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Sohvi Sirkesalo

Senior Lecturer, International Coordinator at Tampere University of Applied Sciences


And the story begins...
I was born in a small paper industry town Valkeakoski, about 40 kilometers south from Tampere. Surrounded by many lakes and lovely countryside, all the summers during 1960's just swimming with my friends and cousins. Water and lakes have been important part of my life ever since and I don't feel well if I can't swim regularly.
My father is a paper engineer and started to teach in vocational schools. He is a mobile person, so we moved from one paper industry town to an another all through my childhood. That made me very social - I had to find new friends in the beginning of every school year. My family background is mainly in literature, books and stories, music only from the radio!

When I was young I wanted to be an actress, I loved theater and American musicals, so I went to tap dance lessons to become The Gene Kelly of Finland. During the geography lessons I decided to study to become a geography teacher, because I thought that they have to travel to all the countries to be able to work as a teacher.

I was writing poems and loved to read, so I went to university to study literature and dramaturgy. The same year I started my career in media as a host in children's program in Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE (for Finnish readers: it was Pikku Kakkonen!). Then I got a position in the entertainment department in YLE and continued making programs in both TV and radio, from culture to sketch, rock and pop and night radio, directing short documentaries on Finnish tango, folk music and for ex. samba schools in Tampere. During late 1980's we shot in Provinssirock, a big rock festival, where I met artists like Iggy Pop and Ry Cooder and bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Fine Young Cannibals and The Ramones (the original one!) - that's my street credibility!

When 1990's start, my daughter was born and I went back to university to finish my studies. Instead of a getting the MA in Literature, I found new area: multimedia! I was one of the pioneers in Finland, the field was growing fast, universities started new programs for interactive media and I found myself in a position of Head of Multimedia department in Lahti Institute of Design in 1995. I was living in Tampere and then 1999 I was lucky to get a job in my hometown. I started in TAMK as a Lecturer in Interactive Media. About degrees... I made my Master of Arts in New Media in University of Art and Design in Helsinki (today Aalto University) in year 2006, 25 years after my first university studies!


My path to be the International Coordinator in TAMK Music is as twisty as my career - one coincidence leads to another.  I was involved in international projects already in Lahti Institute of Design, and soon I worked with several EU-projects in TAMK Media. My colleague Mr. Cai Melakoski was very active in international networks and he asked me to join. I was happy to travel to conferences and meetings, I enjoy networking and when since 2009 I started to organize the international week of Media and Art. When Cai retired, he asked me to continue with the international relations so since 2013 I have been the IRC.
I had a job alternation week in year 2015-16, and when I returned Degree Program in Music needed a new International coordinator, so here I am!


I started as a teacher in a totally new field at that time, hypermedia, multimedia, internet - all was new! It was great to learn and explore those new things together with my students. That is still my passion - I love to see how the young people search and find their own enthusiasm and own career. I want to motivate them to be open-minded and curious. I don't want to push them just to finish their degree and get out of university as soon as possible, so I am working against all the official regulations. I want to show to these young talented persons that they can do it! They are excited to make art, movies, music and excited to explore new ways, new directions, also to go abroad to find new places, new people, new landscapes. I want to teach them to be brave and understand the importance of multicultural communication and competences.

Now I study again and I am planning to leave the university, maybe even during next year. I want to go to new directions, too. I am writing this (way too long) text in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. I am half-work, half-holiday, participating the WOMEX festival but not the conference - only concerts! Meeting new people, learning new cultures, singing and playing together - making the world a better place!



AEC / IRC meetings are nice highlights of my job! Here the jazz cruise in Prague, September 2019


Enthusiasm in Spanish & South American culture! Here in Cadiz, participating the Carnaval in February 2023.