Each year, Uniarts Helsinki selects three artists as Alumni of the Year, one from each academy. According to Rector of Uniarts Helsinki Kaarlo Hildén, the goal is to make arts education more prominent and have a discussion on the impact that Uniarts Helsinki and its alumni have on society.
“This year, the selected Alumni of the Year are artist-researchers with societal impact. Uniarts Helsinki provides the highest level of education in music, fine arts, performing arts and writing in Finland, and we want to draw attention to the various ways that arts research makes an impact and is visible in our society,” says Hildén.
Alumni of 2023
The Alum of the Year from the Academy of Fine Arts is Jan-Erik Andersson, who completed his Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 2008. Andersson’s best-known work is the “Life on a Leaf” house, where he lived with his family since its completion in 2009 until 2023. In his doctoral thesis in fine arts, Andersson discussed the relations of art and architecture through his house project. Since the 1980s, Andersson has expressed his creativity through installations, performance art, public artworks, interactive media art and architecture. Andersson is currently completing a new building next to the “Life on a Leaf” house as his postdoc project for the Academy of Fine Arts.
The Alum of the Year from the Theatre Academy is Annette Arlander, the first-ever doctoral graduate (1999) from the Theatre Academy. Arlander worked as professor of live art and performance studies at the Theatre Academy in 2001–2013, as professor of artistic research at Uniarts Helsinki in 2015–2016 and as professor of performance, art and theory at Stockholm University of the Arts in 2018–2019. Arlander built the basis for a degree programme in live art, and she continues to pursue an internationally prominent career as a director, researcher and performer. She is a member of the editorial board of the internationally esteemed JAR – Journal of Artistic Research, for example. She has been awarded the AVEK Award for media arts and the State Prize for Multidisciplinary Art.
The Alum of the Year from the Sibelius Academy is Anna Kuoppamäki, who completed her Doctor of Music degree in 2015. Kuoppamäki is a singer-songwriter, music educator, researcher and teacher. Kuoppamäki became known in the 1990s as the frontwoman of Wilma, a band playing pop with electric guitars and synthesizers. For the last 20 years, however, she has been a researcher and a teacher first and foremost. During her career as a researcher, Kuoppamäki’s interest has revolved around improving young people’s music learning paths and providing support for the cultural agency of children and young people in music education. As a postdoc researcher at the Sibelius Academy, Kuoppamäki is an active operator in the field of music and arts education, and she has contributed to projects such as G SongLab for young people, where societal impact plays a central role.