Prof. Dr. Mauri Ylä-Kotola

Rector, University of Lapland

Educated at the University of Helsinki, Ph.D. Mauri Ylä-Kotola is Rector (President) of University of Lapland located in Rovaniemi, Finland. Prior to his current position Ylä-Kotola worked as a President of Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. Currently he is also Chairman of the Board of Finnish Electronic Library Fin-E-Lib.

Mauri Ylä-Kotola has received two honorary titles. He was nominated to Doctor of Humane Letters (Litterarum humanarum doctor) in 2008 by the Board of University of Urbana (Ohio, United States of America). In 2009 he was nominated to Honorary Professor at The Pedagogical University of Murmansk (Russian Federation).

Areas of Academic Expertise

Mauri Ylä-Kotola's areas of academic expertise include, e.g., the thematics and problematics of the information society, media technologies, content production, computer-mediated communication and electronic aesthetics. He has undertaken research in the new forms and methods of interactive media, especially synthetic multi-user environments, and has recently been working on a project on philosophical questions of virtual reality technologies and spatial interfaces.

Ylä-Kotola regularly lectures at various European universities. He has been a member of several scientific committees, including the Committee of Media Culture Program of the Finnish Academy, the Board of C.I.T.I. Institute (New University of Lisbon), the Committee of EMMABA, and the Board of the European Institute for a Sustainable Information Society.

Media Studies as a Design Science

Professor Ylä-Kotola has researched the cultural history and aesthetic forms of computer media, and textual theory with special reference to audiovisual communication. He has led several research projects that have combined technology developing approach and phenomenological approach on a methodological level.

Ylä-Kotola has developed media studies as meta-design, i.e. as a design science of industrial arts. In a design science, a practical work of art is shaped on the basis of a multidisciplinary aesthetic analysis.

Experimental projects carried out by students played a central role in the didactics of media studies at the University of Lapland at the end of the 1990s when Ylä-Kotola worked as a head of media studies department. The best known examples include the design of the Finnish Pavilion at World Expo in Hanover, and the project on the virtual modelling of winter for the needs of tourism and the entertainment industry. An installation created during the latter project has been on display at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology in Milan and at the La Villette Science Centre in Paris.

Publications

Mauri Ylä-Kotola has written, edited or co-edited dozens of books. He is the editor of, among others, the four-volume anthology The Integrated Media Machine (I A Theoretical Framework, II Aspects of Internet Culture, Hypertechnologies and Informal Learning, III&IV: Aspects of Future Interfaces and Cross-Media Culture). The Integrated Media Machine is a critical, multi-disciplinary anthology that discusses the theories, problems and possibilities of ubiquitous computing, computer interaction, hypertextual representation of knowledge, and semiotics of media. Ylä-Kotola is the co-editor of the books Mediatieteen kysymyksiä I–IV (1999–2002), Uusmediatieteen perusteet (Edita 2001) and Mediakasvatus simulaatiokulttuurissa (WSOY 2000). Ylä-Kotola's publications also include his doctoral dissertation Jean-Luc Godard mediafilosofina. Rekonstruktio simulaatiokulttuurin lähtökohdista (Jean-Luc Godard as a Media Philosopher. A Reconstruction Based on the Culture of Simulations. University of Helsinki 1998).

New Strategy for University of Lapland

As the Rector of the University of Lapland, Professor Ylä-Kotola has been overseeing the preparations for a new university strategy. The new strategy for the development of the university extends until 2020. It is based on the necessity to explain what the university has achieved so far and where it is heading.

The University of Lapland was established in 1979 as a consequence of the regional policy of the era of Urho Kekkonen’s presidency. Contemporary society brings new challenges, which the University of Lapland must meet. One challenge is posed by the abolition of the national and regional educational monopoly, whence the international and national competitiveness in education and research is becoming more important. Examination of the universities as part of regional policy and their societal effectiveness is just as important today as it was in the 1970s. The new strategy of the university has been prepared in response to both old and new challenges.

Bibliographical and biographical information

Chapter "Mauri Ylä-Kotola". In: Manninen, Juha & Niiniluoto, Ilkka (ed.): A Philosophical Twentieth Century in Finland. A Bibliography (Acta Philosophica Fennica 2008): 466–468. Ylä-Kotola’s biographical information available: Kuka kukin on (Who’s who in Finland) 2005, 2007, 2009 (Otava, Helsinki) and Vem och vad 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010 (Schildts).

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