Research is one of the core activities at the University of the Arts Helsinki. Research at the university focuses on the arts and art pedagogy; it can be artistic or developmental.


Research is one of the core activities at the University of the Arts Helsinki. It enhances the analytical development and conceptual understanding of artistic practices and the reflexivity of the university and the arts community. Research at the University of the Arts Helsinki focuses on the arts and art pedagogy; it can be artistic or developmental.


The principles for research at the University of the Arts Helsinki are derived from the traditions and practices of the fields studied at the university and include various artistic, research-oriented, and pedagogical activities that form the foundation for doctoral study at the university.


Academy of Fine Arts

At the Academy of Fine Arts, research is closely linked to the academy's disciplines and related theories, methodologies, and teaching as well as the development of tools, materials, and ways of expression. Research, as such, is considered the starting point for contemporary art. Interaction between different forms of art and the relationship between art and society is the domain for ongoing experimental research. In addition to contemporary art's dialogical relationship to its audience, performance practices and spatiality are linked to research both methodologically and pedagogically.

Sibelius Academy

Research is an essential part of the creative work carried out at Sibelius Academy. As a result of the versatile expertise of the faculty, different theoretical approaches, methodologies, and research methods are in constant coexistence and interaction. Interaction between research and music is lively. Research at Sibelius Academy focuses on the following areas:

  • Making, teaching, and learning of music
  • History of musical practices and structures of music
  • Relationship between music and the mind, musical interaction, and
  • Philosophy and aesthetics of music.

Theatre Academy

Artistic research into performing arts is an important part of the development of Theatre Academy's disciplines and their descendants. With its vast international networks, Theatre Academy is an inspiring research community that is committed to communal values. The researchers are in active dialogue with the academy’s degree programmes and outside art and research communities as well as society at large. The objective of research at Theatre Academy is to develop and renew the arts and related methods and teaching and, by doing so, to provide an artist-led contribution to knowledge.

Research projects

The university’s three academies have numerous ongoing research projects.
Several of the projects employ doctoral students and post-doc researchers.
The University also conducts projects through collaboration with other universities and partners working in the field of arts and research.


Below you can find information on the ongoing research projects at the University.


CERADA (Center for Educational Research and Academic Development in the Arts)

CERADA aims at developing the quality of research-based arts pedagogy within the University of the Arts Helsinki and in other institutions and contexts. It is a network of teachers, researchers and units within the University of the Arts Helsinki that are interested in developing arts pedagogy through international collaboration.


Liveology – Practices and Ideologies of Live Music in Finland

The multidisciplinary project Liveology is the first comprehensive academic research on Finnish live music. The objective of the project is to provide an interpretation of the transformation of live music in Finland from the 1970's to the 2010's. The study concentrates on the live music scene of the last forty years, as it progressed from grass root activism towards professionalized entrepreneurships.

Opera on the Move

Transnational Practises and Touring Artists in the Long 19th Century Norden  (2013-2015)

Rethinking "Finnish" Music History. Transnational construction of musical life in Finland from the 1870s until the 1920s

The project interprets the development of Finnish musical life at the end of the age of autonomy from a transnational perspective. It makes a critical evaluation of earlier nationalistic research practices where the flow of music history was viewed as inevitable development – a product of the work of talented composers, powerful authorities and collective patriotism. From the outset, the project deems the formation of the national art of music and musical life of the 1800's as a transnational process, which migrated, adjusted and translated the styles, institutions, conventions and performance practices of western music to be a part of the cultural life of the Northern Grand Duchy. The project does not author history of Finnish music, but rather history of music in Finland.

Shifting Dialogues: Research Project on Asian Performance and Fine Arts

is a joint research project between Theatre Academy Helsinki and Academy of Fine Arts (AAPC, Asian Art and Performance Consortium). The project is funded by Academy of Finland in 2011-14 and lead by Professor Esa Kirkkopelto from Theatre Academy Helsinki. Research fellows are Ray Langenbach, Jukka O. Miettinen, Stefan Kuzay and Anna Thuring and doctoral students Maya Tångeberg-Grischin, Jay Koh, Mikko Bredenberg and Shoji Kato.

Structure-borne sound and composite aural spaces in music and intermedia creation

A postdoctoral research initiative funded by the Academy of Finland

Other research projects

  • Artistic Interventions and the Transformative Use of Art in Society
  • Interactive Choral Activity as Support for University Studies
  • Learning in and through the Arts in higher education: Developing shared leadership
  • Politics, Arts and Education
  • Multicultural Arts University
  • Creative Music Making in Schools
  • Game-Based Guitar Learning
  • Intercultural Skills in Music Teacher Education
  • Music Teacher Education Development Project in Nepal
  • Cantatrices Achté
  • Ligetin piano-musiikin esittämiskäytännöt
  • Harmonikka-piano-elektroniikka -säveltäjäyhteistyö
  • Neljäsosasävelaskelpiano
  • Ääni, ele, ilme, liike - retoriikan actio barokin laulumusiikin esittäjän kehossa read more
  • Acoustic Localisation Techniques for Interactive and Locative Audio Applications read more
  • Aquatrio read more
  • Electroacoustic music performance and improvisation: a pedagogical toolkit read more
  • Narrative in Acousmatic Music read more
  • Research Group in Interdisciplinary Improvisation read more
  • Software Tools for Electroacoustic Improvisation read more
  • Sound & Motion Research Group read more

Completed research projects

Completed research projects


Research networks

The University of the Arts Helsinki and its three academies operate in several national and international research networks. Below you can find information on the most important networks.

The European League of Institutes of the Arts, ELIA, represents approximately 350 Higher Arts Education Institutes training artists at a professional level coming from all disciplines in the Arts (Fine Art, Design, Theatre, Music, Dance, Media Arts, Architecture) and from 47 countries.

European Artistic Research Network (EARN) was established to share and exchange knowledge and experience in artistic research; foster mobility, exchange and dialogue among art researchers; promote wider dissemination of artistic research; and enable global connectivity and exchange for artistic research.

EARN operates through a variety of means including regular international working-group meetings, workshops, seminars, symposia, conferences, winter/summer-school programmes, exhibitions, and publications.

Contact information

Vice-Deans, Research

Professor Marjaana Kella (Academy of Fine Arts)
Professor Kari Kurkela (Sibelius Academy)
Professor Leena Rouhiainen (Theatre Academy)


Heads of Doctoral Schools

Professor Vesa Kurkela (Sibelius Academy MuTri Doctoral School)
Lecturer Tuire Kuusi (Sibelius Academy DocMus Doctoral School)
Professor Leena Rouhiainen (Doctoral Studies in Artistic Research of Performing Arts)
Professor Esa Kirkkopelto (Doctoral Programme in Artistic Research TahTO)
Professor Mika Elo (Academy of Fine Arts Doctoral Programme)


Shared Doctoral School and Research Services


Head of Research Services Katja Kiviharju
Senior Research Funding Advisor Tiia Saarinen


Academy-Specific Doctoral School and Research Services

Research Coordinator Michaela Bränn (Academy of Fine Arts)
Study Amanuensis Henri Wegelius (Academy of Fine Arts)

Senior Advisor Sirpa Järvelä (Sibelius Academy DocMus Doctoral School)
Senior Advisor Hannu Tolvanen (Sibelius Academy MuTri Doctoral School)
Head of Development Matti Jordman (Sibelius Academy)

Research Coordinator Annika Fredriksson (Theatre Academy)
Academic Affairs Coordinator Elina Raitasalo (Theatre Academy)
Senior Advisor Riitta Pasanen-Willberg (Theatre Academy)