Surviving the Academia

March 20, 2024
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season 3, episode 1 | Freedom of Speech

The university should be a sacred space of knowledge and debate, where freedom of expression should be firmly protected and censorship rejected. In this academic environment, the exchange of ideas and the confrontation of different perspectives should be encouraged, creating an atmosphere conducive to the flourishing of critical thinking and unrestricted intellectual exploration. Why do I say this? Because a letter sent to the president and board of Aalto University has arrived in my e-mail inbox. It reads: 

On the issue of genocide perpetrated by the State of Israel, Aalto University has publicly claimed a position of neutrality. However, Aalto University’s public stance of neutrality is in contradiction with the actions the university has taken against students and university workers who demonstrate for the human rights of Palestinians. Aalto University has actively disrupted attempts to express solidarity with Palestine.

What is going on at Aalto University? Today we ask the members of the Aalto University community who signed the letter: Alexander Vahera-chibnik is a student at the Faculty of Arts and Design at Aalto University. He is also very active in the Student Palestine Solidarity Movement. Frida Stenback, a visual artist and designer, is currently studying for a master’s degree at Aalto University’s Department of Design. She is also part of the advance guard of the Land for Palestine Movement.

Link to the open letter:

About Surviving the Academia

The program’s objective is to perform a brief analysis of the current situation of the Finnish universities, and the perspectives for the future considering organizational, sociological and pedagogical aspects. During the episodes we will explore different topics related with the university life that influence those who aim to build their academic career. These topics are approached from three main perspective: 1) The lack of resources that scientific research has nowadays due to the economical crisis and the COVID-19. 2) The difficulties to build up an academic career for researchers within universities and 3) The new and trendy University models which try to build bridges between the academia and the private sector and its impact on the structural and pedogeological impact on the institutions. We will explore these topics together with others relevant debates by interviewing both workers and students in a friendly atmosphere that enables them to share opinions and ideas that promote a healthy debate.


Producer and host: Jose Cañas-Bajo
Co-host: Alejandro Pedregal
Guests: Alexander Vahera -Chibnik, Frida Stenback 
Sound recording, editing & live streaming: Bailey Polkinghorne

*The audio piece was recorded and edited at the Helsinki Open Waves performance & recording room located at Caisa.

**The views expressed in this audio piece and texts are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of Helsinki Open Waves.  

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