Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki is building a better, more sustainable world by involving itself actively in the resolution of global problems. Multidisciplinary research, teaching and learning of a high standard generate new knowledge and know-how for the benefit of humankind. The University of Helsinki is repeatedly ranked among the best multidisciplinary research universities in the world.

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The Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki is one of the leading European units providing teacher education and engaging in education research. The department educates teachers and other experts in the fields of education and teaching, primarily for the needs of the Finnish society. The task of research and development activities performed at the Department of Teacher Education is to promote innovation in the field of education – both nationally and internationally. The department also houses the Home Economics and Craft Teacher educations.

Craft Studies is characterised by diversity, multidisciplinarity and research-orientation. The key objective is to strengthen and develop the special characteristics of the education as integrating various skills and research. Teaching is problem-based, questioning and description of phenomena related to crafts. Production of new knowledge, societal interaction, and national and international networking all play a major role. The Craft Teacher education comprises studies both in Craft Science and Educational Sciences (teachers’ pedagogical studies). The students will graduate with a Master’s degree and they will have a qualification to work as craft teachers in various levels of education.

Sirpa Kokko

Project Manager & Coordinator, University Lecturer, PhD, Adjunct Professor

Sirpa Kokko works as a University Lecturer at the University of Helsinki. Her main duties are teacher training in craft teacher education: lecturing of craft education to student teachers, supervising teacher training, supervising Barchelor and Master’s thesis. She has a long experience of craft education in different levels of education; primary, secondary, class teacher and craft teacher education. In addition to working experience in Development cooperation, she has been involved in teacher and research cooperation with several European art and craft universities. She has conducted research on various topics of arts and crafts and craft education; gender, cultural heritage and current developments of craft education.

Mari Salovaara

Researcher, Doctoral Student, MA, Craft Teacher

Mari started doctoral studies in 2016 and she is working on her doctoral dissertation in Handmade Wellbeing -project. The subject of her study is closely related to the project’s objectives; how to educate arts and crafts professionals to design and carry out craft activities in elderly care. Her interest in the possibilities of crafts with elderly and wellbeing derives from her Master’s thesis, in which she developed a handicraft-themed reminiscence box to be utilized in elderly care.  In addition to research, her main duty in this project is to arrange the craft workshops in care homes in cooperation with student teachers and staff. Mari has been involved in textile art projects and she has teaching experience in both comprehensive school and adult education.

Superact was founded in 2006 as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that uses creative engagement and the arts to develop and deliver a wide range of social impact projects. Based in the UK but with an international reach, Superact delivers creative interventions that make a positive difference in key areas of community development, skills development, employability and health and wellbeing.

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Through its work, Superact uses participatory arts based projects to improve lives by empowering individuals and strengthening communities. As an organisation, Superact promotes social inclusion, boosts employability and increases wellbeing by building the self-esteem and confidence of the people it works with. Our Project Managers specialise in the areas of health and wellbeing, the justice System, employability and personal effectiveness, self-employment, NEETs, physical and mental disability and with the elderly in dementia settings. Combining creative flexibility, experienced arts management staff and an extensive roster of professional artists, Superact has a proven track record of delivering projects that have significant social impact at home and abroad.

A significant number of Superact’s projects are conducted in healthcare settings, including hospitals and care homes. The arts are used in these environments to enrich the lives of the people being cared for, both through performance and participatory activities. Superact believes strongly in the empowerment of individuals who may be socially excluded and we are committed to training our artists in empathy and with a client centered approach. Our artist training program has been developed over a number of years and now welcomes artists from across the UK, Europe and internationally.

Handmade Wellbeing Janine Stedman

Project Manager

Janine Stedman is a Project Manager for Superact. She has worked in the UK education and social services sectors for over thirty years.  Janine believes in life-long learning and that people should have the opportunity to enjoy meaningful activities of their own choosing.

In her former lead activities role in a Somerset care home Janine worked on the premise that emotional and physical wellbeing were inextricably linked. This led her to rethink the activities programme, encouraging all staff to get involved. Family members were invited in and a dynamic Friends Group was created. This inclusive approach harnessed previously unknown skills in colleagues and fostered a sense of belonging. The concept of ‘home’ meant so much more.

Janine now works independently in the South West, running sessions in care settings and memory clinics, training staff and supporting families living with dementia. She is a member of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance.

Janine adopts a person-centred approach starting with conversations about an individual’s life history. This leads to the key question, “What would you like to do now?”  She has seen how artistic activities in care settings enhance self-esteem and identity.

Janine is committed to her role as Handmade Wellbeing Project Leader and has been mentoring and supporting Trainee Artists as they learn how to plan and adapt sessions in a variety of care settings.

KUNSTLABOR Graz is a part of uniT-arts association at the Karl Franzens University Graz.  It consists of a multidisciplinary team of artists from various disciplines (film, photography, fine arts, dance and theater), psychologists, education experts and scientists. KUNSTLABOR Graz engages into everyday life, keeps in touch with social and educational issues, intervenes and encourages participation. It provides space to show how unique people are, allowing for joyous encounters and to collaborate artistically, to live and make things happen. They bring people together, beyond the means of language and analytical thinking, which makes it especially inviting for the target group, elderly.

Kunstlabor Graz

The KUNSTLABOR Graz addresses elderly people, youth and migrants. Since 2004 the Kunstlabor team has launched a lot of artistic projects for elderly people in elderly care homes and in cooperation with communities and other stakeholders as well as with international partners. For this kind of projects specially qualified artists are required. uniT offers tailored educational programs in order to train these artists.

One of uniT`s projects with elderly people was chosen as nationwide good practice example by the most important government- related health care institution in Austria “Fonds Gesundes Österreich”. Edith Draxl, the artistic director, was announced  as  “Botschafterin des Alters”  (ambassador for the elderly) by the ministry for social affairs because of the work of uniT in this field. uniT has been nominated numerous times for the “Staatspreis für Erwachsenenbildung” (national award in adult education) for their achievements regarding the artistic approach in this field.

Edith Draxl

Edith Draxl is the artistic director of uniT. She is a theatre director and dramaturg, as well as a psychologist. She has been working in adult education and as a lecturer at the University of Teacher Education Styria for several years. She has vast experiences in the field of European and international cooperation and in leading projects, which link health/social care and the arts. She is currently working as an advisor of the cultural department of the Styrian government and of the national adult education department. The quality of her numerous intersectional projects using an artistic angle in the work with elderly people has been widely recognized. She was announced as an “Ambassador for Elderly People” by the Austrian ministry for social affairs.

Ludwig Zeier
Ludwig Zeier

Ludwig Zeier is a psychologist, psychotherapist and advisor for organisational development. He is working as a lecturer for communication and supervision at the Karl-Franzens University Graz, the University of Education Styria and the University of Applied Sciences. Starting with his doctoral thesis he focussed on the meaning of creativity, theatre and role-play for development of personal identity and a fulfilled life. He is the CEO of uniT and participates as project manager in the Handmade Wellbeing project. He will also contribute to the conceptual design of the Austrian workshops and the intellectual output of the project.

Andrea Fischer
Andrea Fischer

Andrea Fischer is a professional costume and fashion designer and was working at well-renowned German and Austria stages and for the festivals “Wiener Festwochen” und “Steirischer Herbst” for several years. She has been working as a member of the uniT KUNSTLABOR team in intersectional artistic projects with elderly people since 2007. For her work at the interface of arts and health / social care, she received special training in adult education.

Madeleine Lissy

Madeleine Lissy is a choreographer and dance – therapist. She has been working at the healthcare – system for 20 years. She is still working with creative methods at a day care center for people suffering from psychiatric disease. In her work she has gained a lot of experience in using artistic and creative methods. She has been working as a member of the KUNSTLABOR Graz team of uniT in intersectional artistic projects with elderly people since 2006.

Jenny Brandner
Jenny Brandner

Jenny Brandner is an artist in textile and visual arts. She is still working in design and architecture.

She is also making artist workshops in schools and for different people. The artistic issue  of her work mainly refers to space, body and social interaction. She has been working as a member of the KUNSTLABOR GRAZ team of uniT in projects with elderly people since 2007.

Andreas O. Brandner
Andreas Brandner

Andreas O. Brandner is an architect and art photographer. He thinks about social life and how to form the room for it. From more than 30 buildings he has realised, many are made from ecological materials like straw, hemp, wood, clay and lime.

In his photographic documentation of art projects he focuses on his view on how to form well.

He is a newcomer in the KUNSTLABOR GRAZ of uniT in the project with elderly people.

University of Tartu’s Viljandi Culture Academy (UT VCA) is one of the four colleges of UT. The academy provides applied higher education and has offered a specialized culture education since 1952. The UT VCA offers graduate and undergraduate study programmes in such fields as theatre and dance arts, Estonian native crafts, music (jazz, traditional, pedagogy), sound engineering, leisure-time manager-teacher and culture management. Besides the theoretical knowledge, our graduates obtain practical experience which enables them to have a steady position for entering labour market.

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The main partner of the project is department of Estonian native crafts. The mission of the department is to promote values that strengthen and renew Estonia’s regional and native traditions and identities, reintegrating traditional handicraft techniques with contemporary environments. The department offers an applied higher education within the fields of Estonian native textile, construction and metalwork.

Previous projects of the department have focused on the further development of regional entrepreneurship activities in the field of inherited crafts. Our purpose is to use the cultural higher education potential to promote new working fields and opportunities. For example, we participated in the project “Integration of senior master craftsmen into the labour market” (01.06.2012–30.09.2013) funded by Innove Foundation. The major aim of the project was to qualify work force in the creative industry: we conducted handicraft and entrepreneurship courses to unemployed and non-active people. As a result, a network of subcontractors was created. It helped us to increase our production and competitiveness in the handicraft sector.

Ave Matsin

Ave Matsin received her degree as textile artist from Estonian Academy of Arts. Over last 15 years she has been the head of department of Estonian native crafts at UT VCA. She has developed 5 study programmes in craft teaching. She also led a development project to integrate unemployed and non-active elderly people into the labour market. Her doctoral research concentrates on archaelogical textiles.

Helen Kästik coordinates international projects in department of Estonian native crafts at UT VCA. As PhD- student in folklore studies at University of Tartu, her research focuses on knowledge production, flow of knowledge, representation and methodology of studying public folklore.

Kersti Rattus

Kersti Rattus is lecturer and painter. In 1994–1997 she worked in Estonian Academy of Arts; since 1995 in UT VCA.  Her works have been exhibited in nearly 30 solo exhibitions and nearly 50 group exhibitions in Estonia and abroad.

Eilve Manglus

Eilve Manglus is lecturer and programme director of Estonian native metalwork. She has studied design at Tartu Art School and recieved her BA and MA degrees from Estonian Academy of Arts as jeweller. Her main research interests include intersection of photography and jewellery.

Goldsmith and student of native metalwork at UT VCA.

Student of native textile at UT VCA.

Merilin Tönisoja studied jewellery at Estonian Academy of Arts. She is jewellery designer and lecturer of Estonian native metalwork at UT VCA.