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is the core working group of Sydenkoulu. A complex, evolving, living organism. A shared project management bringing the inspirations, dreams and resources together.

The members of Epicenter work in tight collaboration. We start each week with a team meeting, use online tools and platforms that support our working methods, and pace different stages of the project with intensives and group work.

Julia is a sharp-eyed truth-seeker and a gentle radical activist, aiming at becoming an ancestor future generations can be proud of. She was brought up by the wild nature of her ancestral East Finland, and later during her nomadic years, shaped by encounters with different cultures.

In Sydenkoulu, she is a visionary, general inspirer, and weaver of networks. She moves naturally through contexts and layers, holding multiple perspectives - and countless strings - at once.

She holds degrees in Architecture and Fine Arts, and has also studied wisdom traditions, facilitation, and leadership. She has a decade of work experience as an events producer and manager of creative projects. Most recently, Julia joined Nora Bateson’s Warm Data Lab host training and has dived deep into learning about the systems theory, group processes and interconnectedness, and is now particularly interested in the practical applications of these.

Every day, she is committed to living up to the received compliment of having philotimo - the highest virtue in greek, given to someone embodying the wisdom on how to live well, understanding the meaning of life extending way beyond individual objectives.

Julia Kukkonen

Project Manager
Collaborations, PR

Dagmara Maslowska

Production Manager
Content, Summer School


Mara is a wandering old soul, deep in observation and listening. Dancer. Poet. Trotamundos. With sparks in her eyes, they say. She is a multilinguist and an inexhaustible ideas generator, they say. What they do not say she finds in Nature, where she feels free to simply be. She is in a continuous conversation with the Universe, moving naturally through its endless forms of expression. Her vivid imagination and strong kinetic sense are important allies in her work. She is dedicated to a body-centered perspective, exploring the relation between the biological and the spiritual.

In Sydenkoulu, which she made her new home, she is responsible for the program’s content, solution finding, creation of texts and practical organization.

Professionally, having an academic background in Cultural Anthropology, she then migrated from scientific research into embodied forms of knowledge, soft skills and creative practice in performance making. She gathered experience internationally working as a group facilitator, artist, project coordinator. Education in Dance and Somatics is her foundation. She is currently expanding it through ecological perspectives into research on Ecosomatics and exploring communication with more-than-human world.

Venla is a warmhearted neo-business woman, with feet and hands on the ground (soil). She has magical skills at growing plants, creating delicious dishes, and making people around her laugh. Persistence and creative problem solving are her strengths, as well as a combination of sentience and practicality.

She is the Keeper of the Structures and in Sydenkoulu, responsible for the administrative work and food production - gardening and kitchen management.

Venla has extensive work experience from kitchens, being responsible for making large groups fed. She holds a degree in Fine Arts, and her professional direction has been towards intensive individual studies in creative handicrafts, healing, permaculture, and plant medicine. Recently, she has expanded her entrepreneurial skills participating in courses about business management, association finances, and book-keeping. She is particularly interested in understanding the current systems, and how to structure our work dancing with it.

Her current deepening interests are in creating win-win situations in community life, and embracing the idea of making things happen - learning as she goes.

Venla Vasko

Community Manager
Administration, Catering, Gardening

Enda Mattila

Communication Manager
Visuals, Editor-in-Chief, Social Media

Enda is an empathic warrior and brave bridge-builder radiating deep inner wisdom. Their super powers are seeing beyond the visible, bringing in authenticity and having a calming presence. Enda is the strong grounding force of Sydenkoulu. They work hyper-focused on the visual side of the project and place it into a larger context with publications.

They have a professional background in visual communication, holding a degree in Fine Arts. They have also studied philosophy and ancient wisdom and healing traditions, and worked with clients and commissions empowering people by deeply seeing and hearing them. Their experience in the mental health field has led them to support people in how to take care of themselves and keep healthy boundaries, process emotions, and develop integrity. Following their calling and the capacity to hold space for others, Enda will soon begin their studies to become a professional nurse, allowing them to combine deep caring with practical skills.

Enda is constantly stripping down layers and searching for core, essence and something raw in themselves and in the world around them. They have found their sense of belonging and feet touching the ground both in Finland and Iceland.

/// More information about other current members and contributors of Sydenkoulu and Summer School 2021 will be updated on this page in early 2021.

We are grateful for everyone who has helped us generously to make this collaborative project going so far:

Uska Sermo, Henna Hyvärinen, Alex Alexopoulos, Sami Juhani Rekola, Mirka Kinnula, Antti Kristian Pärnänen, Kerttu Loukusa, Essi Vesala, Kaarne Karjalainen, Karoliina Korvuo, Toua Heinonen, Laura Tuominen, Meri Karhu, Soni Pohjola, Katja Virkkunen, Karen Burns, Juha Mehtäläinen, Simo Saarikoski, Aapo Korkeaoja, Teemu Vuorenmaa, Opri Kangas, Ilkka Wahala, Katariina Stålhammar.

Big, big thanks for you!

Sydenkoulu ry
Masku, Finland