First graduate of the USP programme

Barbara Radaelli-Muuronen graduates as a Master of Arts from the University of Helsinki in June 2019. Barbara has studied in the Master’s Programme in Urban Studies and Planning (USP) for two years, and now she is the first student to ever graduate from USP. The multidisciplinary study programme initiated in 2017 jointly with Aalto University.

– I am very happy! says the brand new Master of Arts, Barbara Radaelli-Muuronen, at her current work place the Helsinki Art Museum (HAM).

Barbara has just graduated from the USP Master's Programme and can't hide her excitement.  After four semesters of intensive studying and writing her Master’s Thesis, she is looking happy and relieved:

– I really enjoyed all the courses I had, even writing my thesis, although it made me a little nervous at the end. It has been a very positive time for me to do this degree!

USP increased Barbara's professional expertise

Barbara’s background is in art conservation, in which she has a Bachelor’s Degree. She also has years of work experience from the field, including  the Helsinki Art Museum. Barbara decided to apply to USP at the University of Helsinki because many themes in urban studies relate to her work at HAM, which belongs to the City of Helsinki.

Barbara is especially happy for taking a two-year study leave, which enabled her to focus and be deeply involved with the studies. She sees that USP was special in terms of her professional development:

– Studies at USP really increased my knowledge, professional expertise and motivation to my own work at HAM, she explains.

Now Barbara is back to her own work but already thinking about pursuing PhD studies in the future.

Multidisciplinarity is the strength of USP

As USP is a joint study programme between the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, Barbara has been able to take courses from both universities. In her opinion, multidisciplinarity is the strength of USP:

– I could learn much more about urbanity from very different subjects. Honestly, the level of teaching was very high, with very good lecturers, professors and experts from many different fields.

In a multidisciplinary environment, Barbara encourages students to go out of their comfort zone:

– My background in arts was especially helpful in courses at Aalto University, but of course, many other topics were completely new to me. But I learned a lot! says Barbara.

Urban art for a summer in Helsinki

Barbara has a tip to give to urbanists spending their summer in Helsinki:

– Have a tour around public art. One popular route goes from Sibelius monument to Paavo Nurmi statue, Barbara hints.

She explains that the holistic urban strategy of Helsinki aims to join arts and well-being together:

– So you can walk, bike, or even take a run between the statues and monuments in beautiful Helsinki!

Finally, Barbara hopes that the new USP students will fully enjoy their studies and all the very interesting courses that USP offers. She also wants to send a big thank you to USP staff:

– You are doing a great job!

So on behalf of the USP programme,

Congratulations Barbara!


You can find Barbara's Master's Thesis "The role of Helsinki contemporary art biennial in placemaking and city branding. An interdisciplinary study on the establishment of a new cultural event." online behind this link.