Anniversary logo Anniversary logo animation

Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

Uniarts GINTL

The UniArts GINTL collaboration sets out to expand our understanding on knowledge and knowing through artistic thinking and art making. With the help of concrete art-based practices, the project aims to diversify pedagogical processes. The international project develops an open, global platform for wide-ranging dialogues related to learning and education.

Colourful banner with the UniArts GINTL logo


UniArts GINTL is a research-based project that develops international educational partnerships through artistic thinking and art practice. In the UniArts GINTL project, artists, teachers, and researchers commence, develop, and maintain responsible joint endeavours. At the heart of the art-based approach is coming together in dialogue.

Arts pedagogy that builds sustainable futures both requires and constructs knowledge on intercultural collaboration. Art-based and experiential processes make room for stopping and sharing. This allows for topical and historical phenomena affecting education, such as distribution of power and ethical and ecological challenges, to be examined. The project centres on reciprocal and collective possibilities of knowledge formation.

In 2024, the understanding, activities, and experiences brought forth during the initiative will be made publicly available on an online platform. The upcoming site will showcase the participating institutions and agents in the project as well as some of the tried best practices. Additionally, it will offer space for continued sharing, which in turn will cultivate further diverse collaborations and partnerships.

Upcoming: Reciprocal visit and seminar

In April 2023, artists and educators representing several Tanzanian partner institutions will visit Helsinki. During their five-day visit, the guests will become acquainted with the teaching, the research activities, and the art that Uniarts Helsinki has to offer. Together with the project’s research team, new understanding will be generated through collegial discussions and workshops.

Higher education pedagogical pilot presented

Outcomes of the UniArts GINTL research project were presented at the academic coffee chat organised by the The Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL) on March 7th.

Heli Kauppila and Marika Orenius, both research leaders in the project, introduced the pilot which had been conducted in the autumn of 2022. During the pilot, a new study unit was developed for higher education pedagogy in the arts based on the themes of the research project, such as international partnerships and decolonization. The study unit allowed for collaboration between teachers and researchers from different academies and degree programmes. Additionally, degree students worked as experts during the project.

At the coffee talk, the pilot elicited a lot of discussion and interest from the other GINTL actors (GINTL Africa, GINTL China, and GINTL India). Integrating ongoing research into teaching was found noteworthy. The study unit also emphasised the role of university pedagogical studies in bringing together people within the university.

Link to the coffee chat archive of the GINTL network.

Arts pedagogy making space for idleness and stopping

Collaboration striving towards equality needs to be grounded in an ongoing dialogue. Therefore, it was decided that the project would not be founded on advancing any particular predetermined educational content. Rather, the project would make space for stopping and observing those phenomena, topical or arising from tradition, which affect education and art making.

At the ELIA Biennial Conference, held at the Theatre Academy of Uniarts Helsinki in November 2022, Heli Kauppila, Marika Orenius, and Katja Thomson held a participatory session where topical questions and the spaces for teaching were approached through idleness and art-based reflection. The journey took the participants from underneath the skylights of the Mylly building to the warmly and dimly lit studios of Kookos where written instructions facilitated stopping, slow pondering, and soft movement.

Read more about the ELIA 2022: No Stone Unturned conference. An “aftermovie” of the conference can be found through the link.

Building international partnerships

In October 2022, representatives from the Uniarts Helsinki visited Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. University lecturer Heli Kauppila, lecturer Marika Orenius, and other active members of the project met with artists and educators from the University of Dar es Salaam Creative Arts, Bagamoyo College of Arts, the Action Music Academy Tanzania and the Alama Art and Media Production, amongst others.

Advancing antiracism and decolonising university in higher education pedagogy in the arts

The UniArts GINTL project and the University Pedagogical Studies in the Arts collaborated on the development of a new study unit which was held in the autumn 2022. It aimed at introducing critical and decolonial theories and practices to the teachers and researchers of the Uniarts Helsinki community. Check back for more information as we keep updating this section.

Seminar on decolonised knowledges, and the beauty of ngoma

In May 2022, UniArts GINTL organised the seminar Co-Creating Decolonized Knowledges Through Arts at the Theatre Academy of the Uniarts Helsinki. The list of presenters, facilitators, and panelists at the event included, among others, the head of university pedagogical studies in the arts Heli Kauppila, lecturer in art pedagogy Marika Orenius, lecturer and researcher in music education Katja Thomson, docent in sociology with specific expertise in studies in diversity Alemanji Aminkeng Atabong (UniArts GINTL 2022), multi-instrumentalist and educator Kauzeni Lyamba, musician and visiting teacher at the Sibelius Academy Kasheshi Makena, and choreographer and dance teacher Heidi Seppälä. The afternoon was set off artfully by the band Venhe.

Decolonial practices and decolonising knowledge were approached through lectures, participatory sessions, and sharing. Many in the audience seemed drawn to the concept “ngoma”. Standing for a dance, a drumming instrument, a celebration as well as any and all art forms present at the same time, ngoma was considered an inviting tool to resist the splitting of the arts into specific, separate disciplines which has taken root in the Western arts education.

Check the site for the seminar while we are updating this section.

Project name

Uniarts GINTL (Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning)




Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland


Heli Kauppila
Doctor of Arts (Dance), University Lecturer, Research Co-Leader UniArts GINTL,, +358 40 7104205

Marika Orenius
Doctor of Arts, Lecturer in Art Pedagogy (Academy of Fine Arts), Research Co-Leader UniArts GINTL,, +358 50 4707289

Kenneth Siren
Doctoral researcher in the arts (Theatre), Lecturer in Pedagogical Studies in the Arts, Expert UniArts GINTL (2023–), +358 50 4315753

Katja Thomson
Doctor of Music, Lecturer in Music Education (Sibelius Academy), Researcher in the project Music Education Professionalism and Eco-politics,, +358 50 3088364

Find out more

Read more about internationalisation programme and global networks on Ministry of Education and Culture’s website.