Friday, 27 November 2009

Greetings from Canada!

I have spent my autumn semester as an exchange student in Toronto, Ontario College of Art & Design on The Faculty of Art. Studying in another country has been an eye-opening experience that has helped me to concentrate to develop the content of my artistic work as much as improve technical part of artistic process.

Best part in my exchange has been interaction with the people from different cultures. An exchange has enriched my ways to express myself on the field of photography and refresh my perception through interesting conversations with other students and faculty members.

I have been also lucky enough to get some custom-works to do. That has really improved my financial situation.

Besides working in here I have continued my studies in Finland with art project Route Couture, which was part of AVO – Cotton Wool Revolution in Tampere 24.10- 22.11.09. Route Couture presented a fur-fashion collection made of the fur and skin of the Finnish roadkill. By showing the skin of a roadkill as an expensive piece of high fashion, Route Couture questioned general opinions on beauty, luxury, marketing values and truths, and justification of the use of “common” space.

Karoliina Paappa

Read more about the exhibition:

Route Couture (in English)
Article on Fifi (in Finnish)

Picture: Series: Tyttö on kova suustaan, untitled, 2009.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Pre-task for Media Programme Application Now Online

Next application time for our BA programmes run in English is January 11 - February 12.

For the Media Programme it is not enough that applicants fill in the online form and send the certificates, they also have to complete and send by the deadline a pre-task with three assignments.

60 applicants with best points for the pre-task are invited to the entrance exam in April.

The focus of the programme is in interactive media content design and production. The students learn about current digital media issues and they specialise in visual design, interaction design or project management.

The areas of application include web design and services, games, mobile media, multimedia, cross media and interactive installations.

The Degree Programme in Media started this autumn at TAMK School of Art and Media. The working language of the programme is only English. The first edition of students are coming from China, Iran, Peru, South Africa, Greece, Serbia, UK and most of them from Finland. The programme is also known as IMP.

Download the pre-task
Media Programme home
Media Programme blog
TAMK Admissions website

Picture: A tag cloud based on interests and dream jobs of the present Media Programme students. (Design by

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Knowledge Sharing across Cultures – a personal view of Debby Swallow’s presentation

Why is it that serious attempts at sharing knowledge across cultures frequently end in frustration, disappointment and a sense of aggrievement on all sides?

According to Dr Deborah Swallow, who gave a presentation at TAMK on November 16th, the problem is that people from different cultures have fundamentally different beliefs about the proper roles of bosses and subordinates, teachers and students, and even about the nature of knowledge itself.

Dr Swallow is a leading expert on intercultural communication and cultural diversity in the modern workplace. Drawing on research in the fields of intercultural communication and knowledge management, Debby Swallow presented two alternative sets of knowledge-related concepts. Both sets, she emphasised, are valid within certain cultural settings, but neither of them can be easily transferred to another culture. To prove the point, Dr Swallow enlivened her presentation with numerous stories of knowledge-sharing failures in families, in businesses, and in marketing communications.

But there were success stories, too. Debby Swallow reminded us that in the 1980’s, for most people a telephone was as mobile as the length of its wires allowed. But in 1987, Nokia enjoyed a marketing coup when Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the (then) Soviet Union, was photographed in Helsinki using a Nokia mobile phone to make a call to Moscow. The picture appeared in newspapers around the world, and thus a new concept - “mobile phone” – was created in the minds of millions.

But what can we, in the serious business of intercultural education, learn from master marketers?

Well, as teachers, we need to realise that ideas like “critical thinking is good”, “plagiarism is bad” (and many others) are elements of our own particular brand of education. For students who join us from very different educational traditions, such brand-related concepts may need to be created from scratch.

Secondly, even when foreign students are aware of our brand, they will naturally prefer their own. So if we believe our brand has merit, we need to promote its consumer benefits vigorously.

Finally, if we ever venture into foreign markets (as exchange teachers, for example), we should not expect our brand to be universally admired and appreciated. The most successful brands, from Nokia to Coca Cola, are customised for each local market.

Ann Seppänen

Pictured: Deborah Swallow
Photo: Kaisa Kukkonen

Monday, 23 November 2009

Greetings from Wales!

Greetings from rainy but beautiful Wales! I’m in the University of Glamorgan, in the Pontypridd campus!

I’ve been here for over 3 weeks now (time certainly flies!), doing research about e-learning and group work, both in e-learning environments as well as in more “traditional” learning contexts. I’ve interviewed several local teachers who use group work in their teaching, both on-line and in classroom situations. I’ve also given a questionnaire for a group of students, and the aim is to have the same questionnaire completed by a group of TAMK students next year as well, so we can see if there are any cultural differences in the way students do group work. In addition, I’ve shared my own experiences in e-learning with the local staff, and have learned a lot from their experiences.

So, I’ve spent my time here writing research and just getting to know the life in Wales and living in the campus. Although it has rained quite a bit, there have been several beautiful days here as well! The month has gone by really quickly, so it’s really hard to imagine I’ll be coming back home in about a week or so! I really need to come here again, in order to continue my research and to meet the wonderful people again!

Welcome to the 1st meeting for TAMK's own ecological school garden -project

The day is set, the time is set, now it is time for you to set your minds for a


esday, 25th of November, at 17.00 in TAMK at B6-33

Absolutely everyone is welcome, you can also bring friends with you if you want, this is going to be fun!

What we are going to do is to plan a school garden where we students, especially the ENVEs but I don't see a reason why others cannot join, will have the chance to grow our very own, ecologically correct food, where we can spend some time outside, where we can try out everything we want (first ideas are rainwater harvesting system, own ecological fertilizer, permaculture, garden on the roof...), where we can relax and follow our roots and dig in the mud.

The end of the ready packed carrots and salads has come! No imported food anymore, no unknown chemicals in our meals!

This first meeting will be for gathering ideas, sharing knowledge, and setting up a first timeplan and a strategy. I am more than willing to put lots of energy into this project, but I cannot do this by myself, so I need every single one of you!

The planning period will be during the winter so that we can start in springtime to get into action.

So put your rubberboots on and get ready for next Wednesday!

I cannot wait to hear what ideas you all have!

post by Magdalena, student at TAMK, IENVE08

pictures: Aino-Maija Kyykoski
picture above from organic apple farm Hostetin, Czech
picture below from permaculture and organic farm, Taranaki Environment centre, New Zealand

Friday, 20 November 2009

Study trip to St. Petersburg: 29.10.2009 – 01.11.2009

St. Petersburg, located on the Neva River, is the most northern city with more than 1 million inhabitants of the world. Founded by Tsar Peter te Great, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years. After Moscow it is the country’s second largest city with 4.6 million inhabitants. St. Petersburg is a major European capital of culture and trade. With its historic centre and monuments the city constitutes an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And within this beautiful historical city the eight participants of this year’s student trip to Russia were having a great time full of culture, business schedules and nightlife.

The participants were from IB, LIKO as well as exchange students from 8 countries: Tuire Viita-Aho, Magdalena Pichler, Kaja Voigt, Valeria Agafonova, Henri Memonen, Anne Moerman, Ivana Matysikova, Jinsung Seo, and their teacher Mikel Garant.

During the course, the students got acquainted with each other as well as Russian culture in general. The course focus was on business culture and the business environment in Russia.

The students got a closer look to the impressing culture while visiting the Hermitage, Yusupov’s Palace, the Peter & Paul Fortress and the remarkable St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Also, some went to the Marinsky Theater for Ballet, others went to the Jazz Philharmonic in addition to having many other cultural experiences.

But the trip was not just about admiring the city; it was also for understanding the Russian business culture. Therefore, the students first met Snezhana Alexeeva and Juha Ruosteenoja, managers from the Sokos Hotel Vasilievsky. First they saw the whole hotel and afterwards Mr. Ruosteenoja explained his experiences of establishing, running, and marketing a Finnish company in St. Petersburg. The visit was both enjoyable and enlightening.

Later, there was a meeting with Natalia Yakovleva, head of finance department TNB-line – a shipping freight forwarding company, as well as with the guest speakers Evgeny Bogdanov, Sergei Kaparis and Anton Pavlov from Rumpu Consulting - a closely-knit team of engineers with their precise specialization in different construction areas: from architecture to engineering.

The round-table discussion was a very interesting and informative conversation in the hotel’s 8th floor with a great view to the city. It focused on the reality of doing business in contemporary Russia. The students learned a great deal from the guest speakers and some were interested in doing their study or work exchange in Russia as a result.

Aikamatkat handled the travel arrangements. Fortunately, there were no emergencies in St. Petersburg – but they were there – just in case. They helped with the visa and information about the city before the journey and arranged the cultural program. They did everything very well.

Mike Garant also met Daria Kozlova from Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University to discus the West Finland FIRST intensive study program in St. Petersburg planed for spring 2010 as well as future cooperation.

The group came back to Finland on the 1. November – all excited and happy about this unforgettable trip to the amazing city of St. Petersburg.

By: Kaja Voigt

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Hello from EUROPRIX Festival, Graz

EUROPRIX Multimedia Festival, now third time in ever so wonderful and hospitable Graz, was once again unforgettable. Populated by members of the 20 nominee teams, digital media industry representatives, lecturers and students the three days were filled with energy and creativity plus all other fun stuff.

On Thursday the festival was opened at the regional TV-station with an exhibition of nominee projects and get-together. Friday morning I participated in a project consortium meeting, and then moderated the Academic Lounge with my friend Jak Boumans, secretary general of European Academy of Digital Media. We had most awarding discussion and networking with colleagues from universities cross Europe.

In the afternoon we joined other festival participants for the "4 SCREENS 4 YOU CREATING CONTENTS" event with inspiring keynotes by Alois Ferscha (Research Studio Pervasive Computing), Juha Kaario (Nokia Research Centre), Charly Pall (Google) and Madanmohan Rao (Mobile Monday Global), moderated by Latif Ladid (IPV6 Forum) and tasted with excellent discussion.

Friday evening we opened another nominee project exhibition at Kunsthaus Graz, then young people disappeared to Graz by night and elderly gentlemen like me went to hotel.

Saturday was the most important part of the festival. All day long we saw the nominee teams present their projects. This has always been the most giving content for me; after having seen all the entries already during the jury work and having fell in love with a number of them it is a hilarious experience to see the young talents showing them alive.

Saturday evening witnessed the most exiting part of the festival: The EUROPRIX Awards gala. The winners this year are:
  • Online/Web projects: Donkeypedia, Netherlands
  • Mobile applications: Showtime!, Austria
  • Games: Swords & Soldiers, Netherlands
  • Category Interactive Computer Graphics: Vuvox, Israel
  • Content Tools & Interface Design: Flow-er, Israel
  • Interactive installations: Akustisch, Switserland
  • Digital Video & Animations: Desconstruct, a stereoscopic experiment, Germany
Overall winner: Swords & Soldiers, Netherlands

The Special Award for the project with the best business potential went to (Finland), and The Adventures of Tinger (Germany) got the Special Jury Mention for a game with a high level of interactive storytelling.

Donkeypedia also won the Nokia Ubimedia MindTrek Award in October.

More info about winners and nominees (
More about EUROPRIX in the School of Art and Media blog

During the festival it was also agreed that the cooperation between EUROPRIX and TAMK School of Art and Media will be continued in many ways. EUROPRIX will be present at our International Week and Tampere Art Factory Festival in May.

Pictured: The team (Finland) was awarded with The Best Business Potential Award, from left to right Antti Ala-Ilkka, Mikko Nurminen, Kimmo Pekari

Friday, 13 November 2009

Trans Atlantic Paper Science – thoughts of the students participating in the dual degree

TAMK University of Applied Sciences together with other European and US partner universities received EU-US Atlantis funding for 2008-2012 to implement a Trans Atlantic Paper Science (TAPS) dual undergraduate degree. This project gives students and faculty members a unique opportunity to study global paper science through international collaboration. Total duration of an exchange is one year. A dual Bachelor of Science degree, emphasis on Paper Science, will be awarded after completion of TAPS requirements.

This year three Finnish students left for US to attend the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UWSP) to study in this new dual degree. While these students left for new adventures abroad, two students from Wisconsin UWSP arrived to the chilly Finland, and began studies at TAMK. Below is a short report on what feelings this cross-cultural opportunity has raised in the students from Finland and US.

The students were asked four questions to further describe the feelings of living in a foreign country and city, but also to get an idea of how the studies at TAMK are compared to the studies at UWSP.

Katherine Mess and Stephen Chastain were interviewed at TAMK, they both seem to like Finland and enjoy the culture and customs of the Finnish people. Studies
at TAMK differed from their home studies to some extent, but all in all they both seemed to be quite happy with the education at TAMK.

How have you liked the studies here at TAMK? Have the courses for example been as you expected before hand?

Katherine Mess: “They told us before coming over to expect a lot of group work, and a lot less homework with fewer tests. I think we have found that to be true. It is quite different from what we’re used to, and it works well except when it comes to test time and a LOT of material is covered on one exam.”

Stephen Chastain: “I think I have enjoyed my studies so far. The classes were a little intimidating at first because I have only had a few classes for my major back home and the students here seemed to know so much more than me. But, I am catching up now. Having hardly any homework and only having 1 or 2 exams is strange for me. I’m not sure I like that.”

What do you think of TAMK? (in general)

Katherine Mess: “It’s nice to have all classes in the same building, so you do not have to go outside. The feeling of community within the University is very nice as well.”

Stephen Chastain: “I really enjoy TAMK. There are more student activities going on here. Of course, it may just be because I am in a new place so I am looking for things to do. Overall I really enjoy going to school here. Then there’s the overalls. Those things are awesome. Hopefully mine will arrive soon. It’ll be great.

What do you think of free-time activities or free-time in general in Tampere and TAMK?

Katherine Mess: “There’s not a lot to do, but the International club does a good job of organizing activities around the community.”

Stephen Chastain: “I think the free-time activities are great. There’s always so much to do and it’s always entertaining.

How do you feel about the Finns and Tampere? (culture etc…)

Katherine Mess: “The Finns I have talked to have all been very nice. Overall they are quite reserved, but that lifestyle fits well with my personality, so it hasn’t been very hard to adjust. One of the hardest things for me to adjust to is the different food.

Stephen Chastain: “I really enjoy the Finns. They are polite. But best of all, they are quiet. I enjoy silence every now and then, but it’s hard to find that in America. I fit in a little better here than I do back home. Pretty sure I was supposed to be born in Finland.”

The students that left TAMK to study at UWSP were also interviewed via email. They were asked the same questions as Katherine and Stephen, just turned around to get a picture of their feelings towards UWSP studies and the American culture. Here are the answers of two of them.

How have you liked the studies at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point? Have the courses for example been as you expected before hand?

Timo Vartiainen: “I must say that the structure of the studies is way different here than at TAMK. We have a lot of homework assignments compared to the amount we have in Finland. On the other hand we don’t have as much actual lessons. On a usual day we only have 3 hours of school. Still it is difficult to get everything done.

Tomi Harjula: “It has been very challenging to keep up with this rhythm here. The whole structure is more or less similar to a Finnish University, not like a University of Applied Sciences, so we have very few lessons and a lot of things to do on our own time. But it’s getting better all the time, it is just about getting used to it. Otherwise this has been amazing. All the things we can do with the paper machine are super cool, and in general, this has been great. All the teachers have been very supporting and we have not had any problems so far, although the language is another big challenge.”

What do you think of Stevens Point? (in general)

Timo Vartiainen: “Stevens Point is a relatively small town, a lot smaller than Tampere but it has all the utilities you need.”

Tomi Harjula: “Stevens Point is one of the nicest cities I have ever been to. It’s a small town, so there’s not so much to see or do, but it’s very safe, close enough to big cities and people here are super friendly. A beautiful countryside town, which has a great small brewery.”

What do you think of free-time activities or free-time in general in Wisconsin and at Stevens Point?

Timo Vartiainen: “The opportunities to do sports are really good and the facilities are in topnotch, which you can’t say about TAMK. Bigger cities like Madison and Milwaukee are only a few hours drive away so you can easily go to those cities on weekends if you feel that Stevens Point is getting too small.”

Tomi Harjula: “Free-time activities are very well organized. There’s an intramurals league for students in almost every sport you can name. Basketball, football, softball, volleyball, badminton, racquetball, bowling, pool. etc. etc. I personally have spent a lot of time on climbing wall, which is also free for students. And then there is theater, movie theater, all kinds of arts etc. etc. The list is endless, and you can really blame yourself if you get bored.”

How do you feel about the Americans and Wisconsin? (culture etc…)

Timo Vartiainen: “I think the culture is quite the same. Even the weather is alike. The only difference I’ve noticed is that people are more open and easier to approach than Finns. And it’s really difficult to find decent food around here.”

Tomi Harjula: “America seems to be a nice place. Wisconsin is in the countryside of a huge country, and people are like you expect them to be on a country side. Friendly and open, but not so open-minded. The only thing that really bothers me is that crap they called food here.“

Over all the individuals taking part in the TAPS dual undergraduate degree program seem to be pleased with it. This opportunity will give un-measurable international experience to the students and also give them a great deal of knowledge as teaching methods differ between the schools.

Photo: Katherine Mess (left) and Stephen Chastain (right).

Students from UWSP currently studying at TAMK.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Nordic Climate Day at TAMK November 11

Wednesday November 11, TAMK’s Environmental Engineering students are hosting a Nordic Climate Day to precurse the UN’s Copenhagen Climate Summit in December.

With a guest speaker, environmental films and students presentations, the day events are intended to create greater knowledge and awareness about climate change.

So if this gets you hot and heavy, in the spirit of global warming join us. You never know – it might be fun.

Sidney Kitchen

More detailed info on Globe's blog

Nordic Climate Day

Workshop in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

The lecturers and the students of our partner Hanze University Academy of Popculture in northern Netherlands have given already two workshops at TAMK School of Art and Media.
Now it was finally time for the return visit. We are happy to present a photo gallery and below it the report, both made by Veera Niemi.

Wall art at Academie voor Popcultuur

Planning the installation

Installation "Brick by Brick"

Installation "Brick by Brick"

Jussi Autio, Satu Leskinen, Joonas Tikkanen, Veera Niemi and Jori Kemppi, part of the installation

We arrived in Leeuwarden Monday last week after travelling roughly 6 hours. We took lodgings at our hosts and got acquainted with the city.

On Tuesday our workshop started with brief introductions although most of us had already met in Tampere in May during the VJ-workshop arranged in connection to our Tampere Art Factory Festival.

We started reflecting the similarities and differences between Holland and Finland, searched exemplary materials on the Internet. Finally - inspired by our city tour the previous night - we ended up with the installation "Brick by Brick".

In the installation we would use materials filmed and recorded in advance in Finland and new stuff from Leeuwarden, additionally photos and music from both countries.

Our group members found easily the different roles: Jori mixed a mash up of the music, I made sound scapes, Jussi illuminated, Joonas and Satu joined their forces with Academy of Popculture students Richard, Gerrald and Willemijn for projections.

The installation was presented on Saturday on the Academy of Popculture open doors day. We got good feedback and lots of brilliant ideas for the future.

The participants of the workshop were School of Art and Media theatre and event audio-visual design students Satu Leskinen, Jussi Autio, Joonas Tikkanen and Jori Kemppi and sound design student Veera Niemi, Academy of Popculture students Richard Toepoel, Gerrald van der Kolk, Willemijn van Arnhem, Bea Grootscholten and Jamila Faber.

With tired but happy regards

Veera Niemi (Sound Design 06)

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Ania Ciuba Made the Soundly Sleeping Dragon Web Site

A very international project at our university has turned out fine. Ania Ciuba from Poland, a multimedia student from our partner school SDE College in Odense, Denmark, made a web site for Tan Minh Single Woman's group, Vietnam, during her exchange period in our School of Art and Media.

The Tan Minh women are farmers, but as farming land is getting smaller and smaller, they have to arrange other forms of income. They have founded a cooperation to produce their first product, Soundly Sleeping Dragon silk sleeping bag liners.

CED, Coalition for Environment and Development (Ympäristö ja Kehitys ry. in Finnish) is a voluntary organization, which helps the Tan Minh cooperative in developing their business. The sleeping bag liners have become quite popular in Finland. To extend the sales with a online service a web site was needed.

The School of Art and Media promised to help CED with the web design, and Ania needed a topic for her thesis work. So many needs met and meshed with each other, and now the project is online.

"This project has taught me a lot about design, implementation and also about development work. I am still involved and enjoying it.", says Ania Ciuba about her experience. Ania has now graduated in Odense and moved to Helsinki, where she's working for a software development company.

Soundly Sleeping Dragon

Pictured: Ania Ciuba on the roof garden at TAMK School of Art and Media

Friday, 6 November 2009

International student exchange and practical training specified info’s for different degree programs

An info session about international exchange and practical training was held for the second year International Business students on Thursday 5th of November. In addition to practical matters, the lecturers discussed the reasons why internationalization is so important in professional and personal growth. Two IB students Perttu Noppari and Tuukka Jääskeläinen were also present to tell about their own exchange experiences.

There are also other info’s in line for different degree programs in the near future. For example second year Business Administration and Construction Management students will have theirs on Monday 9th of November.

Photo: Perttu Noppari telling IB students about his exchange in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Tampere - the Focal Point of Northern Europe

Where is Tampere? At the edge of the tundra? Why should one bother to move to Tampere to study or to do business?

Tampere is actually the central spot of Northern Europe. If you draw a circle with a radius of 1000 km, including the Baltic sea, Scandinavia, Finland, and northern Russia, your circle will hit the Russian capital Moscow, the Polish capital Warsaw, Rostock in Germany and Hammerfest in northern Norway. And there it is, the centre of this circle, Tampere in Finland.

This 1000 km circle includes capitals like Copenhagen (distance from Tampere 913 km), Oslo (726 km), Stockholm (394 km), Helsinki (160 km), Tallin (235 km), Riga (505 km), Vilnius (762 km) and Minsk (873 km). St. Petersburg (396 km) is really close.

Tampere is really accessible: Direct flights from Riga, Milan, Bremen, Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki, train from St. Petersburg and Helsinki, ferry + train from Tallin, Stockholm, Gdynia, Travemünde and Rostock.

Tampere is an attractive and international centre for students, 200 000 inhabitants and 40 000 students of higher education in four universities. The cultural life is rich, and the city is surrounded by beautiful lakes and forests.

Bachelor's Degree Programmes in English at Tampere University of Applied Sciences

Photo: The TAMK Degree Programme in Media and the proAcademy are located in Finlayson old cotton mill in the centre of Tampere