The Annual Review provided an overview of the achievements in 2021
In his opening remarks at the virtual event on 9 March Dean Tuomas Auvinen said that the times of pandemic as well as the war at Ukraine has effected us all, and we are all feeling exhausted.
‘However, by acting together, we are far from powerless in the face of these global threats. In fact, most of the problems share the same roots: they are rooted in humankind’s pursuit of infinite growth at the expense of the environment and of people’s wellbeing. Thus, the way out of this dead-end is through Shaping a Sustainable Future, something which we at Aalto University are especially strong at’, said the dean.
‘We at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture — of all people — know that the green shift to a more environmentally conscious and sustainable lifestyle is not merely a technical exercise, but also an important cultural and human endeavour. We are setting our minds free for imagination, and helping others to do so, too. We are strengthening collaboration and facilitating change, with empathy and trust.’
ARTS act of the year: ARTS portfolio renewal
Pekka Heikkinen, Pietari Koskinen, Anniina Suominen, Andrés Lucero, Pirjo Kääriäinen, Mari Partanen, Sari Tarvainen
The past year was a massive challenge for our education, being forced to arrange a substantial portion of our activities remotely while planning and implementing the significant restructuring of the education for our next years, still supporting all of our world-class disciplines. This team was instrumental in making this process successful, with their skills, insights, hard work, and collaborative support.
Success enabler: Designs for a Cooler Planet
Enni Äijälä, Aalto Exhibitions Outreach
Enni Äijälä has worked as a Designer in Residence at Aalto ARTS, and a Specialist in Outreach and Partnerships at Aalto, to increase the visibility, impact and value of Aalto University and Aalto ARTS both on campus, in society and in global venues. She has built up and continues to coordinate the university-wide strategic initiative Design Inside, which develops creative cross-disciplinary design across all six Aalto schools by introducing design methods for engineering, business and science-based fields.
Enni Äijälä has been instrumental in developing forums, events and connections, such as the Designs for Cooler Planet exhibition concept with Helsinki Design Week, which have allowed sharing and showcasing the work and excellence of the ARTS students and staff to extended audiences.
Through the events and exhibitions coordinated by Enni Äijälä, the connectivity and societal impact of the work of Aalto ARTS has reached a new level of visibility and unparalleled opportunities for showcasing the radical approaches of the school. Enni Äijälä has been central in making this happen, and continues to be a driving force in celebrating and bringing out the transformative potential of our school.
Artistic activity award: Näytös 21
Department of Design: Pirjo Hirvonen, Veronika Abbrederis, Ilona Hyötyläinen, Elina Peltonen
Aalto Studios: Hetta Huhtamäki, Jon Fabritius, Maria Rantamäki, Ilkkamatti Hauru and others.
Näytös is the annual fashion show by Aalto University design students. For many years it has been one of the most expected fashion events in Helsinki showcasing students’ creative collections, with innovative and surprising material solutions, tailoring and detailing. In Näytös 21 the traditional runway and audience’s f2f presence was removed and turned into a completely different online concept. The fresh and creative approach showcased students’ work, their creative practice and their reflective and ambitious thinking in a mesmerizing way. Näytös21 was accessible to a wider audience, and therefore increased the visibility. The overall concept also gave voice to the students in a novel way beyond showcasing their collections. The faculty members from the Department of Design set the ambition level high and it was never compromised. Collaboration with skilled professionals from Aalto Studios was essential to make this happen.
As Screening 20 was completely cancelled, Screening 21 included also the previous year’s students. Developing a completely new kind of show / video / web concept, that actually contained twice the number of students, was a great achievement. The development of the cutting-edge concept required a huge amount of artistic, design, technical, and organizational skills and sheer courage to seek the unknown. The end result is a stunning and fresh way to realize an iconic Arts phenomenon completely digitally, without compromising on spectacle and international quality. Screening 21 did not fade away into time's relentless melt, but offered us beauty and hope during uncertain and dim times, while leaving the graduates with wonderful digital material to give them tailwind for their journey beyond Aalto.
Research award: Professor Sofia Pantouvaki
In 2021 Professor Sofia Pantouvaki published a pioneering exploration in the field of costume studies - the anthology ‘Performance Costume. New Perspectives and Methods’ (by Bloomsbury Academic). This anthology, co-edited with prof. Peter McNeil (University of Technology Sydney, Australia) is the culmination of the first Academy of Finland funded research project in the field of costume design, Costume Methodologies 2014-2018, initiated and led by Pantouvaki.
This work brings together 34 authors and offers new connections and fresh viewpoints on well-established frames of historical, theoretical, practice-based, and archival research into costume for performing arts, as well as creating connections between practitioners and researchers. The publication contributes to new understanding of costume and how it shapes cultural and social ideas, even new representations of humanity, addressing intersections of racial, gendered, postcolonial and sexual identities.
Sofia Pantouvaki´s work has played a significant role in supporting ARTS’ academic success by implementing the latest cutting-edge research into costume design education at all levels. Her hard work on developing the state of costume design research and education in Aalto and internationally deserves to be celebrated.
Teaching award: TAITE team
TAITE: Paula Hohti, Marja Nurminen, Sini Vihma, Sakari Tervo, Tuija Peltomaa, Antti-Ville Reinikainen, Sanna Lehtinen, Tuula Jääskeläinen and Sanna Väisänen
The TAITE Team has played a unique and essential role in the success of the School over these last two, very difficult years. They successfully put an entirely new and innovative curriculum in place, one that introduces our students to essential ideas and ways of working, featuring hands-on doing, research, and critical dialogue across all our many disciplines. Remarkably, they did so in the unfolding uncertainty of the pandemic. This required a huge amount of nimbleness, creativity -- and just plain hard work. It also required a tireless commitment to every single student's success, meaning every single Bachelor's student. TAITE and its Team are not only standard bearers for what creativity work means at Aalto. but also for the very idea of a creative community. Congratulations and our thanks to each of you.
Aalto University Doctoral Thesis Awards
Each school rewards doctoral theses which are among the most meritorious top ten percent of the doctoral theses of the school. The core criteria for the awards are academic quality, impact and originality.
Ashish Mohite’s paper-based doctoral thesis explores the generative design potential of a set of fabrication parameters in Additive Manufacturing (AM) with focus on 3d printing in architecture. Based on a research-by-design methodology, the thesis develops a so-called Speed-Based AM technique, which enables not only an improved control of the quality of the 3d printing process but also allows for the production of undesignable textural artefacts and, as a consequence, improved structural performance with a reduced amount of material. In addition, a theoretical framework of principles and concepts is provided in relation to a loosely delineated digital craft movement.
Henrika Ylirisku’s doctoral dissertation, Reorienting Environmental Art Education is a unique work that brings forwards rigorous theoretical and philosophical thinking on posthuman environmental art education. While the dissertation’s strength is on exceptionally thorough mapping on the different branches on environmental art education (EAE), the most significant merit of the research is in the development of its post-qualitative methodology. The critical, theoretical framework is exceptionally strongly written on feminist, environmental, new material, and post-qualitative inquiry, developing human–multispecies approaches to the more-than-human knowledge production. The entanglement of visuality, embodiment and lived experiences, together with theoretical thinking is extremely ambitious and well carried out. The dissertation introduces new knowledge on art educational strategies for queering normative human-nature relations and hence offer implications for art education and beyond: posthumanist ontologies, pedagogies and the arts compendiously.
Alumnus of the year: Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka
Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka has graduated from the Department of Art in 2015. His artistic practice is based on collaboration between different fields of art, science and technology. Mäki-Reinikka is the founder of interdisciplinary art collective Brains on Art, an art-science-co-op crew based in Helsinki, that combines art and science in interactive installations. The collective is focused in bringing the cognitive science in to the art scene by taking the methods used in science and technology and applying them in artistic process. The art orientated project strives for dialogue between the two fields. The collective includes practitioners of art, cognitive science, computing science and electrical engineering.
Mäki-Reinikka has held many solo exhibitions and participated in several group shows. He has been an active participator in various panels and public discussions. He is a receiver of grants and prices.
Kasperi Mäki-Reinikka works as Visual Art Teacher for the City of Helsinki, at Kallio Upper Secondary School of Performing Arts where he inspires, spreads knowledge and enthusiasm to the new generations of students.
Congratulations to all!