Book of friends: Anna Näkkäläjärvi-Länsman

Uniarts Helsinki turns 10 years old this year. To celebrate the anniversary, we will invite 10 current and former members of the Uniarts Helsinki community to write on our book of friends.

Photo: Marja Viitahuhta

Who are you and what is your relationship with Uniarts Helsinki?

I’m Anna Näkkäläjärvi-Länsman. I studied at the Sibelius Academy in the Degree Programme of Music Performance and majored in clarinet in the first decade of the new millennium. Now I’m a student at the Mutri Doctoral School in the Faculty of Music Education, Jazz and Folk Music, and my research topic is Sámi yoik.

Tell us about a moment that was important to you at Uniarts Helsinki.

I had a concert called Luohteilbmi last spring, and it was an important kick-off for my doctoral studies. It was a personal exploration of my roots and yoik in today’s world and taught me about both myself and yoik. I got to perform with a wonderful ensemble and produce new yoik that is strongly rooted in the tradition. The exciting project culminated in the Black Box at the Helsinki Music Centre, where we played to a full house and collaborated with the top-notch production team of Uniarts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy. The moment really stuck with me.

Three words that describe the everyday life at Uniarts Helsinki:

High-cloud, inspiring, encouraging.

Where are you most at home mentally out of all Uniarts Helsinki locations?

I do most of my studies remotely at the moment so my answer is Zoom, because it has become a really important window to the academic world for me from my hometown of Nuorgam.

Name a stereotype of Uniarts Helsinki or your own academy that is not true:

The Sibelius Academy only trains classical musicians and composers. (Get to know the Sibelius Academy’s versatile study options!)

If you could study anything at all at Uniarts Helsinki regardless of your skills and experience, what would you study?

Could Uniarts Helsinki have a degree programme in Sámi music some day? I would have applied for those studies immediately when I was younger. Now I think I’d be interested in studying composition.

Complete this sentence: Uniarts Helsinki is a unique community because…

Uniarts Helsinki is a unique community because it is home to such versatile talent in the arts and offers an operating environment for many creative people.

What would you like the arts sector to discuss more in the future?

It would be important to recognise the mark that our national and international history has left on our time and thinking. The arts sector must be able to discuss the structures and phenomena of society with a critical mindset. We should recognise the colonisation that occurs in Finland towards the Sámi and Karelians and train new experts in the arts who acknowledge this reality. It’s important to have a public discussion on the history of the Finnish nation state and its impact on the present day also through art.

How do you view the role of art in times of changes and crises?

Art observes changes earlier than the rest of society. Art can also cause and promote changes. In times of crises, art is an important tool for dealing with events at individual level and in society in general.

Uniarts Helsinki turns 10 years old this year. What is a 20-year-old Uniarts Helsinki of your dreams like in 2033?

20-year-old Uniarts Helsinki is multicultural, tolerant, supportive and respectful towards minorities, and aware and appreciative of cultural diversity.

Uniarts Helsinki turns 10 years old this year. To celebrate the anniversary, we will invite 10 current and former members of the Uniarts Helsinki community to write on our book of friends. This group will include our students, alumni, researchers, employers and teachers. The book of friends series will be published throughout the anniversary year 2023.