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About AEF

Who we are (Mission Statement): 

The Arts Education Foundation (AEF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to bringing the arts & sciences together in efforts to promote interdisciplinary approaches aimed at addressing global sustainability issues. 


What we do:

At AEF we bring together students, researchers, and industry experts to promote interdisciplinary dialogues and collaborative inquiry projects. These projects aim to explore and create innovative approaches to sustainability and global inequalities throughout global communities. Bodies of work created through such ongoing collaborations are made publicly available as a vast variety of assemblages, including but not limited to digital learning resources, publications, and artistic works. AEF also strives to work as a mediary between the latest research and classroom education. By helping schools and administrators gain access to, and consider current educational findings, we aim to help foster educators in working in the forefront of educational practices.  Periodically, AEF offers scholarship and grant opportunities. 

Meini (previously Meini Oy) has become an ongoing project of the Arts Education Foundation. 


About us:

At AEF our main goals are to promote and support new collaborative models between art, education, science, and technology. We strive to advance local and international communication across a variety of arts and science inspired fields. 


About the foundation:

Founded in 2009, AEF started as an organization aimed at helping educators. Our aim is to encourage educators from all varieties of academic subjects to integrate arts-based learning techniques into their curriculum and classroom practices. Over the years we have hosted a number of teacher development workshops and have provided scholarships to both teachers and students seeking to pursue artistic development. 

Meet the Team


Rachel Sinquefield-Kangas

Rachel Sinquefield-Kangas has a Ph.D in Philosophy of Education from the University of Helsinki’s faculty of Educational Sciences, School, Education, Society & Culture programme, and an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction in Art Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Rachel has taught in both urban schools and museum environments. As a researcher she examines artistic practices, in their ability to evoke more-than-human empathy, in ways that transend traditional disciplinary boundaries in teaching and learning.


Ushanandini Mohanraj

Usha Mohanraj is a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Medicine. She has a bachelors degree in technology and a masters degree in translational medicine. As a researcher and science education enthusiast, she enjoys developing art and technology based educational tools and material for STEAM.


Ben Randell

Ben Randell has many years experience in education both in formal and informal settings. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Science Education and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is an after-school educator and garden coordinator at Operation Breakthrough, an education center in Kansas City’s urban core, where he works with kids learning how to make money out of dirt.

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Essi Ikonen

Essi Ikonen is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Educational Sciences. She has a M.Soc.Sc in Philosophy from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has authored and edited several articles, textbooks and digital learning resources for philosophy, religious education and general education with an emphasis on sensorial, digital and arts-based learning. She is currently working on creative ways of learning focusing especially on listening and imagination as methodological orientations. Essi is the chair of our Creative Research Writing Lab

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