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Antti-Ville Villén

College positions:
Visiting Fellow
Olfactory Cultural Studies
University of the Arts Helsinki
Contact details:

Professor Antti-Ville Villén

Since 2019, Antti-Ville Villén (formerly Kärjä) has worked as Professor of the Cultural Study of Music at the University of the Arts Helsinki.

He holds two Titles of Docent (adjunct professorships) – one in the Study of Audiovisual Media Music at the University of Tampere (2007), and the other in Popular Music Studies at the University of Helsinki (2009). In 2009–13 he chaired the Nordic branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), and in 2016–19 the Finnish Society for Ethnomusicology. In 2017–19 he was a member of the Executive Committee of IASPM. He has also served in the boards of the Finnish Society for Cinema Studies (2002) and the Society for Cultural Studies in Finland (2016–19).

Professor Villén earned his PhD in Musicology in 2005, and Master’s Degree in Theology in 2022. His research interests have developed from audiovisual media music to questions of postcoloniality, historiography and postsecularity, and more recently towards multimodal and multisensory epistemologies. Currently, he is developing what he calls ‘olfactory cultural studies’, meaning the interrogation of the role of smells in meaning-making and knowledge production, especially in the context of contemporary media and cultural production (or ‘art’). Professor Villén has published one article on the topic in Finnish and delivered several conference papers, focussing on music, literature and digital media, and during his stay at Clare Hall, plans to finish a related research monograph manuscript.

As a person trained in Ethnomusicology, Professor Villén considers all humans to be musical. He himself has never taken one lesson in practical music-making. He is a scholar, not a musician; in the contemporary intellectual climate of so-called alternative facts and hostility towards science, he has become suspicious towards mystifying music, and increasingly committed to defend basic research and the creative, patient, meticulous, theoretically informed analysis it requires. In 2021, Professor Villén received The Finnish Society for Ethnomusicology Publication Prize in the category Audiovisual Publications.

Select publications

  • Avaran luonnon aromit (‘Aromas of Wild Nature’), A.-V. Villén, Lähikuva 1–2, pp. 29–44 (2022).
  • The Popular and the Sacred in Music, A.-V. Villén, Routledge (2022).
  • Our Vision, Our Club, A.-V. Villén (director), documentary film (49 min), Music Archive Finland (2020).
  • Music at the Black Baltic Sea, A.-V. Villén, Open Cultural Studies 3, pp. 373–85. (2019).
  • Historiography and the role of the archive, A.-V. Villén, Routlegde Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage, eds. Lauren Istvandity, Sarah Baker & Catherine Strong, Routledge, pp. 108–117 (2018).
  • The Oxford Handbook of Popular Music in the Nordic Countries, eds. F. Holt & A.-V. Villén, Oxford University Press (2017).
  • Holy Crap! Essays on the Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures, eds. A.-V. Villén & K. Kärki, IIPC, (2016).
  • Cultural politics of censorship of music in ‘post-Soviet’ Finland, A.-V. Villén, Danish Musicology Online 2015, pp. 91–106 (2015).