Community Relations Prize, Thank You Speech

[This speech was presented on December 14, 2022 at the info session of the Faculty of Forestry and Agriculture, Helsinki University]

Good morning everyone, 

[I was instructed to keep it very short, so I prepared a very short thank you speech, probably the shortest that I’ve written] 

Hence, I can’t say I’m speechless, —  but I was, when I received the information about this prize.  I want to thank you all who influenced this fortunate incidence: I am truly honoured and super happy to receive this recognition of my work. 

I have been taking an active part in societal discussions throughout my entire academic career. When I was asked, at an event, why researchers should communicate about their own work, the answer was self-evident to me: after all, the University has three main tasks, and community relations is one of them — alongside research and education. However, I have found that these tasks are not always valued equally by researchers or scientific communities. I am glad that the prizes distributed today tell a different story at the institutional level. 

Communicating about one’s own research is not always easy; it requires time and skills, and it may also put a researcher under a threat to various attacks due to unpleasant research results, or opinions. 

However, I find research communication and popularization important and meaningful. As academic publications often remain inside a small circle, other medium for publishing allows to reach a wider audience and tell about ongoing research, and make some of the research practices as well as the research phenomenon visible. In fact, alongside policy makers and broader public, some of the most important groups to whom I communicate my research are scholars in other fields that wouldn’t otherwise read my academic publications. But most importantly, I communicate about my research to the people whose work I study, namely: regenerative farmers, gardeners, land managers, soil workers, and diverse food communities. 

The times we’re living in are challenging: we’re living in the era of multiple crises and this also impacts research practice. I am personally concerned about the fragmentation of attention that is happening in our societies. While increased competition over attention seems to direct us to do more and more, and be present in every new social media channel at the same time, I have decided to refocus my energy with a guiding slogan that — ”less is more”. 

This is why I am extremely happy to announce that the Untame podcast that I launched this year with a colleague of mine will continue with a second season, which will be funded by Helsus, and broadcasted the next year. The second season will be about untamed science: we will be making visible diverse processes of knowledge production, and examine the role of humans within more-than-human worlds of knowledges, so please, do stay tuned! 

More will follow.

Thank you!      

Maatalous-metsätieteellisessä tiedekunnassa jaettiin tutkimuksen, opetuksen ja yhteiskunnallisen vaikuttavuuden palkinnot 14.12.2022

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