Professor, University of Helsinki
Gunilla Holm, PhD, worked as a professor in the sociology of education at Western Michigan University from 1989–2006. Her research during those years focused on gender, class and race issues in teacher education and high school. In 1989, she conducted her first study using participatory photography as a research method. This study focused on the schooling of pregnant and parenting teenage girls. Holm has continued to use and develop photography as a research method and has published extensively on this topic.
Holm became the Swedish professor of education at the bilingual University of Helsinki in 2006. In 2011, she started an early childhood teacher education program and in 2016, she started primary and secondary teacher education programs in Swedish at the University of Helsinki. Elementary teacher education in Finland is privately funded, and Holm raised $10.6 million for the program.
Since 2013, Holm has been the director of the Nordic Centre of Excellence in Education called Justice through Education (JustEd), which consists of 14 institutions and 140 researchers from eight different countries. The center has done research on social justice-related issues such as the impact of marketization of schools on increased segregation of students according to class and ethnicity. JustEd has also organized summer schools for doctoral students and international conferences focused on social justice in and through education free of charge for researchers from over 30 countries.
Holm has served on a variety of university committees and boards such as the European Educational Research Association board. She has also received the University of Helsinki award for advancing equality and the Nyström award for scientific achievement from the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters.