examines the discursive formulations of entrepreneurship in the discourses of Finnish politics, higher education and startup entrepreneurship in the framework of post-industrial labor and knowledge-based economy. His research interests include sociology of work and citizenship, postindustrial labor and political sociology.

Elina Sutela (PhD candidate, Department of Social Research, Social policy). Elina’s research focuses on urban inequalities. In her doctoral thesis she analyses housing affordability in Finnish cities: how it is defined, how it can be measured and what policies are used locally and nationally to alleviate affordability problems. She is also doing research on residential segregation policies. Currently, she is affiliated with the SMARTLAND research project (Academy of Finland, Strategic Research Council) that develops land use policies supporting socially, economically and environmentally sustainable urban planning. She is also participating in a project called Communities and students together (CaST) (Erasmus+ Programme). This project asks how universities can better facilitate community-based engaged learning i.e. how research community and students can have an impact on societal challenges and support co-production of knowledge.

You can follow Elina on Twitter and on Instagram

Emma Lamberg, network coordinator (PhD student, Department of Social research, sociology, University of Turku). Lamberg’s research interests include: working life, ethnography, feminist studies and political sociology and qualitative research of inequality. In her doctoral research, Lamberg examines young women’s pathways from education to the labour market in Finland in times of austerity. Drawing from ethnographical fieldwork and interviews with students in the fields of media and healthcare, Lamberg asks how young women seek to find their place in the labour market and how classed, gendered and ethnicised inequalities shape what they see possible for themselves. Contact:


Elina Laine (university teacher, doctoral student, Department of Social Research, social work). Throughout her studies, she has focused on questions regarding gender, equality, global social work and pedagogical studies. Her research interests include ecosocial social work, gender studies and girl studies. In her ongoing dissertation, she is interested in the significance of gender in social work in Tanzania. She is looking forward to join Kultva’s activities!

Arttu Saarinen (Assistant professor and university teacher Department of Social Research, Economic sociology)  Saarinen’s research interests cover social and health policy, markets, network studies, politics, media, and well-being, with a current focus on political parties in Finland. I am passionate about teaching and have won several awards, including best lecturer at the faculty. I am also very interested about popularizing science and belong to the editorial board of At the moment I am writing a nonfiction book on the political polarization in Finland. Twitterissä

Hanna Ylöstalo is a researcher, teacher and a feminist activist. She works as a senior lecturer in sociology at the Department of Social Research, University of Turku. Her research interests lie in the fields of feminist political economy, political sociology and gender equality research. Her current research is concerned with recent shifts in public governance and knowledge-policy relations as well as their influence on gender equality policy and feminist politics. For Ylöstalo, KULTVA is an inspirational research community that brings together researchers and students from different disciplines and engages the general public to academic discussions. KULTVA also addresses the many ways in which academic research can be transformative and how research and theories can be used in order to build more just societies. Ylöstalo lives in Tampere and loves its many public saunas, as well as sports such as dancing, swimming, gym and running.