Laura Hellsten

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Hellsten is a Doctor in Systematic Theology from Åbo Akademi University. Her first Master was in Education, from Oulu University and her second one was in Theology from Åbo Akademi. She has has lived and studied in Portugal, Sweden and the US. Currently, she is placed in the archipelago of the Åland Islands where she lives with her cat Moses on Kökar.

She published her dissertation Through the Bone and Marrow: Re-examining Theological Encounters with Dance in Medieval Europe with Brepols in 2021. In her first post-doctoral position Hellsten did ethnographic fieldwork on Ethics and Science Communication in the Stiftelsen Åbo Akademi funded Centre of Excellence BACE. BACE is a collaboration centring on developing a platform for bioelectronic activation that enables control of cell signals and, thereby, stimulation of cell functions. To investigate the aspect of science communication, Hellsten developed and led the research project Avtryck i det okända - Forcing the Impossible, which created collaborations between artists and researchers in the broader context of Åbo Akademi. Hellsten is currently writing a book on the challenges and possibilities of cross-disciplinary research, particularly on how theology may create fruitful collaborations with natural science projects when engaging with the arts.

Research interests

In her post-doctoral position at the Polin Institute, Hellsten leads the project The Praxis of Social Imaginaries. Cosmologies, Othering and Liminality. This project works in tandem with the Nordic Summer University study circle that Hellsten co-hosts together with historian and dance researcher Lindsey Drury (PhD, Freie Universität Berlin/ University of Kent). This project aims to create a platform for transdisciplinary research collaborations that simultaneously train scholars in science communication and investigates the relationship between praxis and social imaginaries in reading medieval travel accounts while critically inquiring about histories of othering and racialisation. The Praxis of Social Imaginaries project is enabled by the Nordic Summer University's winter and summer symposia, where artists and activists join scholars in co-creating knowledge and artistic performances. The project also works with the questions of migration of knowledge between the past and present and different research fields, where philosopher and artistic researcher Eduardo Abrantes (PhD, Roskilde University) leads inquiries into theo-artistic interventions.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Master, Teologi


Master, In Education - International Program, University of Oulu


External positions

Student, Sámi University College

Aug 2022Dec 2022

Student, Sámi University College

Sept 2021 → …


  • BJ Ethics
  • BL Religion
  • BR Christianity
  • BV1460 Religious Education
  • BT Doctrinal Theology
  • D111 Medieval History
  • D051 Ancient History
  • NX Arts in general
  • LB2300 Higher Education
  • LB2361 Curriculum


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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