Dear donor and partner,
the University of the Arts Helsinki has now been building a multi-artistic university for ten years. We have a special national mission to look after arts education and the vitality of arts in Finland. As global crises have wrought fundamental changes in our lives, the significance of arts has emerged in a new light: arts are part of our mental security of supply. Arts can sustain us through difficult times, and they can help us believe and give us new perspectives on the questions of being human.
The University of the Arts Helsinki is responsible for the future of the entire field of arts in Finland. The sector is in need of structural renewal to be able to act more effectively in a rapidly changing society. During the pandemic, we launched a programme for the future of the arts sector which offers free working life and entrepreneurship studies for freelancers in the field of arts. Last autumn, we made a significant investment in arts-based business and innovation: together with the City of Helsinki, we established the pre-incubator Uniarts Hub. Uniarts Hub offers support for entrepreneurship and a testing platform for artists’ and students’ business ideas.
Our research funding has increased with the support of the Academy of Finland’s profiling funding and the foundations. Uniarts Helsinki’s joint Research Institute has launched its work on strengthening the impact of research.
Young arts students are the greatest resource of our university. The feedback we collect from them every year shows that we have succeeded in our teaching task. Survey results indicate that exchange students also find the University of the Arts Helsinki the best university in Finland: international students value the quality of our education and the university’s inspiring study community.
In addition to teaching and research, artistic work is a core function of the University of the Arts Helsinki, as contact with the public is an important part of growing into an artist. In 2022, we organised almost 1,200 events, which means that we were back to the pre-pandemic level.
In times of crisis, seeing to the financial sustainability of our university is even more important than usually. Our fundraising campaign, which ended in summer 2022, increased our capital by almost seven million euros, together with the government’s matched funding. The support of our donors opens up new opportunities for us and gives us confidence in our work. The bequests made to University of the Arts Helsinki Foundations help our students grow into consummate art professionals.
We want arts to be part of good life and a thriving society in the future. We would like to thank our supporters for seeing the importance of our work and giving arts a future through your donation.
The way to become the happiest people in the world is investing in education and culture, arts and science.
Year 2022 in numbers
We compete with the world’s best
- The most desirable place of study in Finland: only 7% of applicants are admitted. In 2022, 356 students were admitted to bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes.
- One of the most international universities in Finland: of the new bachelor’s and master’s degree students, 27% come from outside Finland.
- Best university in Finland: based on Erasmus surveys, exchange students find the University of the Arts Helsinki the best university in Finland.
- University of the Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy has been one of the world’s top-ranking universities among more than 2,200 performing arts institutions worldwide (QS World University Ranking).
In 2022, University of the Arts Helsinki
- Awarded 279 master’s degrees, 168 bachelor’s degrees and 17 doctoral degrees.
- Organised 1,200 student performances, concerts and exhibitions which attracted a total audience of 100,000.
Fixed assets of EUR 92.9 million
The University of the Arts Helsinki’s investment portfolio managed a difficult investment year satisfactorily. Since 2018, the university has changed its investment policy by increasing the share of alternative investments in the portfolio. This decision has increased the expected return on the portfolio, and it is now less prone to market volatility.
The university has an advisory committee on investments which consists of investment professionals and serves as an expert body under the Board and the Rector in the university’s asset management. Investments are secured by controlled risk-taking, good risk management practices and the principles of responsible investment.
Returns on investment assets are used to finance the university’s strategic goals, such as developing education and research and new educational openings. In 2022, returns on investments were allocated to implementing the vision for national art education, new Degree Programmes in Design for the Performing Arts and Playwriting at the Theatre Academy, and equipping the new main building of the Academy of Fine Arts.
Fundraising campaign collected nearly EUR 7 million
The University of the Arts Helsinki’s fundraising campaign ended in summer 2022. Donations received towards art education totalled over EUR 3.5 million. The collection was part of the central government’s matched funding campaign, in which the government allocated EUR 67 million to universities in proportion to the private capital they collected. For one euro collected, the government granted EUR 0.96 in matched funding. Together with the government’s matched funding, the University of the Arts Helsinki’s capital increased by EUR 6.9 million.
In proportion to the number of students, the University of the Arts Helsinki collected the second largest amount of donations among the Finnish universities.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the patrons of arts who gave donations:
Heikki Herlin, Koneen säätiö, Otavan Kirjasäätiö, Saastamoisen säätiö.
Algol Oy, Kansakunta Oy, Konstsamfundet, Leonora ja Yrjö Paloheimon säätiö, Lisi Wahls stiftelse, Louise ja Göran Ehrnroothin säätiö, Moomin Characters Oy Ltd, Planmeca Oy, Pro Musica Säätiö, Stiftelsen Emilie och Rudolf Gesellius fond, Stiftelsen Tre Smeder, Svenska kulturfonden, William Thurings stiftelse.
As well as numerous private and corporate donors.
Highlights of 2022
Three students from the University of the Arts Helsinki participated in the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition which had a historically high standard
In May, the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy and the Sibelius Society of Finland organised the XII International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition. The competition offered what may well have been the greatest moments of violin music in its history. Three violin students from the Sibelius Academy participated in the competition: Kasmir Uusitupa, Otto Antikainen and Andrián Ibanez-Resjan. The winner was Inmo Yang from South Korea.
The Jean Sibelius Violin Competition was followed by an unprecedentedly large audience: online broadcasts and recordings were viewed globally on YLE Areena more than 2 million times.
MFA exhibition held in the new main building for the first time
The traditional MFA exhibition “Kuvan Kevät” held in late spring is a sensation of Finnish visual arts. The spring exhibition of master-level students at the Academy of Fine Arts took place in the new main building of the Acedemy for the first time in 2022. The exhibition included works from 40 visual artists about to graduate.
The Alumni of the Year Dalia Stasevska, Adel Abidin and Paula Vesala inspire through their example
The work and achievements of the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Alumni of the Year 2022, Dalia Stasevska, Adel Abidin and Paula Vesala, are examples of how arts and artists can influence society.
Dramaturg, actor and musician Paula Vesala made the voice of the cultural field heard by decision-makers through her personal visibility during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to lobbying, protesting and exerting influence in social media, Vesala supported financially artists who fell through all safety nets during the crisis.
Media artist Adel Abidin’s works have been shown at major exhibitions worldwide. Abidin courageously bolstered the field of arts during the pandemic, for example through his video installation Musical Manifest 2022, which deals with identity, power, fear and clichés. In Abidin’s opinion, the artist’s most important role in society is changing it.
Conductor Dalia Stasevska works as Principal Conductor of Lahti Symphony Orchestra, artistic director of the international Sibelius festival, and the Principal Guest Conductor of BBC Symphony Orchestra. Stasevska is an active participant in societal discussion and a member of the Sibelius Academy’s sparring group of social influencers. Stasevska made a prominent contribution for peace and human rights to public debate even before Russia had attacked Ukraine.
University of the Arts Helsinki celebrated Kaija Saariaho’s 70th anniversary year
The year dedicated to composer Kaija Saariaho, an honorary doctor of the university and alumna of the Sibelius Academy, culminated in October in a national series of Kaija Saariaho 70 events. The concerts at Helsinki Music Centre provided a cross-section of Saariaho’s rich chamber music production and her solo works, performed by students and teachers of the Sibelius Academy. Saariaho was also invited to the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Taidepiste discussion series at the Helsinki Music Centre.
Art promotes wellbeing
Health, Narrative and the Arts – better health care through literature
Physicians, social workers and nurses listen to stories every day in their work. The patient must be heard before they can be helped. This requires professionalism and concentration. In the Health, Narrative and the Arts project of the University of the Arts Helsinki, social welfare and health care professionals reflected on patient work through the medium of literature and writing.
In 2021, the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy launched a project that offers social welfare and health care workers courses focusing on reading literature and writing. Scientific research is conducted on the participants’ experiences.
These courses designed for social welfare and health care professionals were inspired by international narrative medicine and health humanities programmes. Narrative medicine is based on the observation that an ability to listen to patients’ stories is essential for helping them. Competence in biomedicine is more helpful if the physician is able to listen to and interpret their patients’ stories and act on them. Working on these stories in a group is an internationally established method that complements physicians’ training and work counselling.
“Reading literature and reflective writing can help to listen and encounter patients. This leads to a better patient experience”, says Sonja Sulkava, a physician and one of the course teachers.
An ability to listen to patients’ stories is essential for helping them.
“In the work of a psychologist or a physician, listening to people has many more dimensions than you might imagine, which is why there is a genuine need for narrative skills”, says writer and psychologist Jussi Valtonen, who works at the Theatre Academy as a Professor in the Master’s Degree Programme in Writing.
On these courses, social welfare and health care professionals read poems and short stories carefully as well as write their own texts and discuss them. “Research has proven that writing supports putting yourself in someone else’s position”, says Valtonen.
Encountering patients with empathy
“Health impacts are created when people are encountered as human beings in health care, listened to and seen holistically rather than only through their illnesses. Research has found that a more empathetic patient relationship also has a positive impact on the healing process”, says author Joonas Kallonen, one of the course teaches.
The courses at the Theatre Academy are taught by health care and art professionals working in pairs. Sulkava and Kallonen, together with the other teachers, were trained on a narrative medicine course at the University of Columbia. When teaching, Sulkava noticed how the theory discussed on the course turned into practice and how well the exercises worked in a group of Finnish social welfare and health care professionals.
Positive feedback from participants shows that there is a great need for narrative skills courses aimed at social welfare and health care professionals. Efforts to develop the training will continue in cooperation with such partners as the City of Helsinki and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki. Scientific research is also conducted on the participants’ experiences. A manuscript for an article on the research results is currently being written for an international publication series.
The Health, Narrative and the Arts project is supported by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.
A boost for arts education and artistic research
Writing introduced as a new field of study at the University of the Arts Helsinki
Writing has always been one of the most important forms of culture in Finland. Last autumn, writing became part of the university’s degree programmes as the Master’s Degree Programme in Writing became an established part of the courses offered at the Theatre Academy. The master’s programme was previously piloted with funding from the Otava Book Foundation and the Otava Group. Since the autumn, a bachelor’s programme in writing studies has also been offered at the University of the Arts Helsinki.
The studies in writing consist of reading, writing and group discussions. The extensive offer includes courses on prose and lyrics but also other types of texts, such as writing for digital platforms and about the arts. The recurrent theme of the programme is students’ personal writing projects, which they advance as part of their studies. Some of the graduates from the master’s programme have published works based on their theses.
At the University of the Arts Helsinki, writing is approached holistically and in interaction with visual arts, performing arts, music and artistic research.
The programme in writing has received support from the Otava Group, the Otava Book Foundation and Heikki Herlin.
Support for visual artists’ internationalisation from Saastamoinen Foundation
The International networks of visual arts programme offers internationalisation opportunities for the students, alumni and researchers of the Academy of Fine Arts. The aim is to improve their understanding of and capabilities for working as international artists.
The programme includes alumni residencies, a mentoring programme, visiting professorships, keynote lectures and an exchange programme for doctoral students and researchers focusing on artistic research. The international residency periods for alumni support visual artists’ doctoral studies at residency centres in Maastrich, New York, Toronto and Scotland. In the mentoring programme, students can engage in dialogues with international art professionals who have worked in the field for a long time.
The programme invites leading international artists and art specialists to lecture at the Academy of Fine Arts. Each year, an influential and widely known person in the field of arts is invited to give a keynote lecture. In 2022, this lecture was given by Sonia Boyce, a British artist, Professor, researcher and winner of the prestigious Venice Biennale Golden Lion.
The International networks of visual arts programme is funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation.
Sibelius Summer Academy offers top-level courses and concerts
The Sibelius Summer Academy comprises a range of summer courses that brings together leading artists and students from the Sibelius Academy and around the world. The Summer Academy also introduces international music students to studying in Finland and brings to the public concerts and open lectures.
In summer 2022, the teachers included professionals from the Grammy award winning Theatre of Voices group and international lied specialists.
The Summer Academy, and the international visitor programme associated with it, is an international key project for education development at the Sibelius Academy. The leading talents in their fields invited to Finland as part of the visitor programme work with Academy students and teachers for a period, usually for one or two years.
The international visitor programme and Sibelius Summer Academy are supported by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation as well as the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.
Academy of Finland funding to support the University of the Arts Helsinki in strengthening its research profile was extended
The University of the Arts Helsinki has selected art pedagogy in higher education and research in the education of artists as the key areas of its research. The Academy of Finland granted EUR 750,000 in funding for this profile area for 2021–2026. This funding was extended as the Academy of Finland granted EUR 2.2 million in support to the university for 2023–2028. The funding will be used to develop further the foundation of research in art pedagogy in higher education.
Art pedagogy in higher education focuses on the education of professional artists
Artist-driven research in arts studies has been recognised internationally as a new and emerging field of research of interest to art universities. The University of the Arts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts was the first institution to establish a professorship in this field in 2021. Magnus Quiafe from Manchester School of Art was selected for this role. Professor Quiafe and his team study how artists educate future artists, what kind of pedagogy artists practise, and what kind of theory is produced by such teaching based on experiential practices of the field.
The research area of art pedagogy in higher education complements the other focus areas of the University of the Arts Helsinki: research in art education and art history as well as artistic research.
An overall assessment of research was conducted at the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2022. At the recommendation of the international evaluation panel, a joint research institute was established at the university.
The five-year professorship in art pedagogy in higher education for 2021–2025 is funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation.
A donation of one million to encourage intercultural dialogue
Elsa Brule, a US patron, has donated one million US dollars to the Sibelius Academy’s Global Music degree programme. Ms Brule, who has roots in Finland, developed an interest in supporting the programme in 2021 as she visited Finland and the Sibelius Academy. She wished to make a donation for maintaining minority languages and music and building bridges between the Sámi and North American indigenous cultures.
New visual arts award from the Outi and Jan Vapaavuori Foundation
Every second year, the Outi and Jan Vapaavuori Foundation awards the sum of EUR 5,000 to a young Master of Arts who graduates from the Academy of Fine Arts and who has demonstrated special skill in their studies or renewed the expression of visual arts. The award was presented for the first time in 2022 to Iiri Poteri, who works with photography, media art, performance and installation.
Thank you to all our supporters
The University of the Arts Helsinki thanks the donors and foundations for their support for education and research:
- Anita and Olavi Seppänen Foundation
- Elsa Brule
- Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation
- Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation
- Kone Foundation
- Leonora and Yrjö Paloheimo Foundation
- Lisi Wahls stiftelse
- Louise and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation
- Niilo Helander Foundation
- Nordea Art Foundation
- OP Art Foundation
- Otava Book Foundation
- Outi and Jan Vapaavuori Foundation
- Pro Musica Foundation
- Sastamoinen Foundation
- Stiftelsen Emilie och Rudolf Gesellius fond
- Stiftelsen Tre Smeder
- Finnish Cultural Foundation
- Svenska kulturfonden
- Society of Swedish Literature in Finland
- William Thurings stiftelse
Year 2022 for the University of the Arts Foundations
University of the Arts Helsinki Foundations provide grants for art studies
Two foundations operate in conjunction with the University of the Arts Helsinki. They support art studies with grants and assist the university financially in developing its activities. The foundations disburse more than EUR 700,000 as grants and scholarships every year.
The foundations accept donations and bequests. They did not actively raise funds during the government matched funding campaign in 2020–2022, in which funds were collected to increase the university’s capital. In the years to come, active efforts will be made to raise awareness of the foundations among patrons of arts to attract further donations.
Sibelius Academy Foundation
This foundation established in 1931 has mainly obtained its assets as bequests. At the end of 2022, the total market value of the foundation’s capital was approximately EUR 24.9 million. The returns on the investment assets are used to support music studies and education. The foundation has 19 funds. In 2022, the assets of the Sibelius Academy Foundation were increased by a single bequest.
EUR 194,000 was allocated as grants for helping students to progress in their studies in 2022. Among other things, grants were awarded for auditions, instrument maintenance costs, and international and Finnish master classes. Approx. EUR 260,000 was allocated to the activities of the Sibelius Academy, including international exchanges and faculty development activities. The yields of Maj Lind and Helmi Vesala Funds, or EUR 246,700 in total, were reserved for piano competitions organised in 2022 and 2023.
University of the Arts Helsinki Foundation
The purpose of this foundation established in 2018 is to support studies and education in visual arts and performing arts, in particular. The foundation has three funds: the Academy of Fine Arts fund, the Theatre Academy fund and a general fund. At the end of 2022, the total market value of the foundation’s capital was approximately EUR 1.2 million. The foundation disbursed its first grants in 2021. In 2022, the foundation handed out the total sum of EUR 35,300 as scholarships to students at the Theatre Academy and the Academy of Fine Arts. In addition, two EUR 1,000 awards and a working space grant of EUR 5,400 were disbursed from the Academy of Fine Arts fund.