Professor Harri Laakso appointed as Head of Department for the merging Departments of Art and Media

Professor Harri Laakso has been appointed to the position of Head of Department for the merging Departments of Art and Media of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Harri Laakso photo_Mikko_Raskinen
Photo: Mikko Raskinen

Professor Harri Laakso has been appointed to the position of Head of Department for the merging Departments of Art and Media of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The term of the position will be 1.1.2022 – 31.8.2024, as the terms of all Heads of Department in the School are tied to the term of the Dean.

Harri Laakso has an impressive and long career as a professor in both the current departments – and previous experience as Head of Department. He is Professor of Photography Research (Associate professor, tenured), and currently works mainly in the Department of Media but also in the Department of Art as well as the Department of Film, Television and Scenography. Previously he worked as Professor of Visual Culture and Art at Aalto University for 12 years.

Laakso's primary teaching and research interests are photographic images and theory, artistic research and word/image relations. He has led many research projects, including “Figures of Touch” (2009-2012), and recently was senior researcher in the "Floating Peripheries - Mediating the Sense of Place" project (2017-2021). In addition to his own art projects and publications, he has curated many exhibitions, e.g. co-curating the Falling Trees exhibitions in the Finnish and Nordic Pavillions at the Venice Biennale (2013).

Harri Laakso received wide support from both departments when faculty and staff were asked for nominations for the position.

”I try to approach the merger of the Departments from a passionate but practical point of view. I want to be building on existing strengths, encouraging the exploration of new areas of interest that will surely emerge and focusing on a well-managed transition period that will land the faculty of both departments on the right track forward. The transition requires simultaneous attention to putting the new organisational structures and processes in place and creating an environment of trust and appreciation for the faculty and their areas of expertise”, Harri Laakso says.

“I have all the confidence that with Harri’s leadership the transition of the two departments into one will be a great success. I warmly welcome Harri to this important position and to become member of the leadership team”, says Dean Tuomas Auvinen.

”At the same time I want to sincerely thank everyone who was willing to take this important and demanding role. We had excellent candidates to choose from – and hope to have their continued input and expertise in the process in other ways. Furthermore, I want to convey my sincere thanks to previous Heads of Department Kevin Tavin and Philip Dean who have decided to step down from the positions. Both of their consistent work for the departments are greatly appreciated.”

The name of the new Department is likely to be the Department of Art and Media (Taiteen ja median laitos). The name received a lot of support from faculty and staff, and thus will be proposed to the President as part of updating the School Bylaws.

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