“Shared Joy is Double Joy” – "Cultural Sustainability and Communications” at Hanken fosters creativity of the students
The course "Cultural Sustainability and Communication" gave credits in English. The course was planned by Maria Asuncion Gajitos, lecturer at Hanken and Anni Pokki, professional pianist, alumni from Hanken and Foundation Officer for the University of the Arts Foundations.
“The pre-course survey revealed that many of the students have been involved in various forms of art: theater, choir singing, band performances, writing and so on. This was a course that provided new skills in reflection,” remarks Gajitos and Pokki.
Gajitos’ background is in the humanities and she believes that university education should offer a holistic opportunity for students to develop. One step towards this is to share expertise and contacts – “shared joy is double joy ", as Gajitos comments.
As a collaborative course, guests were invited to discuss visual art as a profession and its relation to business and sustainability. As a communications course, the assignments focused on the application of communication strategies learned from the basic business communication course.
A starting point for designing course where economics and art are combined was Hanken's 110th anniversary in 2019 where the theme was creativity. In addition, the books Out of Our Minds and The Way of Beauty and books by Dr. John Clammer were key sources of inspiration for Gajitos when she developed the course.
"The cultural dimension is also part of sustainability"
The course also discussed issues of cultural sustainability. It is one of the dimensions of sustainability that is not as much considered as the economic and ecological dimensions, that have received most attention, and the social dimension, which has been made visible above all by UNESCO.
“The cultural dimension is also part of sustainability and it is a dimension that can and should be developed everywhere. It is an engaging and positively strengthening impulse that makes society more beautiful and more humane,” Gajitos observes.
One of the team assignments was to design a poster for the SDG Week at Hanken. An example of an individual assignment was an art critique. External evaluators such as Hanken’s Programme Director, Professor Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, Sanchi Maheshwari, Hanken’s Social Responsibility Coordinator, and pianists Ossi Tanner and Silja Levander were invited to co-assess the works of the students.
The following visual artists were also interviewed by the students: Canal Cheong-Jagerroos and Sami Lukkarinen, whose art will be exhibited in Mänttä this summer. Renowned gallerist Kaj Forsblom also shared his insights and experience as a businessman in the field of art. A video of Johan Vestin describing the curatorship of the Art-in Residence exhibition was also part of the course.
“This time the course was focused on visual art. Originally, the course plan included a visit to galleries and museums, for example, Ilya Repin's exhibition at the Ateneum – something that did not happen during the course due to the corona restrictions. We plan that the course in the future could also include performing arts,” announces Gajitos and Pokki.