Student Stories

My story - Judit Kemppilä

Hi, I am Judit Kemppilä from the city of Helsinki, Finland. I am studying my first academic year in NoVA Master’s programme. My first BA is from the field of design, glass and ceramics as my main subject. At some point I realized that rather than objects, I want to design something else. My interest in people and communications led me to pursue another bachelor’s degree in Youth work and civic activities. Currently, I am working in an association where I am organizing clubs and camps to children and youths. I am also giving trainings for youths about leadership skills and creative methods.

My intention is to involve more art in my educational work. NoVA seemed like an interesting programme to study because of its focus on art education, internationality, and social change. In the future, I want to use my knowledge to help people to have better communicational skills. By that I mean that people would be more in contact with their emotions and needs, but also improve communication between individuals. Related to those themes I am very interested in using artistic, bodily methods, like movement and voice.

Last fall gave to our group solid theoretical background about art education. During this spring we have had the opportunity to work with Aalto students also from other departments in our entrepreneurship course. Overall, NoVA has offered a wonderful and diverse community, where we can learn a lot from each other.  And I think that is the best of all good things.

Judit Kemppilä profile
Judit Kemppilä

NoVA Master Student since 2020

Originally from Finland

My story - Laura Hasanen

My name is Laura and I’m a first year master’s student in the Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education program at Aalto University. After receiving a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, I worked as an art educator in a variety of different capacities. I’ve spent the last few years working in early childhood education developing arts based curriculum while also continuing my practice as a visual artist.

I was drawn to NoVA because of my interests in developing a deeper theoretical foundation in pedagogy and teaching practices. My research interest lies in learning environments and student centered learning. I came to NoVA with a curiosity for phenomenon based learning and how it is implemented in Finnish schools and curriculum. During my studies I’ve also become interested in critical and anti-oppressive pedagogies and the ways these can be used to create better learning environments for students. 

Laura Hasanen
 NoVA Master Student since 2020

Originally from United States

My story - Anna Lioliou

Hello, my name is Anna and I am currently studying in the NoVA master program. I received my BFA in Painting and Art History from Pratt Institute and my diploma in Art Education and Art History Education from Athens School of Fine Arts. 

My work moves between schools, communities, collectives, festivals, exhibitions and every day life. I am inspired by stories, experiences and our environments as materials for learning through participation. 

My studies have so far showed me how to be more critical and introduced me to beautiful research in the field. Through our classes, my interests became more clear and full of possibilities, specifically fusing feminism, public space and community in pedagogy and art education. I am interested in combining the above in challenging where and how knowledge can be produced. 

Some of the most valuable and important assets of the NoVA community and curriculum has been critical thought and the examination of the sociopolitical history that has informed our practices. 

NoVA seems like a space that is constantly ‘under construction’, allowing us to express ourselves, our deepest concerns and learn from each other’s experiences.

Anna Lioliou
Anna Lioliou

NoVA Master Student from 2020

Originally from Greece

My Story - Ieva Laube

Hei, I’m Ieva, and I’ve just finished the 1st year of master’s studies in NoVA!

I moved to Helsinki from Riga, Latvia, where I studied journalism at the University of Latvia, followed by design research, writing and criticism at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. For the past years I have been working in contemporary art education and arts publishing as part of the team of Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA). I’ve been the editor and co-author of several art publications, carried out artistic research and developed educational projects both within the art institutional and urban setting.


I decided to take on the NoVA program as I felt that the perception of what art education is and can be was quite conventional within the framework I worked in, and I wanted to change that. I was keen to learn new approaches, methods, and theories, and wanted to challenge my own practice and bring something valuable back home. I was drawn by NoVA’s transdisciplinary and critical approach to pedagogy and the focus on socially engaged art education practices.


During my studies I have become fascinated with uncovering feminist and critical pedagogies and learn more about social issues in art education. I have really enjoyed the collaborative and hands-on studying and the chance to design my own education projects. I’ve conceptualised an intergenerational residency for young people and seniors on Kuninkaansaari, worked with a team to design an AR experience for school children in Suomenlinna and developed and audio guide and a critical learning platform ‘Supermarket. The Museum of Consumerism’. I appreciate that even through these challenging times of the ‘new normal’, I’ve had the opportunity to design and lead workshops for children at the EMMA – Espoo Museum of Modern Art and develop street photography walks for the Finnish Museum of Photography during my internship there. But most grateful I am for the people, the collective mindset, and ideas this experience has brought me. 

Ieva Laube
Ieva Laube
NoVA Master Student from 2020

Originally from Latvia

My Story – Aryan Hasanvandi

Hello, I am Aryan Hasanvandi, I am originally from Tehran, Iran. 

As a self-taught visual artist, the subject of “learning” became interesting for me to explore and experiment with. To that effect my path led me to pedagogics.

I have completed my BA degree in industrial design. However, I ended up working in the fields of media and art education. Besides my personal artistic practices, I am also active as a freelance illustrator and nowadays I am more than before drawn to children’s media.

My passion is to teach art for people of different ages. I have been working as an art educator and facilitator with both children and adults at institute and private classes. My main focus is to explore ways of enhancing creative visualization by drawing and painting techniques.

I chose to continue my studies in NoVA MA programme to develop my competencies in pedagogy. In particular, I am interested in investigating teaching styles and pedagogies used in Nordic countries. Finland seemed an interesting place to start this journey of exploring the global phenomena of contemporary art education.

Currently I am working at European school of Helsinki (ESH) as an art teacher for after school activities. It is a great opportunity for me to work with primary students from different countries. I am organizing classes such as sculpture, drawing and painting, and visual storytelling. I am also collaborating with EMMA museum of modern art in organizing workshops for children and their parents.


My favorite course in NoVA was “Art Pedagogical Practices and Theories”. I found it really essential to learn more about different ways and approaches to the context of art pedagogy. At the end of the course, we were supposed to design a workshop based on our interested topic. Which made the whole learning process instructive and practical.

Aryan Hasanvandi
NoVA Master Student from 2020

Originally from Iran

My Story – Tytti Viljanen

I’m Tytti Viljanen, east-Helsinki born and now studying as a second year Master student in Nova. My background is in the field of media and production, as I’ve been working in radio and event production for more than 15 years. One particular project where I worked with disabled ppl and media production raised lot of questions on who is able to participate in society but also how does our brain functionality differ from the so called normal.

At the moment I’m combining studies and work, working as a Media education planning officer in National audiovisual institute. I’m very interested in the digital architecture we are currently living in/with. Especially computational thinking, not merely coding, but being able to understand and teach the structures that shape our daily basis. I got interested to deepen my knowledge on the creative pedagogy but also Nova has offered good insights on critical pedagogy as well as social issues and things like urban planning.


Classes so far have given me ideas, tools, insights ..and many good conversations because our group is wonderfully diverse. I love the fact that within our group students have different interests and I’m able to be a part of this multidisciplinary bunch.

Tytti Viljanen
 NoVA Master Student from 2020

Originally from Finland

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