Working as a research services coordinator requires the skills to manage several projects at the same time

The “Working at Uniarts Helsinki” series presents employees who enable the growth of students and help them become highly skilled and broadminded artists and changemakers, thanks to their work in different roles within the university.

Karla-Maria Toiviainen
Eeva Anundi

In her work at Uniarts Helsinki, Coordinator Karla-Maria Toiviainen appreciates the fact that no work day is the same as the other.

Who are you and what do you do at Uniarts Helsinki?

I’m Karla-Maria Toiviainen, Master of Music by my academic background. I work as a coordinator for the Uniarts Helsinki Research Services. My position is based in the CERADA research centre and the Arts Equal initiative. I coordinate a few Erasmus+ projects and organise events, seminars and conferences. I also act as the chair for the project coordination team PROKO.

How would you describe your typical work day?

I start my work day by going through the notes that I wrote on the previous afternoon about unfinished assignments, and then I write a preliminary to-do list for the day. After that, I go through the emails and check my calendar to see what meetings I have lined up. I update project graphs and write agendas. I have several meetings every day, so my list of things to do changes over the course of the day.

My work as a coordinator requires the advancement of several projects at the same time and always being a few steps ahead of things. My previous work experience as a project manager and entrepreneur has given me a solid skill set for this. I’m used to working in an international and multicultural work environment. I’m quick at adapting and navigating among different kinds of people and ways of working. I aim to get better at my job on a continuous basis and develop my processes so that my work becomes more efficient and easier. My predecessors in the position had done a good job, so it was easy to jump on board in the coordinator’s position.

Why did you apply to work at Uniarts Helsinki?

I heard about the vacancy last autumn, when my family was getting ready to move back to Finland. I had lived the last ten years in the Netherlands. I worked there in the cultural sector and event business as an entrepreneur and a project manager. Intercultural communication, expatriate Finns and the promotion of the Finnish culture, and building of communities have been at the centre of my work.

I had dreamed of working as part of the administration staff at Uniarts Helsinki for a long time, because here I get to combine my passion for the field of culture and cultural administration.  

What is the best part of your job?

The best part is that every work day is different. I take responsibility over my own work and I have opportunities to develop my work and ways of doing things. I get to work with amazing colleagues! The team spirit in the Uniarts Helsinki administration is great, and everyone helps each other when needed.

What is the best aspect of working at Uniarts Helsinki?

The best aspect of working at Uniarts Helsinki is that I get to contribute to research and teaching in the field of culture at the highest possible level in Finland. I feel that my work is meaningful and represents values that are important for me.

About Uniarts Helsinki

Uniarts Helsinki is an open meeting place for the arts – an ambitious university community for bold reformers and experts in tradition. We cultivate a unique environment that helps artists grow and strengthens the power of art as a driver of change. Uniarts Helsinki is among the leading performing arts universities in the world, and it is comprised of the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy. We have about 2,000 students and about 700 full-time equivalent employees.

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