Kaisa Vehkalahti

Kaisa Vehkalahti

PhD, Adjunct Professor

Academy Research Fellow
Cultural and Social History


Vehkalahti joined the academic staff in autumn 2017. She is Academy Research Fellow in project Rural Generations on the Move. Cultural History of Rural Youth, 1950-2020 (Academy of Finland, 2019-2024). She is Adjunct Professor (docent) of Cultural and Social History in the University of Oulu since 2015, and in the University of Lapland since 2020. Vehkalahti lectures in history of childhood, youth and education, research ethics and digital humanities. She supervises theses related to her research. She leads the multidisciplinary research team focusing on History of Childhood and Education 'Lapanen'. She is also PI for projects My Countryside: Intergenerationality, Place and Gender in the Finnish Countryside (funded by Kone-foundation, 2021-2025) and Northern Rural Youth in Flux (NorFlux)(funded by Eudaimonia Institute, University of Oulu 2018-2022). Her current research interests focus on qualitative longitudinal youth studies, rural history and oral history.

Research interests

  • Cultural and social history
  • Research ethics
  • History of childhood
  • History of education
  • Youth studies
  • Rural studies
  • Contemporary Finnish history
  • Oral history
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Northern Finland

Recent projects

My Countryside. Intergenerationality, Place and Gender (2021-2025), funding: Kone Foundation (begins in September 2021)

Rural Generations on the Move. Cultural History of Rural Youth, 1950–2020 (ROOTS)(2019-2024), funding: Finnish Academy

Northern Rural Youth in Flux (NorFlux) (2018-2022), funding: University of Oulu, Eudaimonia

PROMISE Promoting Youth Involvement and Social Engagement: Opportunities and challenges for ’conflicted’ young people (2016–2019), funding: EU/Horizon 2020

FACT for Minors: Fostering Alternative Care for Troubled Minors (2016–2018), funding: EU/JUST2015 action grants

Youth in time - qualitative longitudinal study on young people (2015-2017), funding: Ministry of Education and Culture

Previous positions

Vehkalahti has previously worked as a Research Manager of the Finnish Youth Research Society, funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Her previous positions also include the Turku Institute for Child and Youth Research (CYRI), Department of Cultural History and Turku Open University. She has been the editor-in-chief of Kasvatus & Aika, Finnish peer-reviewed journal in History of Education, and contributes in the editorail boards of several peer reviewed journals in the field. Vehkalahti received her PhD from the department of Cultural History, University of Turku, in 2008. She also studied in the Netherlands Research School of Women's Studies (NOV), in the University of Utrecht. 

Vehkalahti is the author of Constructing Reformatory Identity. Girls’ Reform School Education in Finland, 1893–1923 (Peter Lang, 2009) as well as other publications on the history of childhood and youth, research ethics, memory studies, girlhood studies, and cultural history of writing. Her most recent publications include e. g. edited volume about research ethics in childhood and youth studies Sääntelystä elettyyn kohtaamiseen. Lasten ja nuorten tutkimuksen etiikka II (2019) and contribution in Reconstructing Minds and Landscapes. Silent Post-War Memory in the Margins of History (Routledge, 2020).


Social media

Professional and community activities

  • Finnish publication forum JUFO (Panel 23 History, archaeology and cultural studies), panel member 2018–2020
  • Ethics Committee of Youth and Childhood Studies in Finland, Chair 2021–2022
  • Finnish National Library Board of Digital Humanities, board member 2021–2022
  • Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, deputy board member 2015–2020
  • Barn – Forskning om barn og barndom i Norden, editor since 2020
  • Nordic Journal of Educational History, member of editorial board since 2019
  • Kasvatus & Aika, Finnish journal for History of Education, editor in chief 2014-2017, member of editorial board since 2017
  • National Multidisciplinary Expert Group for Child Protection, National Institute for Health and Welfare, 2016-
  • Society for Cultural History, vice chair 2021
  • Finnish Historical Society, invited research fellow member since 2016

Thesis supervisions

PhD supervision