The School of Arts, Design and Architecture (ARTS) annual Eloseminaari was held at Gumbostrand Konst & Form on the 22nd of August 2018, opening the academic year in a traditional way at the Sipoo venue. Aalto Studios staff attended the seminar that’s program was built around the question “How can we empower and showcase our people?”. A variety of presenters across ARTS, led by Dean Anna Valtonen, discussed topics such as the new Väre building, community communications and marketing, and digital communications at Aalto. Some concrete tips on using video as a tool to showcase our people effectively and organizing successful events were provided to ARTS staff.

Effective communication tools

As the discussion evolved around communications and its digital tools, the program was naturally very fascinating to us at Aalto Studios. Aalto website, for example, is going through some major changes and improvements this fall. Some users have found the publishing system quite challenging. However, the feedback is now heard, and the website is soon built with modules that make it more user-friendly and accessible. The new site will be easily customizable with an option for social media sharing. It will also be easier to navigate around as related stories will be suggested to a reader. This will also help an administrator to reach the right crowd for events and news.

In her presentation, lecturer Anna Berg discussed the power of video in storytelling. She emphasized the importance of high quality, conciseness and using informative titles and keywords. Project coordinator Ida Laude continued from this with her presentation about events at Aalto. She listed many steps of organizing an event, with the key points being “create a master plan”, “look for inspiration from outside of your work”, “establish a budget” and “plan for the unexpected”. When planning an event at Aalto, it is beneficial to use resources across the whole university – reinforcing open communication and improving interdisciplinary functions at Aalto.

Teamwork for design thinking

The attendees were given plenty of free time to discuss the seminar topics and network with each other. Dean Anna Valtonen emphasized open communication and working together, as each individual at ARTS has unique ways of producing creative value. To support this idea, the seminar guests were divided into twelve smaller groups for a design thinking exercise. The objective was to come up with a creative way to improve lives of daily commuters in Helsinki area. The final innovations varied from realistic to silly, but it seemed like the exercise brought the community closer. If there was any tension to start with, it was all gone after the fun exercise.

Dean’s final thoughts

Dean Anna Valtonen seemed very content while Eloseminaari was coming to an end. “We have something special going on here at ARTS, and I am looking forward to get the new term really rolling soon. We are all trying to make ARTS staff and students feel at home at Väre, and improve the building to meet everyone’s needs”, Valtonen concludes. The new central location of Väre building right by the metro station will likely play a huge role in starting a new era at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture.