Uniarts Helsinki has grown into an international forerunner in education and research in the arts – 10-year anniversary celebrations coming up on 22 September

Uniarts Helsinki is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2023. The special year will culminate in September with celebrations at the opening ceremony of the academic year and at Uniarts Fest, the university’s arts festival.

Uniarts Helsinki was founded in 2013 when the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy, and Theatre Academy were merged. The new university was given the special mission to promote the status and autonomy of the arts in society and to make an impact on the Finnish artistic and cultural life as a whole.

“Over the past ten years, Uniarts Helsinki has assumed a stronger role as an international forerunner in education and research in the arts and as the most sought-after place for studies in Finland. This success is made possible by a community of determined and enthusiastic people who have a great passion for their work,” says Rector Kaarlo Hildén.

In global university rankings, Uniarts Helsinki has ranked among the top universities for the past seven years: last year, the Sibelius Academy placed 22th in the field of performing arts in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022. When comparing the Finnish universities’ results in the Bachelor’s Graduate Survey, Uniarts Helsinki has taken the top spot for several years in a row.

We also attract top talents from abroad: Already about 30 per cent of all new students at Uniarts Helsinki are non-Finns, and 38 per cent of them have found employment in Finland a year after their graduation. Based on feedback from Erasmus students, our exchange students are the happiest out of their peers in Finland.

Over the years, Uniarts Helsinki has also launched new multidisciplinary study opportunities.

“Thanks to the synergy after the merger, we have been able to set up new programmes and modules in the fields of writing, sound art and musical theatre. The Degree Programme in Design for the Performing Arts also moved from Aalto University to Uniarts Helsinki in autumn 2020, which has further advanced the development of performing arts,” says Hildén.

Acclaim for research

Within the past ten years, Uniarts Helsinki has built a strong foundation for carrying out ambitious research. It has attained particular acclaim in the area of artistic research, as was noted by the international assessment panel that completed the first-ever research assessment at Uniarts Helsinki in 2022. The assessment covered all research carried out by Uniarts Helsinki in 2015–2020. In its report, the assessment panel recommended that the university set up a research institute to consolidate the position of research. The research institute was founded, as recommended, in the beginning of 2023.

Over the span of these ten years, the university also completed a historically large-scale research project. Between 2015 and 2020, Uniarts Helsinki coordinated a research project called ArtsEqual, which explored the impact of the arts and arts education on wellbeing and equality in Finland. The multidisciplinary project involved over 90 researchers. The funding from the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland was one of the biggest ever in the history of Finnish research in the arts. The project’s budget was 5.6 million euros.

Finding home on two campuses

Uniarts Helsinki’s new campus in Sörnäinen was completed in 2021, which brought students and staff of the Theatre Academy and Academy of Fine Arts to the same quarters. The campus consists of two architecturally and historically interesting buildings: Theatre Academy main building Kookos and Mylly building of the Academy of Fine Arts. The university’s gallery activities also moved to the new building.

Uniarts Helsinki’s other campus in Helsinki is located in Töölö, which is the home of the Sibelius Academy. The heart of the campus is the Helsinki Music Centre, but the campus also consists of two valuable buildings in functionalist style, both of which have been renovated within the last ten years to cater the needs of arts teaching: The R Building on Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu, which was originally built to serve as the main building of the Helsinki Conservatory of Music, and the N Building on Nervanderinkatu, which used to house the school Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu.

Besides the capital, Uniarts Helsinki also operates in Seinäjoki, Kuopio and Järvenpää.

A special year filled with art and visions on the future of art

The main theme for Uniarts Helsinki’s anniversary year is looking towards the future where art continues to be a part of meaningful life. With this theme in mind, the public can go to the university’s website to read tips on which events they should attend in 2023.

The 10-year anniversary celebrations will be promoted throughout the year on Uniarts Helsinki’s website, social media platforms and internal platforms.

The anniversary year will culminate in the opening of Uniarts Helsinki’s academic year on Friday, 22 September. During the same evening, the Sörnäinen campus will serve as the venue for the university’s very own Uniarts Fest. The arts festival gives the public a low-threshold, admission-free opportunity to enjoy the most interesting art being created in today’s Helsinki. The programme also includes discussions, where prominent influencers from various fields share their thoughts on the future of art. The whole university community is welcome to come and celebrate the 10-year-old university!