Jyväskylä is a city in the middle of Finland with about 140 000 inhabitants and a student population of 15 000. The University of Jyväskylä was originally designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1950s, but has since then been reconstructed and extended.
I personally visited the Faculty of Education and in particular the department of Crafts Education. For 5 days (2nd - 6th Nov.) I was able to gain insight into Finnish Crafts Education, in schools and at the university.
On Monday I met Ulla Kiviniemi in the modern, newly constructed building “Ruusopuisto”. The building features generous common areas for students, bright rooms, well-equipped seminar rooms, a large cafeteria, publicly available computers and much more.
On Tuesday I was able to sit in on a textile design and a technical crafts lesson for fifth graders in the practice school. All children from the first to the fourth grade have compulsory crafts lessons in both areas, later they can choose one of the two subjects. Currently, the Finnish government discusses the merging of both subjects on primary level at schools and in teacher education.
On Wednesday I held my workshop for third year bachelor and master students with a major in Textile Crafts. The rooms and facilities for this course are more than well equipped, there is nothing left to be desired. Their equipment differs severely from that of the PH Wien, staring with the “kitchen” for colouring, printing, felting etc. equipped with sewing machines, overlocks, through large storage spaces, diverse material and working areas with computers to a small kitchen with a coffee machine and a dishwasher. In my daylong workshop I tried to introduce the students to new techniques such as “Schnurnähen” (cord sewing). They were very interested and eagerly sewed cord bowls.
On the next day I visited the Technical Crafts department. Here too, they had optimally equipped facilities, large common rooms, and modern computer work places and not to mention their modern machinery and large storage rooms. On Friday I attended Ulla’s knitting workshop.
It was interesting to learn that the maximum number of students per group is limited to 16. Ulla’s teaching work load is set to 420 teaching hours per year, complemented with additional routine work just like at the PH Wien. The salary is most likely the same as here.
Mag. Ursula Görlitz