Working with Orality: Interviewing as a Methodology of Memory Studies
with Ulla Savolainen

Tuesday, May 3, 2-4pm in IG 251

In the workshop, folklorist Dr Ulla Savolainen will introduce interviewing as a methodology for memory studies. Giving examples from her current research project, she will discuss interviewing techniques and speak about the peculiarities of oral history interviews and knowledge production. The workshop is meant as a cross-disciplinary exchange, also aimed at scholars working in the field of memory studies, but who are unfamiliar with the process of conducting interviews and analyzing the data.

The workshop will include the following presentations:

Ulla Savolainen (Helsinki): “Oral History Interviews: Peculiarities, Practices and Knowledge Production”

John Njenga Karugia (Frankfurt/AFRASO): “Afrasian Memory Interviews: Complexities in Afrasian Spaces”

Pavan Kumar Malreddy (Frankfurt, New English Literatures): “Interviewer and the Interlocutor: Reflections on Fieldwork in the Bastar Region of India”

Sophie Opitz (Frankfurt, Art Education): “Picture-Centred Crossmapping and the Integration of the Artist Interview into Image Analysis”

Ulla Savolainen is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki in the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies. She holds a PhD in Folklore Studies (University of Helsinki, 2015). Her research interests include oral history and memory studies; folklore; narrative theory; vernacular literature; relationship of memory and narrative with space, place, matter and body; and experiences of migration, diaspora and transnationality. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the life writings of former Karelian child evacuees in Finland and the poetics of life writings and reminiscing as a genre of vernacular expression. Ulla Savolainen’s current ongoing work is oral history research on the internment, and its aftermath, of German and Hungarian citizens during 1944–1946 in Finland, following the war with the Soviet Union. The research explores memories and narratives of individuals who were minors during the internment, analyzing issues relating to silence, agency and nationality on a personal and societal level. Ulla Savolainen’s research is part of the multidisciplinary and international research project entitled Livingmemories: Living together with difficult memories and diverse identities, funded by ‘ERA.NET Plus with Russia’ and coordinated by the University of Helsinki.

Everybody welcome! We are looking forward to interdisciplinary exchange. Please sign up for this workshop via erll[at]