Announcement title

University of the Arts Helsinki

Professor of Contemporary Art Contexts and Exhibition Studies

Uniarts Helsinki is an open meeting place for the arts – an ambitious university community for bold reformers and experts in tradition. We cultivate a unique environment that helps artists grow and strengthens the power of art as a driver of change. Uniarts Helsinki is among the leading performing arts universities in the world, and it is comprised of the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy. We have about 2,000 students, 60 professors and 700 full-time equivalent employees.

Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts is an international community. It offers high-quality teaching in contemporary art and is a pioneer in artistic research. The Academy of Fine Arts has educated visual artists since 1848. 


The Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki is recruiting a Professor of Contemporary Art Contexts and Exhibition Studies

for a five-year term, starting on 1 January 2021.

In order to ensure the vitality of the arts and to make way for new initiatives, we invite world-leading professionals for fixed-term (non-tenured) positions to bring the latest practices and trends from the field.

Instruction at the Academy combines theory and practice to support students' development as artists. The Academy runs three programmes: MA/BA in Fine Arts, MA programme in Exhibition Studies (Praxis), and Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts. The programmes emphasize individual instruction, allowing students to receive sustained personal guidance while working independently. The Academy of Fine Arts maintains a dynamic relationship with the contemporary art world as the Academy's instructors pursue active artistic careers alongside their teaching work.

Students' own artistic practice and its constructive assessment are at the core of learning. Discussion is also an important part of learning at the Academy of Fine Arts, as it allows students to examine questions related to art and art-making from different perspectives. Through discussion, students learn to understand the links between different forms of art as well as their traditions and histories.


Job description

The position of Professor of Contemporary Art Contexts and Exhibition Studies bridges the MA Programme in Exhibition Studies (Praxis) and the Joint Studies' unit, which is part of the MFA/BFA programme in Fine Arts.

In the Joint Studies’ unit, the professor is responsible for the Contexts of Artistic Practice -studies module compulsory for all MA and BA students at the Academy. This module focuses on exhibition studies and professional skills for visual artists and runs through the four subject areas (Time and Space Arts, Sculpture, Painting and Printmaking). It is an essential part of the flexible curriculum allowing students' mobility between subject areas.

In the Praxis Programme that has a separate admission of 5–6 students every second year, the professor determines the general orientation of teaching of the programme. The professor has a central role in planning the curriculum and is responsible for organising the teaching in the whole programme as well as for integrating parts of it in the activities of the Joint Studies’ unit. The Praxis studies cover the basics of theory and philosophy of art as well as the practices of public exhibition of art. The aim of the Praxis Programme is to help the students in growing into professionals of exhibition practices and in finding their own voice in the field of art. In this programme, students learn to understand artistic processes and the mechanisms of the artfield in its relation to the society at large. 

Students of the Praxis programme are educated together with Fine Art students, whichgives them the chance to work with artists in different kinds of contexts and spaces where art is exhibited. Intimately linked with the other programmes at the Academy across the three cycles (BFA, MFA, DFA), the Praxis programme addresses the contexts of displaying and experiencing art from various perspectives in close proximity to art-making and artistic research activities.

This focus links the programme firmly to the Uniarts Helsinki’s new strategy that aims at highlighting the significance of artistic thinking in society. The idea is that the Praxis Programme would, for its part, strengthen the role of art and artistic thinking in society in relation to discussions on societal issues, such as public decision-making, equity and working life. Another bold ambition formulated in the university’s strategy is to consider art as a part of the solution to the ecological crisis and questions of sustainability. This is a challenge that the professor is expected to tackle in both areas of responsibility of the position. What kind of changes are taking place in the field of art as result of the rapidly changing conditions of life on earth? Where is art in this process and how could it support sustainability? How should artistic practice itself change as a response to these issues?

The duty of the professor is to provide theoretical and practical teaching and supervision based on research and to carry out research activities relevant to the position. Through the teaching activities in the Praxis Programme and in the Joint Studies' unit, the professor is also involved in the planning and realising of the Academy's public exhibition programme. Other duties include regular updating of the programme in relation to developments in both contemporary art and exhibition studies, participating in community interaction, international cooperation and the planning and management of diverse projects. The professor is also expected to participate in the work done in university's administrative bodies in order to advance matters related to the position. The position may also involve supervision of members of academic staff.


Eligibility and qualification requirements

One of the objectives mentioned in Uniarts Helsinki’s new strategy is developing the university’s education, teaching and pedagogy by using a research-based approach. The qualification requirements of a Professor of Contemporary Art Contexts and Exhibition Studies include an applicable doctoral degree, multifaceted teaching skills and pedagogical competence, a proven ability to provide teaching that is based on research, and experience in developing the fields of study. In addition, experience in developing research, leadership skills, experience in acquiring funding, domestic and international cooperation, as well as societal influence are required.

Defined as a top priority, the professor is expected to have strong merits in carrying out teaching and research activities in contemporary art contexts and exhibition studies and to have the skills needed to examine the above-mentioned fields from various perspectives. The professor’s teaching activities may be connected to the areas of art history, theory and philosophy of art, visual studies, museology, cultural studies, environmental studies, and social science, for example. We also require excellent cooperation skills and motivation to participate in duties that promote the academic community.

When assessing the merits of the applicant, attention will be paid to their prior research, artistic and teaching experience, as well as the academic leadership experience and societal impact.


Language skills

The languages of instruction at Uniarts Helsinki are Finnish, Swedish, and English. In Praxis Programme, the language of instruction is English. All applicants are required to have excellent command of English. Finnish applicants are also required to have excellent command of one of the national languages of Finland (Finnish, Swedish) and fair skills in the second national language of Finland. Language skills are assessed according to the task.


Working hours and salary

The professor’s working hours will be based on a total annual workload of 1,624 hours, (1,612 from 1 August 2020), as defined in the collective agreement. The job-specific salary component will be based on levels 8–9 of the job requirement scheme for teaching and research positions in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will receive a salary component based on personal work performance. The yearly salary for a professor is between 64 000 EUR and 80 000 EUR depending on experience and qualifications.


How to apply

The applications should be submitted through our electronic recruitment system by 2 August 2020 23.59 (UTC +3) here. You will receive an automatic reply from the system (check the spam folder if you can’t find the email with your username information in your inbox). Please save your application materials in English and in PDF form.

The application consists of


  1. A motivation letter, including applicant’s thoughts on the present state of the field, and their vision for developing the field (max. five pages)
  2. A curriculum vitae
  3. A teaching portfolio
  4. A portfolio of the applicant’s artistic and/or


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