Faculty of Education and Psychology, Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities

The University of Oulu is a multidisciplinary, international research university, with about 3,600 employees who produce new knowledge based on high-standards research and provide research based education to build a more sustainable, smarter, and more humane world. The University of Oulu community has about 17,000 people in total. Our northern scientific community operates globally and creates conditions for the emergence of innovations.  

We are now looking for

A Postdoctoral Researcher

to join us in the Research unit Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities (TTEC) at the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology

TTEC is a large research unit that contributes to theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical advances impacting on the educational policies and practices, advances in teacher education, development of educational practices and educators’ and children’s well-being in collaboration with practitioners.

About the job  

The appointment is for an Academy Project funded by the Academy of Finland (2023-2027) entitled:

Small Matters: an Educational Community project about Death and Dying (Project number 355779)

The project’s abstract:

The project’s scientific relevance is that smallness as a concept will reconfigure who and what the human is. It brings together in intra-generational educational encounters, small matters that are usually invisible and excluded from conversations about death and dying in public spaces (young children, SARS-CoV-2, small animals, the digital, microbes etc.). Listening to their stories in philosophical enquiries matters, because it will change how humans relate to themselves, others and the environment. The Small Matters project explores experiences of death and dying at different scales (e.g., micro) together with children from a local university primary school and their extended families. Research methods include the community of philosophical enquiry of Philosophy for Children, the arts-based Reggio Emilia approach and material interviews. Participants take field trips to roadkill sites and other pop-up educational events, aided by educational technologies (AR and VR). Human and nonhuman community members will produce, display, engage with, and research collaboratively co-created stories and large artefacts in public community spaces such as museums, exhibitions, libraries, schools, and parks.  Climate change, COVID-19 and the Ukraine war have left people feeling isolated, frustrated, overwhelmed, afraid and insecure. Death and dying have become more real for children in Finland who previously haven’t faced these kinds of threats. Death, dying and dangerous illness have become more visual in profoundly disturbing and surreal ways and significantly impacted communities. Many in Europe felt protected by their established political systems and developed economies, now struggle with a profound existential crisis. The environmental threats, the war and the small SARS-CoV-2 virus have left tangible material traces presenting formal and informal educators with the urgent challenge to investigate what appropriate educational responses might be: when and how to engage children with matters such as death and dying?  Discourses about death and dying are dominated by scientific facts (biology, medicine) or people’s feelings, stress and insecurity (psychology, psychiatry). Educational responses tend to be either avoidance or are prescriptive and moralising. But these practices position children as vulnerable, fragile and incapable of engaging as equal partners in philosophical dialogue. They leave the more-than-human out of the picture altogether. This project provides rare opportunities for existential intra-generational conversations in public spaces as a form of listening to children and other small matters as political agents that matter. 

In the Small Matters project your responsibilities as a Postdoctoral Researcher will be to do:

  • Field work with the other researchers (e.g., organise school and public screening events, interviews with families)
  • Supervision of doctoral researcher
  • Data analysis
  • Co-writing of peer-reviewed articles and chapters on research findings
  • Presentations at conferences

 You will also be part of the multidisciplinary research group Living Relations.

What we offer?

  • The support of an experienced and enthusiastic team of people involved in teacher education, childhood studies, philosophy of education, film studies and multispecies studies. You will also have training opportunities in philosophy with children, choreographing video and audio clips and develop your insights and skills in conducting postqualitative data analysis and research writing. Furthermore, the project will help you deepen your understanding of posthumanist pedagogies and philosophies.
  • Wellness benefit ePassi covering sport, culture and well-being. Read more about other staff benefits. 
  • Development and career opportunities at the UOULU.
  • Work that matters and a workplace that promotes flexibility and work-life balance. Read more about working with us.

Who are you?

In order to succeed and enjoy the position, we expect from you: 

  • At least a doctoral degree in a relevant discipline, e.g., philosophy, education, creative arts, film studies
  • The doctoral degree awarded within the past 10 years
  • Experience in working with children and families
  • Experience in the use of creative and/or art-based methodologies in e.g., schools
  • Fluency in written and spoken Finnish
  • Competency in written and spoken English
  • Strong digital literacy

We also appreciate if you have experience in or a willingness to commit yourself to training

  • In conducting philosophical enquiries with children and/or adults
  • Experience in supervising postgraduate students
  • Teaching experience


The recruitment is fixed term approx. 50% appointment for 3 years as of 01.11.2023 or as soon as possible thereafter until 1 July 2026.

The salary will be based on the levels 5-6 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50 % of the job-specific component). Starting gross salary will be approx. €1700-2000 per month (before tax).  A trial period of 6 months is applied to the position.

How to apply?

Interested? If yes, please apply by 22.09.2023 (23:59 Finnish local time) through our recruitment system.

The application should be written in English and include the following:

  1. Cover letter
  2. CV
  3. Sample of two relevant publications

The eligible applicants fitting best in the profile expected for the position will be invited to an on-site or remote interview on 2 October 2023. All applicants will be notified during the selection process.

We welcome applicants from different backgrounds, such as people of different ages, different genders and members of different language, cultural or minority groups. 

Contact Information

If you have any further questions, please contact Karin.murris@oulu.fi. (not available before 17 September 9am).

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Part-time
First day of employment 01.11.2023
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 50
City Oulu
County Pohjanmaa
Country Finland
Reference number 2023/304
  • Karin Saskia Murris, +358503428963
Published 08.Sep.2023
Last application date 22.Sep.2023

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