Last Anniversary Celebration of the Institute for Advanced Social Research, IASR: Johanna Vuorelma on Academic Freedom at the IASR

My term as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the IASR has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my academic life. This is because the institute truly offers a space for academic freedom. I have been able to develop my research in ways that would not have been possible with the usual administrative and teaching responsibilities that come with typical academic posts. At the IASR one gets to experience academic life at its best.

Firstly, there is the brilliant scholarly community that offers intellectual stimulation, collegial support, and a sense of academic community that transcends disciplinary, national, and linguistic boundaries. Secondly, one is not under pressure to follow research paths and limitations set out by others, which opens possibilities to genuinely increase knowledge in various scholarly fields.

Thirdly, fellows at the IASR are encouraged to share their research more widely, which means that the institute is not a closed community but interacts with the surrounding society in various ways. This includes regular public lectures, frequent contributions in the media, international visits to the institute by scholars from other universities as well as visits by the IASR fellows to meet with scholars abroad.

Tampere University has greatly benefited from having a highly regarded institute for advanced social research as part of the university, representing values that are necessary for a first-class academic institution: academic freedom, institutional autonomy, collegiality, and social responsibility. It is a significant loss to Tampere University if it decides to voluntarily abolish the IASR.