Mauri Ylä-Kotola
Humanist of the day

Mauri Ylä-Kotola

Mauri Ylä-Kotola, rector of the University of Lapland since 2006, studied philosophy at the University of Helsinki in the 1990s. After swiftly graduating, an interest in media studies took Professor Ylä-Kotola to Rovaniemi, where work as a part-time teacher progressed to a post as university lecturer and then to a professorship in media science.

Mauri Ylä-Kotola

Mauri Tapani Ylä-Kotola
Born September 18, 1971, Mikkeli

Master of Arts 1996, Licentiate 1996 PhD 1998 (theoretical philosophy), University of Helsinki

Rector, University of Lapland 2006–
Rector, 2006–06, Academy of Fine Arts
Dean, 1999–05, University of Lapland Faculty of Art
Professor of media science 1997–, University of Lapland Faculty of Art (leave of absence 2005–)
Lecturer in art and media and communications studies 1996–97, University of Lapland

Positions of responsibility:
Board member 1999–2003, European Master in Multimedia and Audiovisual Business Administration (EMMABA)
Vice-chairman 2005–, European Institute for a Sustainable Information Society
Board member, 2003–, CITI Media Lab, New University of Lisbon
Chairman of the Lapland Regional fund 2007–13, Finnish Cultural Foundation
Chairman 2007–13, FinELib, National Digital Library
Chairman 2008–11, European Master in Art and Culture Management (EMACIM)
Chairman 2009–12, Lapin Elämystuotanto Osakeyhtiö
Chairman 2010–, Särestöniemi Museum Foundation
Board member 2010–, Seppo Säynäjäkankaan tiedesäätiö (science foundation)
Vice-chairman 2012–, The Fine Arts Academy of Finland
Board member 2013–, Lapinmaan kiinteistöyhtiö
Chairman 2013–, Rovalan setlementti (local settlement )
Chairman 2013–, Rovalan Kiinteistöyhtiö

Selected publications:
Mitä on mediatiede? (‘What is media science?’), University of Lapland 1999.
Mediakasvatus simulaatiokulttuurissa (’Media education in a simulation culture,’ together with Juha Suoranta) WSOY 2000
The Integrated Media Machine I–IV (published as a tetralogy) EDITA 2000–2004
“Morphological Idealism, Kant and Historical Senses”, in I. Kant and M. Bakhtin: Perpetual Peace and Dialogue. Murmansk State Humanities University 2014.

Selected work of art:
The radio opera Takaisin Xanaduun (‘Return to Xanadu’ together with Hannu Puttonen), Radio Theatre, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)

Honorary PhD, Urbana University (Ohio, USA)
Honorary professor, University of Murmansk, 2009 (Russian Federation)

Photo: Arto Litti
Written by Olli Siitonen

Translated by Matthew Billington

Professor Mauri Ylä-Kotola went to upper secondary school at the Helsinki II Normal School, attached to the University of Helsinki (now the Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki). The purpose of normal schools, or teacher training schools attached to universities, is to provide both practical training for trainee teachers and a test bed for teaching experiments. A pedagogically fertile learning environment and its teachers provided him with an outstanding space to develop his thinking.

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At the University of Helsinki, Mauri Ylä-Kotola wrote his Master’s thesis on the philosophy of the motion picture. His interest in media studies had grown ever deeper during his student days. In the mid-1990s, he ended up as a teacher at the University of Lapland, where Media Studies had been established as an independent subject at the Faculty of Art and Design in 1992. He became Professor of Media Studies in 1997, at time when when the crucial question had become how to define the discipline in the context of applied arts. With Professor Ylä-Kotola at the helm, the subject produced Masters and Doctors of Arts (Art and Design).

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Professor Mauri Ylä-Kotola has been living in the city of Rovaniemi for close to twenty years. His first post at the university was that of an adjunct teacher in 1995, and he moved to Lapland after being appointed lecturer in 1997.

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I dream of having more time to think. Work is rather hectic, and my day is often scheduled in half-hour or one-hour segments. Amid all this, I find myself longing for some extra time. A sabbatical of a couple of months to let my thoughts roam wild sounds like just…

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