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My company will enable me to work in Finland

Trumpeter Devina Boughton hails from the United States. After their Fulbright exchange year, staying in Finland seemed like the right path forward. In the autumn of 2022, they participated in the Uniarts Hub pre-incubator program, which gave them the tools to establish a business. Devina wants to continue working as a musician, composer, arranger, and music teacher.

Please tell us about yourself, and how did you realise that you wanted to study on the Uniarts Hub pre-incubator program?

My name is Devina Boughton and I am a trumpet player, vocalist, composer, arranger, and educator with Finnish roots from Portland, Oregon, USA. I hold a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance and Composition from the Berklee College of Music. I moved to Helsinki in 2021 to complete a Fulbright Grant and studied in English and Finnish as a masters exchange student at the Global Music Department of Sibelius Academy. Since finishing my exchange year, I have been in the process of founding a company in order to work as a freelance musician and to stay in Finland. It has been challenging to know where to start, with all the unfamiliar lingo in both languages. The Uniarts Hub seemed like a necessary step for me to learn the structures and ideologies regarding managing my own company.

What has participating in Uniarts Hub been like, what has the work consisted of?

We have had live meetings with guest speakers representing various arts-based companies on Tuesdays, and then Thursdays a similar concept but remotely, with the option to listen back later. There have also been several other events and workshops. Participants were given their own mentor to meet with one on one.

What is your business idea or project about?

With my company, I am offering services as a trumpet player, vocalist, trumpet and music theory teacher, composer and arranger in Finnish and English. I hope to create intermedial and interdisciplinary collaborations with other musicians and artists. I want to make music that reminds people of home: the feeling of comfort, of belonging with music.

My overall aim in teaching is to help people find tools to accomplish their musical goals and to figure out how each individual student learns best. I also want to tell meaningful stories through art that bring people from different worlds together. In my time at the Global Music department, I dived into cross-genre and multidisciplinary collaboration. Along with artistic research, it is the heart of the department’s ideologies. In my teaching, I give people the skills they need, with a breadth of classical, jazz, and contemporary music theory knowledge that I have. I also teach vocal and brass pedagogy skills at all levels.  

What has been useful in Uniarts Hub, what have you learned?

It has been very useful for me to learn more about the structures of entrepreneurship, freelancing, and arts-based entrepreneurship in Finland. I found especially educational the information regarding finances, marketing, and all the business vocabulary that I feel is incredibly inaccessible to artists. It is also difficult for people in the business world to communicate with artists and understand artist’s perspectives. That ends up forming stereotyping, generalizing or stigmatizing, in my opinion. It has been a good introduction to vocabulary and systems I would not have been able to find on my own. Now I can take what I need from it and develop those aspects further in my own work. Finally, I have benefited incredibly from my mentorship by music agent and entrepreneur Pia Raitala, who has given me a lot of clear feedback and concrete advice to follow.

What kind of future do you dream of regarding your own career and your company/project?

I want to take the foundation I have built during this program to improve my skills in time management, organisation, and navigating the vocabulary in these different worlds. I have learned a lot in stepping outside of my comfort zone. I strive to be working in Finland as a teacher, trumpet player, vocalist and composer. I want to find a balance between my own projects and taking other types of gigs that will expand my breadth of knowledge and experiences. I also plan to create international collaborations with people I have worked with before and colleagues from the United States. In my future in Finland, I want to be able to bring awareness to the climate crisis, uplift the LGBT+ community and create more accessibility for artist immigrants in Finland.

Join Uniarts Hub!

Are you an artist, producer, or intermediary in the art or creative industries thinking about starting your own business? The Uniarts Hub pre-incubator program provides an in-depth look at business operations in the arts and creative fields, as well as assistance in developing your own business idea. Applications for next spring’s program will be accepted from 1 December 2022 to 23 January 2023.

Art-Up: Artists in Business

Uniarts Hub pre-incubator programmer’s blog showcases the possibilities of entrepreneurship in the culture and arts industries.

Here you’ll get to know the Hub’s participants, inspiring people in the industry and thoughts on how to combine artistry and business.

Read more about the Uniarts Hub programme.

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