The First Week at School

I am start­ing the first new series in A Mem­o­ry Lane to Ana­lyze the Phys­i­cal­i­ty. It is about the stud­ies I’ll do at Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts. More details of the study project here.

Start­ing the School series will con­cen­trate on shar­ing my begin­ning at Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts. I feel like that will be theme of at least the first few months, maybe the whole autumn. For a two-year pro­gram I won­der when it feels like I am actu­al­ly not “start­ing” any­more, but final­ly “doing” and “fin­ish­ing”. Most like­ly there will be anoth­er series when I have got over the first impressions. 

This post here is about my first school week. I tell what all hap­pened, and my per­son­al thoughts on it. In this post I con­cen­trate on the Start of the Autumn Term pro­gram and to the intro­duc­tion lessons that we got about the first actu­al course of the program.

Experiencing the First Week of School! 

I came to Stock­holm a week before the cours­es actu­al­ly began. I did this to have time to land to the city (as you might know: I believe to reserv­ing time to the process­es), and to par­tic­i­pate to the week-long Start of Autumn 2023 Pro­gram.

The intro week was fas­ci­nat­ing in many ways. I felt like it was an ease­ful way to briefly con­nect with oth­er per­form­ing arts stu­dents. I did also have time to rumi­nate all the infor­ma­tion I got and to inter­nal­ize it to some degree. I met the per­son­nel which felt nice: learned some of their names, roles, research areas and short glimpses to their per­son­al­i­ty. Now I have also my keys, know how to access the library and found out some ways on how to orga­nize food dur­ing the school days. The first week was a very suc­cess­ful week already with all the ‘soft’ infor­ma­tion I got!

Besides these per­son­al by-prod­ucts of the week, we had actu­al pro­gram dur­ing the week.

Intro Monday

Mon­day start­ed with a wel­com­ing speech by the vice-chan­cel­lor Paula Crab­tree. Fol­low­ing them a cir­cus artist and one of the doc­tor­al can­di­dates, Erik Åberg.

After the speech­es we got to learn a bit of the dif­fer­ent depart­ments, stu­dent unions and research depart­ment in prac­tice: a few tasters of the cur­rent works-in-pro­gress­es at dif­fer­ent depart­ments, I under­stood. The thing that I remem­ber best was the prin­ci­ples behind the work of the research depart­men­t’s doc­tor­al can­di­date Hen­drik Quast. They work with per­form­ers with and top­ics of chron­ic ill­ness­es. This top­ic was some­thing I am con­sid­er­ing with my own MA research project about phys­i­cal­i­ty. I could do well to remem­ber to fol­low Hen­drik’s work dur­ing the next few years, that is.


Tues­day was a day when we had our first actu­al les­son: an online lec­ture. After the morn­ing les­son, the after­noon pro­gram was two pre­sen­ta­tions about Equal Con­di­tions. First pre­sen­ta­tion was by Fri­da Wettmark. Then we had a stage deep­er ele­men­tary lev­el dis­cus­sion about racism lead by the uni­ver­si­ty’s advi­sor Anna Adeni­ji. I do under­stand that with this large a group we have to keep the train­ing at a very basic lev­el, and I still felt like there is an inten­tion for the uni­ver­si­ty to grow. As anti-racism is one of the Core Val­ues of IDC, I am glad that there might be oppor­tu­ni­ties to con­tin­ue the work also at this university. 


Wednes­day was short­er day focus­ing on the prac­ti­cal­i­ties and dif­fer­ent par­ti­tions of the orga­ni­za­tion. Besides the depart­ments of edu­ca­tion, there are report­ing struc­tures and oth­er prac­ti­cal stuff. 


The intro week’s Thurs­day was a long day. It com­bined anoth­er online les­son, and then… a four-hour set of lec­tures, pre­sen­ta­tions and final­ly a film.

The lec­ture was giv­en by a social antrophol­o­gist, schol­ar of reli­gion and pub­lic speak­er Bri­an Palmer. It con­sist­ed of exam­ples on how art might let us sit with huge top­ics. The tools of humour and beau­ty might even help sit with things like the loom­ing nuclear dis­as­ter. After that would have been the lec­ture by Char­lie Åström, but it was sad­ly cancelled.

After Bri­an’s lec­ture I had to take a per­son­al half-an-hour meet­ing for an upcom­ing Union event I am orga­niz­ing, so I missed part of the next pro­gram. When I came back to the lec­ture hall, I learned about the sys­tem cre­at­ed by researcher Lina Pers­son and pro­duc­er Lena Kempe. The sys­tem was a won­der­ful new online tool to esti­mate a film pro­duc­tion’s car­bon foot­print, I did get an intu­itive par­al­lel with EU-wide OIRA, that helps to plan the risk assess­ments of the pro­duc­tion. I feel like the impacts on well-being and envi­ron­ment are some­thing that we should always con­sid­er as respon­si­ble peo­ple work­ing on per­form­ing arts, and not mere­ly the cold, hard bud­gets of money.

After the lec­ture, we watched a film, After Work, which was a many-sided pre­sen­ta­tion around the idea of work. 


Fri­day was a day off, when I sat down to write the first draft of this post, and took my time to rest. I also got an idea that I should be actu­al­ly write some­thing about the prac­ti­cal arrange­ments. I am try­ing to be quite eth­i­cal here while bal­anc­ing the life neces­si­ties, my acces­si­bil­i­ty needs and fol­low­ing a very strict stu­dent bud­get. I am also quite curi­ous how these dif­fer­ent aspects of sus­tain­abil­i­ty will affect my work with­in my degree project. 

The First Course during the First Week

The first course we have is called Bod­i­ly and Vocal Prac­tices in the Per­form­ing Arts. We did go through the syl­labi, course plans, and study guide­lines for the course. We went through the elec­tron­ic libraries full of lit­er­a­ture, per­for­mance record­ings and oth­er won­der­ful mate­r­i­al we can use to do our future research. I felt that the ref­er­ence guides will help me to make even this blog clear­er: cur­rent­ly these are my own thoughts, but in the future, I plan to tell more of what has been done, and then I feel like refer­ring in a smart way might be a necessity.

We also got an inter­est­ing prepa­ra­tion task around map­ping our prac­tices that I will be telling more later.

Learning Outcomes

As a teacher, I was very inter­est­ed in the quick­ly-men­tioned learn­ing out­comes of the course, and the ped­a­gogy of the course and school in gen­er­al. Here are the learn­ing out­comes as they stand on our Study Guidelines: 

1. demon­strate the abil­i­ty to explain select­ed cur­rent prac­tices and the­o­ries relat­ed to bod­i­ly and vocal prac­tices with­in the field of per­form­ing arts;
2. using rel­e­vant tools, meth­ods and ter­mi­nol­o­gy, demon­strate the abil­i­ty to analyse and reflect on their own and oth­er people’s work and prac­tices relat­ed to bod­i­ly and vocal prac­tices;
3. demon­strate the abil­i­ty to con­tex­tu­alise and crit­i­cal­ly review their own work in rela­tion to select­ed the­o­ries and artis­tic approach­es relat­ed to bod­i­ly and vocal prac­tices; and
4. demon­strate the abil­i­ty to broad­ly artic­u­late and demon­strate how their own artis­tic approach can be fur­ther developed.

As far as I read these, every­thing is about explain­ing, about abil­i­ty to ana­lyze and reflect, abil­i­ty to con­tex­tu­al­ize and crit­i­cal­ly review and broad­ly artic­u­late and demon­strate. That is, the course will not be about tech­ni­cal skills that we learn but about the skills to under­stand the dif­fer­ent tech­ni­cal skills. This approach to work­ing feels very use­ful at this point of my career, and I feel like there has been sim­i­lar side­tracks in my pre­vi­ous studies.

With­in Novia Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences, at phys­i­cal the­atre pro­gramme, we had to artic­u­late a lot of the phys­i­cal prac­tices we use. Sim­i­lar­ly, with­in the ped­a­gogy degree at Novia, we worked with our exist­ing ped­a­gog­i­cal prac­tices. Final­ly, the Inti­ma­cy Direc­tor train­ing by Inti­ma­cy Direc­tors and Coor­di­na­tors did make me reflect on my own prac­tices from a eth­i­cal, tech­ni­cal per­spec­tive. To become the best Inti­ma­cy Direc­tor I can be, I have to keep on grow­ing and stay­ing accountable.

I am wait­ing eager­ly to see, how these are approached in practice. 

Examination Process

Anoth­er thing that inter­ests me cur­rent­ly is the exam­i­na­tion process. We have to both sub­mit a text and cre­ate a more per­for­ma­tive pre­sen­ta­tion. I will let you know more of these lat­er on. I have nev­er seen any­thing like that before, which makes me curi­ous of what I can pro­vide. When I am not look­ing for­ward to learn­ing new per­former skills, how the pre­sen­ta­tion should be.

Prac­ti­cal­ly, I am start­ing to get inter­est­ed in the pro­gram, and start­ing to under­stand how much work it will mean. I am also hon­oured to be here and to learn more with this won­de­ful cohort and these won­der­ful teachers.

The general impression of Stockholm University of the Arts

Dur­ing the first few days, I have start­ed to learn about the Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts, and the cam­pus on Val­hallavä­gen. There is a lot to still learn. Cur­rent­ly, I see very much poten­tial in the col­lab­o­ra­tions I can build with­in the struc­tures giv­en by this school.

As I just wrote to my Finnish col­league as they men­tioned want­i­ng to do MA pro­gram at some point:

– Tää Tukhol­man ohjel­ma on ylisi­isti tähän men­nessä, ja meinin­ki on aika siistiä. 😁

Which rough­ly trans­lates into “This progamme in Stock­holm has been more than cool this far, and the activities/attitude/people seem quite cool too.” And the smi­ley-face is quite a wide grin like in the attached picture.

I stand by these words: I sense a lot of poten­tial with­in Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts. Let’s see what kind of flower we are growing.

Juuso-Matias wearing a bright orange scarf and blue jacket, brown beard and long brown hair in front of a glass-building and a sign saying in mirror image: "Valhallavägen Stockholm University of the Arts, Stockholms Konstnärliga Högskola".

Juuso-Matias at Stockholm University of the Arts

Juuso-Matias forming a triangle with their hands

Juuso-Matias Maijanen

Author has a background in physical acting (Bachelor of Culture and Arts in Performing Arts) and theatre and drama pedagogy (Bachelor of Culture and Arts within Degree Programme in Music and Stage Art). They are also an intimacy director with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators Inc. with a 'certification pending status' and have a vast amount of training with dramatic combat.

Author is currently preparing for their degree projecct within is a MA student at Stockholm University of the Arts (starting autumn 2023) and looking for people to collaborate with.