Art, Education and Entrepreneurship course at Aalto University 2019, Photo: Enlighten Image: Jaeseong Park
Master’s Programme in
Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education
Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) educates professionals, practitioners and researchers on contemporary art and education, working with different audiences and communities, digital communication, and visual studies. The main objective of NoVA is to achieve knowledge and skills of the best Nordic values, research, and practices in visual studies and art education. NoVA provides pedagogical interaction skills for working in cross-cultural and international educational and communication environments. Project management and entrepreneurship training are important focus areas of the programme at Aalto University to ensure professional future work-life skills.
The studies qualify to continue research at the doctoral level.
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Focus areas of the studies
Visual culture developed in the Nordic region
This incorporates exploring creative and critical approaches to design and art making, coupled with a deep responsibility for openness, caring, and equality.
Critical pedagogy with social and cultural awareness
This stems from aspects of the highly valued Nordic education systems, emphasising democratic societies, egalitarianism, socially just pedagogical skills and practices, human rights and social and cultural sustainability.
Digital technologies in learning
Social and cultural competences in ICT & online communication are included to the programme as content and as pedagogical methods.
Contemporary art education
This includes project and problem oriented teaching, and collaborative and participatory based learning based on contemporary methods, and theories of art, pedagogy, and mediation.
Project management and administration
Engaging with communities, institutions and productions provide practical experience in project management, administration, entrepreneurship and finance of cultural and educational initiatives.
NoVA courses are mapped around three concepts: sights, sites, cites
Throughout the NoVA programme, students focus on the significance of “sight” in relation to theories, practices, and networks of visual studies. With the concept of ”site,” students investigate the geo-political and pedagogical dimensions of space, place, the public sphere, and private realms. And, students are provided with opportunities to critically reflect upon and synthesize previous experiences and knowledge as well as generate new knowledge through “citational” practices that draw upon existing social and cultural texts, theories, artworks, and research.
Studying in another Nordic university for one or two semesters is recommended. Alternatively, domestic or Nordic internship is a valuable study-option that provides students with hands-on experience in Nordic work-life. The current NoVA programme was developed in collaboration with three Nordic universities: Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland, Aalborg University, Department of Communication and Psychology, Denmark and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Sweden.
Each university has significant experience and capacity with art and/or media education at the national level. Competences between and among institutions offer a broad range of areas of study, including critical pedagogy and social and cultural awareness; contemporary art education, digital technology, and ICT; project oriented, collaborative, problem-based, and participatory-based work; sustainable development; intercultural and social entrepreneurship; and double perspective – combining theory and practice. NoVA international members cooperate in teaching, exchange program, and by organizing seminars and study trips.
Students that graduate from NoVA will have strong intercultural understanding and experiences, and knowledge of teaching practices and theories in different Nordic countries. Students may direct themselves toward teaching, producing, designing, guidance, and consultant tasks on different levels of schooling, or in the fields of art and visual and media culture, social sectors and corporate life. The degree alone does not qualify as teacher competency.
NoVA programme at Aalto University provides students with project management and entrepreneurships training and through elective studies (e.g. Nordic internship); students are able to deepen their expertise in relation to their background education and interest areas. Through research orientation of the programme, students are prepared for doctoral studies and for the possibility to continue their research profession.
Our Students' Stories
An aspect I appreciate most about being an exchange student at Konstfack University of Arts, Design and Crafts is the support and encouragement we receive from our professors regarding community involvement. Our studies here prompt us to explore an organization or event locally to apply to the material we are covering in our readings to relevant experience. I feel this local involvement is an especially important component of having an enriching exchange semester. The organizations I was advised to work with were so inspirational, truly a great fit for my interests, and have really helped to guide my future thesis project. Being on exchange at Konstfack has developed my research and networking skills and instilled the courage in me to continue pursuing international projects.
NoVa Master student from Aalto University