Hearing Terhi Väänänen’s dream job just brings a smile on your face.
- I have said, tongue in cheek, that I want to become an “arts dictator.” And that’s what an arts manager basically is: a mediator between audience and artists.
Väänänen, who majored in Media Culture at Tampere University, applied to Helsinki Summer School 2006 to get some extra boost for her plans to apply to the Sibelius Academy to study at the Arts Management programme. Now it’s time to put plans into action. In addition to starting her studies at the Academy, Terhi has spent the past summer as an assistant at her former seat of learning, Helsinki Summer School.
- I really liked it in Summer School. The organisation and the social programme were quite convincing.
Väänänen also enjoyed the practical approach of the Introduction to Arts Management course.
- Group assignments and visits to art organisations, for instance to Kaapelitehdas and Kiasma, gave a taste of the practical side of the job.
This was the object of her summer job as well: with experience from both sides of the info desk, Väänänen knew perfectly well how to help the students.
- You are always free to come and ask. And you might want to check the e-mail lists. Thereby you find out, for instance, what’s going on in East Helsinki.
The Arts Management programme has been on the curriculum at the Sibelius Academy for 10 years and the field is still forming. Some work almost without any formal training. But why does an “arts dictator” need more schooling? Isn’t one degree enough?
- First I thought it was just a big joke studying for a Master of Music degree. But now that I have a degree in Media Culture, I want to learn the business side of the art world, says the future double master.
The field has to balance constantly between art and money. Public funding for arts management is on the decline and the pressure is high. Higher education in the field enables in Väänänen’s opinion more of a long-term perspective, but you still acquire your professional skills in practical work.
- But you don’t have to learn everything the hard way. And with two degrees you might have better chances to get a position directly in administration or management.
The only thing that terrifies Väänänen is the thesis: last time around it was such a big effort. This time she plans to concentrate more on practice.
- Cultural export is what interests me. I have been thinking of producing my thesis more in connection with practical work.
Text by Kai Maksimainen
Photo by Annika Rauhala