Founded in 1860, the Ladies’ Association of Kuopio is a cultural organisation of great significance in Kuopio. It was born of a desire for social action inspired by nationalist ideals, and its most impressive achievement was the founding of a handicraft school. This school paved the way for Kuopio Academy of Design that was the unit of Savonia University of Applied Sciences providing training in culture until the end of 2014.

Further details of the Association and of the history of the Kuopio Academy of Design are to be found under History.


The Ladies’ Association of Kuopio is a non-profit association whose purpose is to promote and support handicraft, arts and crafts, design, culture, art, creative industries and well-being.

The handicraft school founded by the Association, nowadays Kuopio Academy of Design, began training students in 1884 and maintained the school right up to August 2002, when the Academy was taken over by The Municipal Federation of Savonia University of Applied Scieces as prescribed by the Ministry of Education.

Execuiton of the mission

The Ladies’ Association of Kuopio was a significant actor in the work of the Kuopio Academy of Design, along with the Municipal Federation. For in August 2002 the Association and the Municipal Federation entered into an agreement by which the Association would create the operating potential for the Kuopio academy of Design, i.e. the services required in support of teaching. This means that the Association was responsible for providing the teaching and financial administration services, for maintaining the Academy library, the cafeteria, and for owning and maintaining the premises on which the Academy operates. The Association was also responsible for the paid services related to the Academy’s teaching and for projects and initiatives within the confines of the Design Forum. The Design Forum was a research, product development and service centre for design innovations and the context for projects and initiatives with companies and organisations. In recognition of its significant social action on behalf of the city of Kuopio the Association was awarded the Kuopio Medal in November 2004.

The agreement between the Ladies’ Association of Kuopio and the Savonia University of Applied Sciences Municipal Federation expired at the end of 2014. The reason for termination was the need to concentrate different teaching units for a common campus, changes in the laws of the universities of applied sciences, integration of service functions and the requirements of structural development, such as the Savonia University of Applied Sciences transformation into a limited company and a strong reduction in design education enrollment.

The Ladies’ Association of Kuopio new forms of activity are international recidency program for crafts and design artists and handicraft school, which began in spring 2014


The power of decision is vested in the Annual Meeting of the Association which, in accordance with the statutes, is held before the end of March and handles statutory and any other business proposed by the Board. The Association has about 150 private members elected by invitation.

The executive power is vested in the Board elected by the Annual Meeting and consisting of a Chairman/Chairwoman and nine members. The members are elected for three years at a time; hence, three retire each year. The Annual Meeting elects the Chairman of the Board, and the members of the Board elect a Vice-chairman, Secretary and Treasurer from among their numbers. The supervisory power is vested in the Auditors and their deputies elected by the Annual Meeting.

The teaching support services was provided for the Municipal Federation by the staff of around forty employed by the Association.

The Association Board

Chairwoman: Elina Pallonen-Eriksson
Other members:
Lecturer Marke Iivarinen
Managing Director Anneli Jalkanen
Entrepreneur Maija-Liisa Keinänen
Trained on the bench Tuula Kemppainen
Director, Rector Soili Meklin
Counsellor of Education Eija Vähälä