In the summer of 2000, when I was a student of Art History at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, I made a research trip around Western and Central Finland. I had decided to do my MA dissertation on Finnish art and culture because my mother was Finnish and because I studied with Dr Jeremy Howard in St Andrews, who worked at that time on Art Nouveau and National Romanticism in Eastern Europe, including Finland.
I visited the work of famous artists and designers, like Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Eliel Saarinen and, as I drove around, I also saw the landscape and the medieval churches that inspired them. The picture is of the pulpit at Petäjävesi Old Church I visited on that trip.
After my MA I continued to study Finnish art history. I was a visiting student at Helsinki University in 2003 and 2004 and did my PhD on the architect Vilho Penttilä. That trip in 2000 was the foundation for my current career as an academic. I still work on Finnish and Scandinavian material. My book “Modernism in Scandinavia: Art, Design and Architecture” came out in 2017.