21 February 2012

Keynote and Plenary speakers announced

IFLA is pleased to announce that the IFLA WLIC 2012 National Committee has selected Helena Ranta as Keynote Speaker at its Opening Session and Peter von Bagh and Yrjö Engeström as Plenary Speakers.

Keynote Speaker

Helena Ranta (photo: Antero Tenhunen / YLE)Helena Ranta

Professor Helena Ranta is a Finnish forensic dentist who gained notoriety particularly through her involvement in several forensic investigations of international conflicts. Her most well-known work was in Kosovo during the 1990s. Helena is also an exceptional professor in the University of Helsinki.

The Finnish NC chose Prof. Ranta as keynote speaker for the WLIC 2012 Opening Ceremony for her exceptional ability to communicate the value and importance of culture even when it is threatened by extreme circumstances.

In her work to find substantiation for war trials, Prof. Ranta had to report on massacres and other inhuman deeds in extreme detail, time after time.

Despite having to work in such stressful environments, she has the energy to connect with the living culture and cultural heritage of the cities and towns she visits – or maybe we rather should say, that she particularly is able to maintain her own integrity thanks to her deep and active interest in varying cultural heritages.

Further, she is also able to talk about her cultural and scientific findings in a unique way. An audience cannot forget her work, and furthermore, the content of her presentations shares the richness and positive variety of the human life she has encountered. Prof. Ranta is also an active photographer and complements her lectures and presentations about culture with compelling photos.

Although the intensity of her past experiences resonates throughout her lectures, she manages to surpass them—always stressing our possibilities to build together a better world.

Plenary Speakers

Peter von Bagh (photo: Jyrki Valkama / YLE)Peter von Bagh

Peter von Bagh is a film historian, an author of more than 30 books on film, history and popular arts (including The History of World Cinema, 1975 and 1998, and a book about and with Aki Kaurismäki, published in five languages). Doctor in Political Sciences; television and radio producer for all his life; a book publisher (more than 100 books from Balzac to Eisenstein, Meyerhold, Fellini and many more); a film director, with speciality in compilation films, including a large series as Oi kallis Suomenmaa, A History of Finland (1997), and Song of Finland (Sininen laulu), a 12-hour programme on the history of arts in Finland - which in 2007 became a Finlandia prize winning book. Later films include "Helsinki Forever" and "Sodankylä Forever" that have toured around the world. Scriptwriter (e.g. films by Risto Jarva); editor-in-chief (since 1971) of the "Filmihullu" magazine; curator (1967-70) and Programme Director (1970-85) of the Finnish Film Archive; a professor of film history at The Helsinki University of Arts; Artistic Director and Co-founder (with the Kaurismäki brothers) of The Midnight Sun Film Festival; Artistic Director of an Italian film festival called Il Cinema Ritrovato (Bologna, since 2001).

Yrjö Engeström (photo: University of Helsinki)Yrjö Engeström

Professor Yrjö Engeström is Director of the Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE) at the Institute of Behavioral Sciences of the University of Helsinki. CRADLE is an internationally recognised competent and supportive scientific community of some 30 researchers, conducting workplace development and studies based on cultural-historical activity theory and the sociocultural approach. The focus of the studies is transformation and learning processes in work activities and organisations.

Professor Yrjö Engeström has been involved in a long-lasting library research and development project, Knotworking in Academic Libraries. The project, underway at the Helsinki University Library, aims at developing a new kind of boundary crossing, knotworking work model for librarians and research groups.

Engeström has served as Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, and as Academy Professor appointed by the Academy of Finland. He is Director of CRADLE and was Director of its predecessor the Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research which was a National Centre of Excellence in Research from 2000 to 2005.

Professor Engeström has an honorary doctorate from the University of Oslo and honorary professorship from the University of Birmingham, UK, as well as three ongoing visiting professorships (Lancaster, Osaka, Oslo).