FINTERDIS is an academic community founded in October 2018 that supports interdisciplinary research and teaching, both in Finland and abroad. FINTERDIS strives to support early career researchers (below the assistant professor level) and students in their efforts to combine different fields and approaches by collaborating with more advanced academics with interdisciplinary interests. FINTERDIS is a registered autonomous society with activities covering the whole of Finland.
The Society strives to collaborate with as many Finnish universities as possible, and also collaborates with the US-based International Association for Interdisciplinary Research (AIS).
FINTERDIS aims to provide aspiring researchers and students with better opportunities for independent creative thinking and “the right to cross borders even on a radical basis”. FINTERDIS also introduces different practices related to interdisciplinarity from different countries, in the context of Finland and vice versa, and contributes to the internationalization of Finnish scientists.
The first members of the working group were Kirsi Cheas and Anna-Lina Riitaoya, two Finnish scholars with interdisciplinary interests who fought their academic path, trying to push boundaries within the strict structures of the academic community. Kirsi Cheas is a specialist in local history, media and communication research. In her doctoral research, she compared the proportions of perspectives in American and Finnish news about the Global South. She became the president of FINTERDIS.
Anna-Lina Riitaoya - the second founder of the society and subsequently a member of the board, studies the specifics of social work with migrants in the welfare state. She is currently preparing to defend her dissertation.
The founders and the FINTERDIS board see the mission of their society in creating a kind of space for reflection and the development of connections between different fields and ideas. Children, students and young scientists who recently received their doctorates are explorers of the future, says the Society's website. due to established teaching and research practices and persistent divisions between fields and curricula, they often lose their original capacity for innovative thinking. At the same time, interdisciplinary emerging researchers working in the Finnish academic context lack sufficient forums and structures where they can participate, have influence, and receive support from other researchers. Thus, the idea of a Finnish Interdisciplinary Society was developed to support the interdisciplinary orientation of students and, in particular, novice researchers, while working closely with more advanced scientists to improve communication and exchange of ideas between generations. In other words, the FINTERDIS Society strives to promote an innovative thought that extends not only to different disciplines, but also to different generations.
Image by Hayes Roberts "Guinea Pigs Crossing a Bridge"