SENSOTRA members

Principal investigator Dr Helmi Järviluoma

PI Dr Helmi Järviluoma is a Professor of Cultural Studies in the University of Eastern Finland (Joensuu). As a sound, music, and cultural scholar with a firm international reputation, she has throughout her career been a passionate promoter of scholarly communities both internationally and nationally. During last 10 years she has had leadership roles in four major global networks. Prof. Järviluoma has published over 170 articles, books and edited collections with the  focus on soundscape studies. She has headed large international  projects on European Acoustic Environments in Change (funded by the Academy of Finland). The project she was heading 2003—2006, One Hundred Finnish Soundscapes won the Aesthetic Act of the Year 2006 award. She has also authored, directed, and/or translated six radio features for YLE1 Radioateljee (2005—2016) and published a collection of short stories (2016).​

Dr Lesley Murray

Dr Lesley Murray is a Principal Lecturer in Social Science at the University of Brighton, teaching across the sociology programme and on research methods at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Lesley is an experienced researcher with a track record in commissioning and managing research and in successfully bidding for research projects. She recently led a work package (£238,000) of a RCUK Energy Programme funded research project, which aimed to understand urban mobility practices through the lens of disruption. Lesley has over 20 years’ experience in urban mobilities research in academia and government, having worked as a transport researcher for the London Research Centre, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London, commissioning research on a range of issues. Lesley completed a PhD in 2007 through an ESRC studentship, followed by an ESRC-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Brighton.

Lesley’s research interests centre on urban mobilities and she has published extensively in this field, including on gendered and generational mobilities, the intersections between mobile and visual methods and urban mobile spaces.

Prof. Rajko Muršič

Prof. Rajko Muršič (b. 1963), University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Dept. of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. He published seven monographs (all in Slovene), among them monographs on punk rock group CZD, rock club in Trate and underground music and youth centres in Slovenia. He co-edited nine edited volumes (six in English). His professional interests and teaching, comprise anthropology of popular music; theories of culture; epistemology, urban anthropology, methodology of anthropological research, kinship studies, heritage studies, anthropology of space and place, etc. His regional interests comprise Slovenia, Central and South-Eastern Europe, global streams in popular culture (fieldwork in Slovenia, Poland, Macedonia, Germany and Japan).

Research project (principal researcher): Engaged Past: Social-Anthropological Analysis of Transformations of Popular Music in the Area of former Yugoslavia (2013-2016).

Prof. Laura Formenti (b. 1961), PhD, University of Milano Bicocca, Italy; Dept. of Human Sciences for Education. After a degree in Psychology and Specialization in Systemic Family Therapy, she got a PhD in Pedagogy on Adult Education, centered on autobiographic methods. She teaches General and Social Pedagogy and coordinates the international interdisciplinary PhD Program "Education in Contemporary Society".
She is Chair of ESREA (European Society for Research on the Education of Adults), joint Convener of the European "Life History and Biography" Research Network, and member of the Steering Committee of national and international scientific societies (RUIAP, ASSIMSS, CBLL). 

Her research interests focus on the complex, entangled epistemology and hermeneutics of adult learning and education, using aesthetic and co-operative research methods, along with critical and narrative pedagogy, to illuminate processes of individual and collective learning, especially in non formal settings, everyday life, and relationships; she looks at these processes as systemic and complex phenomena, embodied and embedded in material/symbolic contexts (such as family, organization, community, territory, society). 
She is the author of more that 100 publications, mostly in Italian, but also in English, French, Brazilian Portuguese. She recently published, in English: Embodied Narratives (Southern Denmark University, 2014, edited with L. West and M. Horsdal) and Stories that Make a Difference (Pensa, 2016, edited with L. West), and a monograph in Italian: Formazione e trasformazione. Un modello complesso (Raffaello Cortina, 2017). 


PostDoc Milla Tiainen

Researcher Milla Tiainen completed her PhD at the University of Turku, Finland, with a dissertation that earned her the annual PhD thesis award of the Turku University Foundation. She currently works as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Musicology at the University of Helsinki. Milla has previously worked as Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication Studies at Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge, UK) and as postdoctoral researcher in the Academy of Finland-funded project “Deleuzian Music Research” (2012 –2016).

Milla's research interests span contemporary forms of musical performance; performances and performativity of the voice in today's arts and media cultures; new and digital media with a specific focus on sound and music; theories of affect and body–environment relationships (e.g. the notion of trans-corporeality); and environmentalist and non-anthropocentric thinking in the humanities. She is the author of Säveltäjän sijainnit ('Locating the Composer', Jyväskylä Research Centre for Contemporary Culture 2005) and Becoming-Singer: Cartographies of Singing, Music-Making and Opera (University of Turku 2012). She is additionally co-editor of Musiikin ja teatterin tekijöitä ('Reconfiguring Authorship in Music and Theatre', Finnish Musicological Society 2005) and Musical Encounters with Deleuze and Guattari (forthcoming from Bloomsbury in January 2017). Milla has published widely in international edited collections and in peer-reviewed journals such as Body&Society, Cultural Studies Review, and NECSUS - European Journal of Media Studies. She recently co-edited a special issue for Cultural Studies Review (21: 2 [2015]) on new materialist approaches to arts and culture. Her monograph on opera performance practices and process thinking is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press.           

Milla is a founding member of the COST/EU-funded research action “New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on How 'Matter Comes to Matter?'” (IS1307, 2014–2018). Together with Prof. Marie-Luise Angerer (University of Potsdam) and Dr. Katve-Kaisa Kontturi (The University of Melbourne), she co-leads the action's working group titled “New Materialisms Embracing the Creative Arts”.

PostDoc Juhana Venäläinen

Juhana Venäläinen is a postdoctoral researcher in Cultural Studies at the University of Eastern Finland. His key research interests revolve around rethinking the interlinkages and fractures between the domains of "the cultural" and "the economic". In his doctoral thesis (2015), he explored the potentials in the concept of “the commons” in understanding the value-creating processes of the contemporary capitalism, with case studies ranging from soundscape tourism to fashion theory and the affective economies of googling. Lately, he has worked with projects on the materiality of data and the politics of ridesharing.

In SENSOTRA, Venäläinen will focus on the research strand "Sensory commons", having the aim of challenging the often individualist ontology of sensing from more relational, processual and historically specific perspectives, also highlighting the technology-mediated aspects in constituting the common sensescapes. Venäläinen has co-edited volumes on precarity, affect studies, and the cultural economy. His research articles has gained awards such as "Vuoden tiedekynä 2016" ("Academic pen of the year", for the best Finnish article in social sciences in 2013–2015, together with Tero Toivanen) and "Best article of the year" (in Oikeus journal, 2011). He is active in academic societies such as the Finnish Society for Political Economy Research and Tutkijaliitto (Researchers' Union), and also is a member of the COST-funded European New Materialism network (


Ph.L. Inkeri Aula


Ph.L. Inkeri Aula is completing her doctoral dissertation in Cultural Studies / Cultural Anthropology, at the University of Eastern Finland, while starting in SENSOTRA as a part-time project researcher. Her ethnography-based thesis approaches the experiencing of Afro-Brazilian heritage in the globalised dance-fight-game of capoeira, foremost by Afro-Bahian and European practitioners. She explores how in the transnational capoeira community, participants connect with histories and experiences of liberation embodied in the ritual game.

In 2016, Inkeri worked in research project ”Transforming the future of Brazil – ritual and indigenous agencies” at the University of Helsinki, with research interests in transnationalism, ontology and hope. She focused on issues of transnationality and translocalisation of capoeira culture from a Black Atlantic historical perspective, and on Afro-Brazilian quilombismo as a social, ecological and cultural movement approached through an anthropological ”method of hope”. In SENSOTRA, Inkeri will focus on research strand 1, ”Transformations in mediations of sensory experience”. She has had her home in the Turku archipelago since 2008.

M.Soc.Sc Sonja Pöllänen

Sonja Pöllänen (BA and M.Soc.Sc) is working as a project researcher in SENSOTRA. In her postgraduate studies, Sonja is researching ontological formations  and processes that produce likeness in two different case studies: in a live action role-playing game and in transgenerational couples in ethnographical sensory walks. Sonja is a member and an affiliated student of the Aging, Communication and Technology network (ACT) at the Concordia University. Her forthcoming publication for this network with Helmi Järviluoma is called: Annotated bibliography: Transgenerational Research on Environmental Relationships and Aging. Her general research interests are in the contemporary philosophy, ontological theory, sensory studies, new materialism and in game studies.  

Heikki Uimonen (Doctor of Philosophy) worked as a professor of popular music research at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki in 2012–2017. He is an ethnomusicologist and a docent on acoustic communication and soundscape studies at the Universities of Tampere and Eastern Finland. Uimonen has published articles, a monograph and edited anthologies on music consumption, radio music, compact cassettes and changing sonic environments. His research interests include sonic construction of place, mediated music, social use of music, transforming soundscapes and how all these intertwine. He is the board member of Finnish Society for Acoustic Ecology.

Uimonen was part of COST project standardizing soundscape concept in Europe. He has worked as a member of the research group investigating six European villages in projects Acoustic Environment in Change and Soundscapes and Cultural Sustainability including co-editing the book on the topic. European Acoustic Heritage project was exploring the ways to define, describe, create, preserve and appreciate multiple sound cultures of Europe. Since then he has examined how combining contemporary audio technology can be used in soundscape participatory research. Uimonen has led research projects on environmental sounds including Transforming Finnish Soundscapes and sub-project on Health Supporting Multisensory Food Environment (VÄRINÄ) 


M.A. Eeva Pärjälä

Eeva Pärjälä (MA) is a Junior Reseacher in SENSOTRA and a doctoral student in The Doctoral Programme in Social and Cultural Encounters in the University of Eastern Finland. In Sensotra, Eeva is focusing on research strand 2. Embodied remembering and senses. In her doctor's dissertation she studies how senses have formed an understanding of place and attachment to place in Brighton by focusing on experiences of urban places. Her general  interests in research focus on sensory studies, new materialism, urban studies and human geography.

PostDoc Blaž Bajič

Blaž Bajič (b. 1988) received his PhD in cultural anthropology at the University of Ljubljana in 2017. Since then, he is employed as a postdoctoral researcher in Cultural Studies at the University of Eastern Finland. His key research interests are anthropology of space and place, urban anthropology, anthropology of senses, anthropology of art, popular culture and theoretical underpinnings of said areas. He is also the current president of the Slovenian ethological and anthropological association KULA. In SENSOTRA, Bajič will focus on the research strand “Embodied Remembering and Senses,” in which he will study people’s interactions with the urban landscape as active, bodily, multisited and multi-timed processes.


M.A. Sandi Abram

Sandi Abram is working as a doctoral researcher in SENSOTRA.  He holds a Master in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Faculty of Arts, Ljubljana) and is currently enrolled in the Doctoral Programme in Social and Cultural Encounters (University of Eastern Finland). His research focuses on the process of urban transformations and sensuous reorganization in Ljubljana, with special attention devoted to the process of commodification and touristification of the city and people and communities resisting such processes (as in the example in Rog and Metelkova). He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal for the Critique of Science, Imagination, and New Anthropology (ČKZ). His research interest include urban anthropology, psychogeography, anthropology of senses, with special attention given to sensory gentrification, sensory rhythms and orders, contemporary non-institutional practices, reappropriations of public spaces, and urban cultures.