About us

Finnish Academy of Fine Arts + Sibelius Academy + Theatre Academy Helsinki = University of the Arts Helsinki

The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy Helsinki merged at the beginning of 2013 into an arts university, in English called the University of the Arts Helsinki (Taideyliopisto in Finnish, Konstuniversitetet in Swedish). In English, the academies adopted the names the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki, the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki and the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.

The staff and the students of the existing universities were transferred to the University of the Arts Helsinki. There are a total of approximately 2,100 students and the full-time equivalent of personnel is 600. The University of the Arts Helsinki consists of three academies that have equal educational contents and cultural weight.

The University of the Arts Helsinki fosters our art heritage and educates artists whose work provides society with life force and new perspectives and ways of thinking, encouraging people to ask questions.

Academy of Fine Arts

The Academy of Fine Arts is an international academy that concentrates on the fine arts, the only one of its kind in Finland. It offers first-class instruction in the fine arts and it is a pioneer of art research. The Academy of Fine Arts has trained artists since 1848.

The Academy of Fine Arts is known for the fine arts. There are four study programmes: Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture and Time and Space Arts (Moving image, Photography and Site and Situation Specific Art).

At the Academy of Fine Arts, students graduate with a Bachelor’s, Master’s or a Doctorate degree in fine arts. There are approximately 270 students, 13% of whom are international students.

At the core of the studies are the syllabusi that focuses on personal aspirations, interaction between the teachers and the students and individual guidance. The artist-teachers at the Academy of Fine Arts are distinguished visual artists and experts in various fields of the arts.

The artistic activities of the Academy of Fine Arts are one of the methods of instruction and provide the students with a link to society, the arts scene, and art audiences. Numerous exhibitions at the Academy’s own galleries are the most visible part of the artistic activities.

The Academy of Fine Arts also maintains an active international collaboration network with art universities and other fine arts institutions around the world.

Openness, dialogue and living arts are at the core of the activities.
The Academy of Fine Arts is located in Vallila neighbourhood, Helsinki.

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Sibelius Academy

Sibelius Academy is responsible for providing the highest level of music education in Finland. The academy trains artists, teachers, and other music professionals skilled in independent artistic work.

Sibelius Academy fosters and develops Finnish music culture and tradition. This is achieved through education, artistic activities, and research.

There are two faculties, both responsible for teaching: the faculty of classical music and the faculty of music education, jazz, and folk music. There are about 1,400 students at the academy. Annually, around 150-170 new bachelor’s and master’s students are admitted. More than a thousand students apply to the academy each year.

In addition to the Master of Music degree, you can also complete a licentiate degree or a doctoral degree at the academy.

Promoting artistic activities is one of the main missions of the academy, and public concerts serve as its presentation to the public. There are hundreds of annual concerts that represent a significant number of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area's concert selection.

Sibelius Academy also provides youth and adult education. The purpose of youth education is to introduce musically gifted children and young people to high-level music education. Sibelius Academy Continuing Education is responsible for adult education in music and culture.

Established in 1882 as the Helsinki Music Institute, Sibelius Academy is the only music university in Finland and one of the largest in Europe.

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Theatre Academy

The Theatre Academy is a performing arts university that provides the highest education in theatre and dance in Finland. Students at the Theatre Academy graduate as lighting and sound designers, dancers, choreographers, dance or drama teachers, actors, directors, dramaturges, playwrights, performance artists, or even something that has yet to be named.

Studying at the Theatre Academy is a demanding, full-time task through mainly contact teaching and small study groups. In addition to providing the necessary information and skills, the teaching emphasises the particular artistic disposition of each student.

The studies consist of artistic work, workshops, seminars and lectures. Professionals from the field guide students along the path to becoming artists. A multidisciplinary professional from a broad field of theatre and dance is emerging alongside the traditional professional roles.

Performances are a significant part of maturing as an artist. They are landmarks that outline what the students have learned, familiarise them with the traditions, and create new ideas. The Theatre Academy has 30-40 annual premieres, most of which are open to the public.

The Performing Arts Research Centre, Tutke, is responsible for all research and doctoral studies at the Theatre Academy. The research coordinated at the Theatre Academy is artistic, artist-oriented, art pedagogic, and highly multidisciplinary.

The Theatre Academy was founded in 1979 when the Finnish and Swedish theatre academies merged.

The Theatre Academy is located in Sörnäinen, Helsinki.

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The University of the Arts Helsinki is comprised of three academies. For now, there are three organisational entities at the University of the Arts Helsinki: the Board, the Rector, and the Collegium.


Professor Saku Mantere (Chair)
DSc Sirkka Hämäläinen-Lindfors (Vice-Chair)
Professor Tarja Pitkänen-Walter (Academy of Fine Arts)
Professor Erik T. Tawaststjerna (Sibelius Academy)
Planning Officer Ann-Charlotte Karlsson (Theatre Academy)
Senior Coordinator Tuomo Lukkarinen (Sibelius Academy)
Student Jussi Rauvola (Sibelius Academy)
Student Virpi Viljanmaa (Sibelius Academy)
PhD Marja Sakari
M.A. Virve Sutinen

Secretary Immo Aakkula


Tiina Rosenberg is the rector at the University of the Arts Helsinki from 2013 until 2017. She is on a leave of absence from her professorship at the University of Stockholm. She has previously worked as a professor of gender studies, director of studies, and department head at the universities of Stockholm and Lund.

Dr. Rosenberg’s research has focused on feminist theatre, performance studies, feminist theories, gender and sexuality, and critical theory. She is also an active contributor to social debates. She has published monographs and articles in academic publications and anthologies.

Her most recent book is Ilska, hopp och solidaritet: Med feministisk scenkonst in i framtiden (2012), which discusses feminist performance art in Sweden. Rosenberg’s other works are En regissörs estetik: Ludvig Josephson och den tidiga teaterregin (1993), Byxbegär (2000), Queerfeministisk Agenda (2002), Besvärliga människor: Teatersamtal med Suzanne Osten (2004), Könet brinner! Judith Butlers texter i urval (2005), Ogjort genus (2006), L-ordet: Vart tog alla lesbiska vägen? (2006), and Bögarnas Zarah: diva, ikon, kult (2009). She also co-wrote Teater i Sverige (2004) with Lena Hammargren, Karin Helander, and Willmar Sauter.

Contact Rosenberg via e-mail address .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Paula Tuovinen is the University of the Arts Helsinki vice-rector until August 2018. She held the post of the Theatre Academy rector from 2005 to 2012. Before that, she led the Danish National School for Contemporary Dance and held the post of lecturer in contemporary dance at the Theatre Academy Helsinki from 1994 to 1995 and from 2004 to 2005. From 1985 to 2001, she worked as a freelance dancer. She holds a master’s degree in cultural anthropology.


The University of the Arts Helsinki Collegium was elected in May 2013. The term of the Collegium starts immediately and ends on 31 December 2016. The Collegium elects a chairperson and a vice-chairperson from among its members.

The Collegium consists of the following representatives:


1. Esa Kirkkopelto (Theatre Academy), 
deputy member Villu Jaanisoo (Academy of Fine Arts)

2. Peter Peitsalo (Sibelius Academy), 
deputy member Jukkis Uotila (Sibelius Academy)

3. Juhani Lagerspetz (Sibelius Academy),
deputy member Veli-Matti Puumala (Sibelius Academy)

4. Anne Sivuoja-Kauppala (Sibelius Academy),
deputy member Heikki Uimonen (Sibelius Academy)

5. Riikka Stewen (Academy of Fine Arts),
deputy member Päivikki Kallio (Academy of Fine Arts)

6. Markku Uimonen (Theatre Academy),
deputy member Dick Idman (Theatre Academy)

Other teaching and research staff and personnel

1. Päivi Arjas (Sibelius Academy),
deputy member Max Tabell (Sibelius Academy)

2. Laura Jännes (Theatre Academy),
deputy member Jukka Ruotsalainen (Theatre Academy)

3. Kristina Paavela (Academy of Fine Arts),
deputy member Sami Kustila (Academy of Fine Arts)

4. Hilkka Suominen (Sibelius Academy),
deputy member Tuovi Martinsen (Sibelius Academy)

5. Mika Virkkala (Sibelius Academy),
deputy member Jarmo Eerikäinen (Sibelius Academy)

6. Kaj Wager (Theatre Academy),
deputy member Annika Fredriksson (Theatre Academy)


1. Mikko Haapoja (Sibelius Academy),
deputy member Tiia Mustonen (Sibelius Academy)

2. Saara Hannus (Academy of Fine Arts),
deputy member Iiris Kaarlehto (Academy of Fine Arts)

3. Ilpo Heikkinen (Theatre Academy),
deputy member Piia Peltola (Theatre Academy)

4. Milla Martikainen (Theatre Academy),
deputy member Lauri Mattila (Theatre Academy)

5. Juha Rouhikoski (Academy of Fine Arts),
deputy member Titta Aaltonen (Academy of Fine Arts)

6. Niilo Tarnanen (Sibelius Academy),
deputy member Riikka Pellinen (Sibelius Academy)

Rector Tiina Rosenberg (photo Eva Dalin)

Student Union

The student union of the University of the Arts Helsinki was formed on January 1, 2013 with the merger of the student unions of the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy, and Theatre Academy.

The chair of the University of the Arts Helsinki student union board is Church Music student Annika Kempe (annika.kempe@siba.fi, tel. +358 50 4603713).

In addition to Annika Kempe, the Student Union Board comprises the following members: Kemal Can (painting), Riikka Karjalainen (lighting and sound design), Lukas Korpelainen (folk music), Laura Lehtinen (choreography), Laura Norppa (arts management), Anna Sailamaa (printmaking), Megan Snowe (time and space arts), and Aura Visala (early music).

The student union general secretary is Ville Sinnemäki.

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A moment before

The discussion about founding the University of the Arts Helsinki dates back years. Back in the 1980s, the Pasila project got underway to relocate Sibelius Academy, the University of Industrial Art Helsinki and Theatre Academy to the same premises.

Additionally, the Finnish Film Archive would have been established on the premises. The project was to be carried out after the completion of the Opera House, but no agreement was reached on the space design and cost calculations.

The discussion on the merging of the art universities went on for almost the entire first decade of the 2000s, and three reports by the Ministry of Education recommended the merger.

In 2010, the Ministry of Education and Culture established a committee for the founding of a multidisciplinary arts university comprising the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy, and Theatre Academy Helsinki. The aim was to enhance the role of the art universities in strengthening the quality, impact and international competitiveness of the arts and culture.

In November 2011, the boards of the  Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy approved the merger. The founding agreement was signed on November 15, 2011.

The first board of the university was appointed in August 2012, and Saku Mantere, (who is a Doctor of Science in Technology and has a Master’s in Philosophy) was elected its chair.

Roots deep within

The roots of the three academies of the University of the Arts Helsinki have roots deep within the Finnish art education and the history of art.

The earliest predecessor of the Academy of Fine Arts was the Drawing School of the Art Society of Finland, which opened in 1848, Europe’s year of change. The first nationally and internationally renowned Finnish artists such as Albert Edelfelt, Axel Gallén, Helene Schjerfbeck and Ellen Thesleff all studied at the Art Society’s Drawing School.

Since 1939, the academy operated under the Finnish Art Academy as the Finnish Art Academy School. The school became state-owned in 1985, and its name was changed to the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1993, the Academy of Fine Arts became an institution of higher education, and in 1998 it became a university.

Sibelius Academy was established as the Helsinki Music Institute in 1882 by a private initiative. One of the students was Jean Sibelius, who later became the institute’s figurehead. The institute would eventually take his name.

In 1924, the institute’s name was changed to the Helsinki Conservatory of Music as the operations expanded. In 1939, the name Sibelius Academy was introduced. Sibelius Academy became a state organisation in 1980 and a university in 1998.

The roots of the Theatre Academy lie in the first theatre academy in Finland, which was active from 1866-1868, working with the Swedish theatre Nya Teatern. The Swedish theatre school, Svenska Teaterskolan, was established in 1908 and worked with Svenska Teatern. Finnish-language actors were trained from 1904–1940 at the Student School of the Finnish National Theatre and in the private Finnish Stage School. In 1943, the Finnish Theatre School began training students.

Theatre Academy Helsinki was founded in 1979 when the Finnish and Swedish theatre academies merged into a single national, bilingual theatre academy.

Contact information

Tel. +358 9 7258 0000

University of the Arts Helsinki
P.O. Box 1

Admissions Offices

Academy of Fine Arts: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Sibelius Academy: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Theatre Academy: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

University of the Arts Helsinki Registry

P.O. Box 38


Academy of Fine Arts, Elimäenkatu 25 A
P.O. Box 10

Academy of Fine Arts Library, Elimäenkatu 25 A, 2nd floor
P.O. Box 10

Theatre Academy, Haapaniemenkatu 6
P.O. Box 20

Sibelius Academy, Töölönkatu 28
P.O. Box 30

Sibelius Academy, Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 9
P.O. Box 35

Sibelius Academy, Töölönlahdenkatu 16 D
P.O. Box 38

Sibelius Academy Library
P.O. Box 39