Sustainable Transformations: Exploring the Arts and Creativity in Stimulating Innovations and Technologies with a Human Touch

On Thursday, October 17, Aalto University in partnership with STARTS initiative of EU will organize a Seminar Day in BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.
Bozar Sustainable Transformations by Marika Latsone
Bozar Sustainable Transformations by Marika Latsone

The term “sustainable development” contains a contradiction: development as mere expansion cannot be recognized as sustainable, and topical issues of the present call for policies, transcending the focus on innovation for the sole purpose of growth. To respond to complex challenges, major transformations are needed–starting from transdisciplinarity in academic research, to integrative approach in life-long learning, to adoption of new responsible and farsighted social behaviours, to a closer relational convergence between man, technology, and the urban and natural environments. In the general context of urgent questions related to SDG goals, the seminar day will be focused on the growing role of new technologies, and implications that these technologies might bring for our future.

The morning part of the seminar includes public keynotes by Aalto University and STARTS. The talks will address the topic of digital technology, and how it is transforming our understanding of creativity, from academic and practitioners’ perspectives. The second half of the day is reserved for professionals. The seminar is part of the cultural events program during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. The preliminary program below, to be updated.

Sustainable Transformations: Exploring the Arts and Creativity in Stimulating Innovations and Technologies with a Human Touch

October 17, 2019 @BOZAR, Brussels 

The Public Part

9:30 – 12:00      Technology-assisted Creativity: from Human to Post-Human

Keynotes by Aalto University and STARTS speakers including Laura Beloff (Aalto University), Koray Tahiroğlu (SOPI research group, Aalto University), Pia Fricker (Aalto University).

Registration to the public part.

The SpecialistsWorkshop(registration through an open call, see below)

13:30 – 15:30      Future Narratives of Wearable Technology

Speculative Thinking on Future Wearables: A workshop for specialists. Facilitator: artist Claire Williams (Belgium)

Co-facilitators: Eva Durall, Aalto University, Learning Environments Research Group and Ann Peeters, SEAD, A network of Space Ecologies Art and Design.

16:00 – 18:00      Panel Discussion: Sustainable Transformations

A moderated panel discussion, with invited guests from Aalto University, Belgian universities, artists, industries, contractors. 

How to participate? To attend the part for specialists, please send a confirmation to [email protected] by Friday 4 October. Questions: Ksenia Kaverina[email protected], Curator for Global Outreach, Aalto University

Aalto University's participants

Laura Beloff

Laura Beloff 

Laura Beloff (PhD) is an internationally acclaimed artist and a researcher in the cross-section of art, technology and science. Additionally, to research papers, articles and book-chapters, the outcome of the research is in a form of process-based installations, wearable artefacts, and experiments with scientific methods that deal with the merger of the technological and biological matter at large.

The research engages with the areas such as human enhancement, biosemiotics, biological matter, artificial life, and artificial intelligence, robotics, and information technology in connection to art, humans and society. Currently, she holds a position at Aalto University (School of Arts, Design and Architecture) in Helsinki.

Koray Tahirogly

Koray Tahiroğlu

Koray Tahiroğlu is a musician, Academy Research Fellow and lecturer in the Department of Media, Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture. He is the founder and head of SOPI (Sound and Physical Interaction) research group, coordinating research projects with interests including embodied approaches to sonic interaction, new interfaces for musical expression, deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with audio.

Since 2004, he has been also teaching workshops and courses introducing artistic strategies and methodologies for creating interactive music. Tahiroğlu has performed experimental music in collaboration as well as in solo performances in Europe, North America and Australia. His work has been presented in important venues, such as Ars Electronica AI x Music Festival. Last year he was awarded a 5-year Academy of Finland Research Fellowship. 

Pia Fricker

Pia Fricker

Pia Fricker holds the Professorship for Computational Methodologies in Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at Aalto University, linking between the area of large-scale landscape architecture design, urban design and experience design.

Prior to her current position, she was Director of Postgraduate Studies in Landscape Architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Chair of Landscape Architecture, Prof. Girot. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the experimental integration of computational design methodologies for responsive environments through the integration of human-digital interaction. 

Eva Durall

Eva Durall

Eva Durall is a postdoctoral researcher at the learning environments research group at Medialab (Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture). Her research interest is the design of learning environments and scenarios mediated by technology, with particular emphasis on supporting reflection, self-regulation and collaboration.

Eva’s current research lines focus on the use of participatory and co-design methods in learning and education.

Emmi Pouta

Emmi Pouta

Emmi Pouta is a textile designer working in the intersections of textile and technology and driven by pushing the boundaries of textiles capabilities.

She is currently working on her PhD between the Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture and School of Electrical Engineering, with the aim of understanding how the skills of a textile designer are situated within the HCI-process. She has specialized in woven textiles, with eTextile-focus on multi-layer sensor structures and integration of electronics into textile-materials, from the design-orientated origin.

Matthew Wilson

Matthew C. Wilson 

Matthew C. Wilson is a visual artist who brings together disparate forms of knowing through video and sculptural encounters with entangled natural, historical and perceptual processes. Wilson completed his MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program.

He has participated in numerous artist residencies including Terra Foundation, Tabakalera, Jan van Eyck Academie, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, and Skowhegan. Wilson is the 2019 Artist in Residence at Aalto University (Schools of Chemical Engineering and Science).

Marjo Kauppinen

Marjo Kauppinen

Marjo Kauppinen is Professor of Practice in software engineering. The research focus of her team at the Aalto University School of Science is on requirements engineering, long-term solution planning, roadmapping, and customer value creation.

Her research interest has been for nearly twenty years to understand how software development teams can identify and analyse customer needs, and build digital services that are useful and easy-to-use. Recently, her team has started to investigate how to integrate the analysis of ethical issues into requirements engineering. 


Sustainable Transformations is co-funded by the Regional STARTS Centres project, initiated by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, in partnership with Aalto University. 

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About Regional STARTS Centres 

Between 2019 and 2020, this European network of urban arts & innovation incubation centres will support a series of networking events and seed activities around the interactions between Science, Technology and the Arts. With over 200 actions in Europe, it ambitions to strengthen collaborative alliances from regions, partners and other institutions, including businesses, working in arts & sciences. At BOZAR, the programme will include hackathons, seed projects, shows with students, etc. It is supported by DG Connect of the European Union. 

Partners are Gluon, ARS Electronica, Made Group, Meet Digital Communication, French Tech, Film Universität Babelsberg.

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