Leevi Haapala selected as the new dean at the Academy of Fine Arts of Uniarts Helsinki 

In the selection, emphasis was placed on in-depth knowledge of the field of visual arts and versatile leadership experience.

museonjohtaja Leevi Haapala, henkilökuva kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Pirje Mykkänen

Uniarts Helsinki’s academies – the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy – are managed by deans. Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Leevi Haapala (PhD) was appointed dean of the Academy of Fine Arts for a five-year fixed term from 2024 to 2029.  He will start in the position during the spring.

Leevi Haapala has served as the museum director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and as a member of the Finnish National Gallery Council since 2015. In 2014–2015, he worked at the Academy of Fine Arts as professor of exhibition studies. He has also served as a chief collections curator, amanuensis and chairperson of the acquisitions committee at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma as well as a researcher at the Finnish National Gallery. Haapala has an extensive record of publications in contemporary art, and he has curated numerous exhibitions. Haapala has strong networks both in Finland and internationally, and he has several positions of trust in the boards of various foundations in the arts. He is also one of the members of the Uniarts Helsinki Board.

The dean selection criteria emphasised a profound knowledge of visual arts, a well-rounded management experience, the ability to listen to the community and make its members feel included, and a vision for the future direction of the Academy of Fine Arts. Based on the assessment, Haapala’s particular strengths include long-term management experience and wide networks in Finland and abroad.

There was a total of six applicants for the position of dean at Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts. Besides the open call for applications, executive search was also used as a recruitment method. The top two candidates in the recruitment introduced themselves to the university community in a public interview in November.  

Leevi Haapala has served as a member of the Uniarts Helsinki Board since 2022. He will step down from his board duties due to the appointment. A new external member to the Board will be appointed by the University Collegium of Uniarts Helsinki.  

Earlier in the autumn, visual artist and architect Petteri Nisunen was selected as vice dean for teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts. He will take on the duties starting from 1 January 2024.

The recruitment decision was made by the Uniarts Helsinki Board in a meeting on 13 December 2023.