Art of Research conference 2017 focuses on artist-researcher as catalyst

Aalto University is organizing the sixth Art of Research conference November 29-30 by theme “Catalyses, interventions and transformations”.

The conference will discuss the role of artist-researcher as catalyst, that challenges established ideas and produces new thinking through artistic and practice-led research. The conference explores the different manifestations, articulations and emergent agencies triggered by artistic means and related methods of theorizing.

“In the context of artistic research, catalysis is understood as an action that causes reactions and continues to activate critical thinking that provokes further reactions. We want to focus on the multitude of bodies of artistic and practice-led research and their effects towards producing new knowledge, new experience, new materialities, new theoretical insights, new praxes and poetics”, explains Associate Professor of the EMPIRICA Research Group Maarit Mäkelä from Aalto University.

This year, the conference poses the questions: How do artistic research activities act as catalysts in the domain of different practices? How can ideas or practices of catalysis be considered within a particular research processes, or in relation to larger contexts and realms of art, politics and society?

High-profile keynotes epitomise grounding work in knowing, processing and presenting artistic reflections. The keynotes will be held by Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen Tim Ingold, Research Professor of Interdisciplinary Architecture, Art & Design at the University of Tasmania (Australia) and Adjunct Professor of Stage & Space with Aalto University (Finland) Dorita Hannah and Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University (Sweden) Mona Livholts.

Promoting dialogue and convergence between art and design

The conference received contributions from as many as 28 countries across all five continents of the world. Through the double-blind peer review process 26 papers were selected to be presented in the conference. Subject matters stretch from personal knowledge to societal activism, from the material agency and the individual making processes to collaborative and multimodal expressions.

The conference also includes two artistic performances, one by a doctoral candidate of Aalto University Jon Irigoyen, and the other by professional dancer Carmen Ohlsson. Following the Art of Research tradition, there is also an exhibition consisting of the related artefacts of the paper presentations. This enables the audience to gain a fuller comprehension of the research undertaken, including the implicit meanings embodied and communicated through these artefacts.

Since launched in 2005 the Art of Research conferences have promoted continuous dialogue and convergence between art and design related research practices. The conferences have contributed to the development of a rapidly growing and spreading contemporary discourse on artistic and practice-led research.

The conference is co-organized at Aalto University by the Department of Design<>, the Department of Film, Television and Scenography<> and the Department of Art<>, in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and will be held on 29-30 November 2017 at Dipoli, Espoo, Finland.
Date: 29-30 November, 2017
Venue: Dipoli, Otakaari 24, Espoo, Finland

More information:
The conference website:

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