In English

The Living Suomenlinna project aims to map the relationships of local residents and agents to contemporary changes in Suomenlinna. In 1991, Suomenlinna was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, as a unique monument of military architecture.

The research project aims to develop a longitudinal ethnographic study from the viewpoints of cultural heritage studies and landscape studies. In the fieldwork period, the project focuses on official and unofficial heritage processes and its representations after 1991. Although the research focuses on the last 25 years after the UNESCO nomination, the themes of narration will touch upon the history of Suomenlinna and, more generally, the different layers of memories in archipelago communities and marine environments.

The research is conducted as a part of Cultural Production and Landscape Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at Turku University. The research is funded by Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Jutikkala Fund, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Helsinki Tourism Foundation in 2017-2019.


Oona Simolin attended the International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Roads organized by UNESCO and National Commission of People’s Republic of China for UNESCO from 31 March to 6 April 2019.

Niina Naarminen and Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti attended the International Oral History Association (IOHA) conference ”Memory & Narration” in the University of Jyväskylä 18–21.6.2018 by co-presenting a poster with doc. Riina Haanpää (Living with Cultural Heritage, ”LiviHeri”-Project in Rauma.)

Keynote at the Nordic World Heritage Conference in Rauma 12.9.2017 with doc. Riina Haanpää: Living in the World Heritage Sites in Finland: Cases Old Rauma and Suomenlinna.

Oona Simolin attended Europa Nostra Serbian Managing Historic Urban Landscapes –summer school in Serbia Novi Sad 6.-13.8.2018 and Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Tourism Implications and Dilemmas –conference in Norway, Alta 24.-26.9.2018.

20170421_Suokki_Pauliina Latvala

Research team

Pauliina Engelissä 2017

Head of the Living Suomenlinna research, Doc. Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti ( studies people’s place attachment and meanings of locality: how communities, stakeholders and heritage officials reflect the change(s) and continuities of the Suomenlinna islands and its mindscapes concerning the last decades, as well as the ideas for the future Suomenlinna. In addition, the use of history in heritage-ization will be one of her special interests.

Latvala-Harvilahti is an adjunct professor/docent in Cultural Heritage Studies at the University of Turku and in Folklore Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Among other themes, her areas of interest include oral history, heritage politics and heritage conventions, heritage communities and local level everyday culture, fieldwork methodology and representations of the past(s) and futures.

She has published monographs and articles in Finnish, English and Estonian. In 2019, she is based in the Research Department of the Finnish Literature Society and affiliated with Åbo Akademi’s research project ”Climate Knowledge and the Baltic Sea”. She has been a visiting scholar at the Finland Futures Research Centre and worked as a university lecturer in Cultural Heritage Studies at the University of Turku (2015-2017).

Niina Engelissä 2017

In her post-doc research, Niina Naarminen ( examines the meanings of a dry dock by analyzing cultural heritage processes and agency of representations of the dock and its surroundings. Naarminen have conducted oral history interviews paying special attention to personal recollections and experiences related to industrial heritage.


Laura Seesmeri (, researcher in the field of landscape studies (The University of Turku) will join the research team in January  2019.


Oona Simolin (M.A., is a doctoral student working on her dissertation in the Programme for History and Cultural Heritage in the University of Helsinki. In her research, Oona compares three Unesco World Heritage sites – Suomenlinna Fortress in Helsinki, Historic Centre of Tallinn and Hanseatic Town of Visby – and how visitors’ emotions are managed and how place attachment is connected to international tourism. Tour planners and guides are interview to gain understanding about the managerial process. Moreover, the study examines the emotional reactions of the international visitors.

The Project hires trainees and collaborates with the students whenever possible. University courses have been organized both in the field and classroom. In both cases the objective is that the students gain information on the nature of the cultural heritage research and have a possibility to participate in the research by planning and actualizing the research in its various phases.

This webpage has been created by students Petra Nikula and Emilia Merisalo (The University of Turku). Many thanks to them!

Participatory research

Overall the project produces around 50-60 interviews.

Fieldwork includes: theme interviews; oral history interviews; observations; group discussions; (an) online survey/s; and personal recollections from former and present Suomenlinna residents in (a designated) Facebook group, notes, photographs, geospatial data collected by a digital application.and the study of archival materials.

Additional information:


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