May 7, 2021

University of the Arts Helsinki receives donation for international initiatives in fine arts

University of the Arts Helsinki

Photo: Petri Summanen.

The University of the Arts Helsinki’s (Uniarts Helsinki) Academy of Fine Arts has received a donation of 1.5 million euros from the Saastamoinen Foundation. The donation gives a boost to the international activities of the students and researchers in fine arts and the alumni of the Academy.

The collaboration between Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts and the Saastamoinen Foundation has been ongoing since 2014. It will continue in 2021–2025, allowing the Academy to launch new international projects that complement the existing programmes.

Initiatives for the creation of international networks
A new discussion forum, Ac/kademie Talks, will be launched in the autumn of 2021. The forum represents a new form of remote pedagogy, and it will be organised by the Academy of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Jan van Eyck Academie and the Rijksadamie from the Netherlands, which are both amongst the most important academies offering further education for artists in Europe. The academies will open the doors to their studios once a month in virtual events which focus on the diverse range of artistic practices of their artists-in-residence. Anyone interested in art is welcome to follow the discussions.

Every year, many internationally renowned artists and experts in the field of art come to the Academy of Fine Arts as visiting professors. The donation by the Saastamoinen Foundation allows the Academy to continue to develop the visiting professor programme in the long term. Thanks to the donation, it is also possible to launch a new exchange programme for doctoral students and scholars engaged in artistic research.

“Discussions and networks connected to art and its development are international in nature. This significant donation by the Saastamoinen Foundation allows us to provide our students with unique opportunities to form international networks already during their studies,” says Kaarlo Hildén, Rector of Uniarts Helsinki.

“Creating international networks through new initiatives would not be possible without the long-term commitment and continuous cooperation between the Academy of Fine Arts and Saastamoinen Foundation. We are happy to be able to continue this effective and fruitful partnership,” says Marja Karttunen, who manages the collaboration with Uniarts Helsinki at the Saastamoinen Foundation.

Residency for the alumni of the Academy of Fine Arts
The initiatives launched during the prior collaboration between the Saastamoinen Foundation and the Academy of Fine Arts will continue. These include the mentoring programme that supports the students’ international activities, the residency programme for the alumni of the Academy, and the annual keynote lectures by renowned artists and agents in the field of art. Thanks to the collaboration, such prominent figures in the art world as Martha Rosler and Okwui Enwezor have visited Finland, and about 20 alumni of the Academy of Fine Arts have had the opportunity to take part in renowned international residency programmes.

A new residency in Scotland, particularly targeted at sculptors, will be introduced. The residency partners are Cove Park and the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. The alumni residency programme has so far included five residencies of international renown: the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, ISCP – the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York, LIFT Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto in Toronto, SPACE in London, and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.

“A top-quality international residency inspires artists to adopt new perspectives and allows them to delve deeper into their own practice. We are absolutely delighted that we can offer these kinds of opportunities to our alumni,” says Hanna Johansson, Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts.

The Saastamoinen Foundation is a long-standing and important funder for Uniarts Helsinki. Last year, Uniarts Helsinki was able to establish a five-year professorship in fine-art pedagogy thanks to a donation by the Saastamoinen Foundation. The position was filled by British Professor Magnus Quaife, who began his term in February 2021. When including the donated professorship, the Foundation’s recent support for Uniarts Helsinki amounts to two million euros in total.

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