Text and photographs: Lasse Hämäläinen
The writer will receive his PhD in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki in September 2019. He worked as the coordinator of ICOS Summer School.
The International Council of Onomastic Sciences organised its first ever Summer School at the University of Helsinki on August 26th–30th 2019. The objective of the course was to bring together young onomastic scholars from all over the world, to increase their knowledge about the international scientific culture and to help them create new research networks. Altogether, there were 21 participants from 15 different countries. Most participants were PhD students, but also a couple of MA students and recently graduated PhDs were within.
The theme of the course was Methods of Onomastics. The course program consisted mainly of lectures concerning the topic, given by the responsible teachers Terhi Ainiala and Paula Sjöblom and also a few visiting lecturers. However, the program also included other activities, for example a full-day text workshop, a Three Minute Thesis workshop, and excursions to the Institute of the Languages in Finland and Helsinki University Almanac Office.
In addition to the scientific program, many students participated in recreational activities after working days. We visited bars, restaurants, and the island of Suomenlinna. Luckily, the weather was great during the whole week, so we could enjoy the beautiful evenings of the late summer outside. I was pleased to notice that the students were willing to participate also these unofficial events, because according to my experience these informal activities and discussions could be an important part of scientific meetings.
As the course coordinator, I would like to thank all the participants and teachers. The week was quite exhaustive but also extremely rewarding and pleasant. It was a great experience to present the city of Helsinki and the diverse onomastic work made in Finland and ICOS. According to our closing discussion, participants were happy and satisfied with the course, too. They hoped that a similar event would be arranged in the near future. Where and when, remains unsolved. That will surely be discussed and hopefully decided in the next ICOS congress, which will be in Krakow in August 2020.