Research & Art

Research and artistic activities at the Department of Art

(Im)possible Labor #3 – WWW³ (WORLD WIDE WEB - WILD WO.MEN WITCHES : WORLD WITHOUT WORK), 2019. Installation. Galleria Augusta, Helsinki, Finland. Photo: Sheung Yiu
Marie-Andrée Godin: (Im)possible Labor #3 – WWW³ (WORLD WIDE WEB - WILD WO.MEN WITCHES : WORLD WITHOUT WORK), 2019. Installation. Galleria Augusta, Helsinki, Finland. Photo: Sheung Yiu

The research and artistic activities of Department of Art takes place in the fields of contemporary art, art education, visual culture, and curating. The department has a long tradition with artistic and philosophical production and many researchers’ work emphasises contemporary, critical, political and societal entanglements of art, curating, and pedagogy. Artistic, art educational and curational research connects to, and informs larger societal, cultural, and philosophical discourses.

Many research projects are identified as artistic research (AR) or arts-based research (ABR). This research happens, for example, in artists’ spaces, classrooms, exhibitions, museums and other institutions, and in the public sphere. The emphasis on art praxis (the combination of theory and practice) and AR and ABR brings transdisciplinary artistic knowledge to other research contexts in a unique way, and it enriches a broad range of research areas at Aalto University. Work stems from contemporary art production, artistic research, activism, and/or pedagogical motives.

Our research focus areas

Critical social research and activism in art - Department of Art

Critical social research and activism in art

This research focuses on activism, ethical perspectives and aspects of social justice, bringing forth societal questions on cultural diversity and environmental issues, such as immigration, whiteness, gender-aware research, and disability studies. Research takes place through artistic practices and research, arts-based research, curating and mediating art. Research themes share a critical aspect on power structures and questions about privileged positions in society. Solidarity, emancipation, criticality and embodied knowledge play a crucial role in this discourse.

Art education and future learning - Department of Arts

Art education and future learning

Research on art education has over 100 years of history in the department and has a vivid connection to art teaching practices within and outside of schools. It includes historical, artistic, arts-based, philosophical, epistemological and sociopolitical research in the areas of art, pedagogy, schooling, education, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Emerging practices within art education includes varied notions of future arts learning, from programming to artificial intelligent.

Art, science & technology - Department of Art

Art, science & technology

The focus is on the intersection of art, science and technology as well as on research of multi/inter/transdisciplinary education. Research is done in collaboration with researchers and teachers from other schools of Aalto University as well as individual artistic research projects, for example in Aalto Biofilia laboratory, and in the context of environmental art. The study includes the latest developments in technology taking into consideration (post)human, post-digital, post-internet, and other contemporary artistic aspects.

Culture, material and history - Department of Art

Culture, material and history

Research in culture, material and history at the department of art focuses on social and cultural practice, and investigates how culture and cultural meanings are produced in society, both in the past and the present, with a special focus on materials (pigments, dyes, textiles etc.). The specific themes range from colour in arts to the use of material-based methods in cultural studies of dress. Most of the work is related in the fields of art and cultural history or artistic research, but our work also draws on other methodological traditions, such as social history, natural sciences and anthropology.

Visual and popular culture & aesthetics -Department of Art

Visual and popular culture & aesthetics

This research focus targets visual and aesthetic cultures from sport and food and from media to politics. Diverse methodological traditions are embodied (cultural studies, anthropology, philosophy), and issues like gender, racialization, environment and the institutional problems of cultural production are central.

Research groups & Externally funded projects

Green project photo. Mainly blue colored picture of a bottle arranged on its side.

Art and Biopolitics

DoA Project: GREEN revisited – encountering emerging naturecultures

Department of Art
Installation view from Teemu Lehmusruusu: Maatuu uinuu henkii (Respiration Field), Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, Helsinki, 2019. Photo credit: Telling Tree art+rsrch (2, close)
Department of Art
Testing 16th century dye recipes. Photo: Refashioning the Renaissance project, 2019

Re-fashioning the Renaissance

ERC-funded project

Department of Art

Research in Arts and Education

Research in Arts and Education is an international peer-reviewed journal. Thematic scope of the journal includes, but is not limited to, the questions of art & design practice and production, criticism, pedagogy, curriculum and instruction. The journal welcomes all arts disciplines: visual arts, music, dance and other performative arts, their theories, practices and education. Research in Art Education grants an open access to all publications and is ranked in the publication forum of Finnish academic research. The journal also welcomes submissions from different fields, including among others, anthropology, art history, aesthetics, cultural studies, sociology, psychology and philosophy.

Read more
Research in Arts and Education logo. Green spiral.

Latest publications and artistic activities

Print for the Masses

Einat Amir 2020

Entrotopia 2.0

Laura Beloff 2020

Hybrid Ecology - To See The Forest For The Trees

Laura Beloff 2020 Art As We Don’t Know It

Liquid Matter

Laura Beloff 2020


Matthew Cheeseman, Gautam Chakrabarti, Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch, Simon Poole, Dani Schrire, Daniella Seltzer, Matti Tainio 2020 Challenges and Solutions in Ethnographic Research

Jalan Jati (Teak Road)

Lucy Davis, Zai Tang 2020

Roosting Post 2

Lucy Davis, Ya Ting Kee, Zai Tang, Zachary Chan 2020

Grasping the tensions affecting the futures of internet

Mikko Dufva, Hannu Pekka Ikäheimo, Tomi Slotte Dufva 2020 Journal of Futures Studies

Desertification as Worldmaking

Bassam El Baroni 2020 Construction Site for Possible Worlds
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Our conferences

Art of Research Conference VII: Authorship and Responsibility

3.12.–4.12.2020: Over the past two decades, the Art of Research conferences have had a significant role in promoting continuous dialogue and fruitful convergence between art and design related research practices. The conferences have contributed to the development of rapidly growing and spreading contemporary discourse on artistic and practice-led research – acknowledging and engaging in multiple notions of research where diverse modes of creative practice are used as context for enquiry.

Graphic image in green and black, written 'Art of Research 2020. Authorship and Responsibility', round green elements around

Radical Relevances 2018

25.–27.4.2018. We invite researchers and artists of all disciplines to join us in conference that goes beyond the rational and explores what is relevant to lived experience. Radical Relevances is a multidisciplinary conference addressing complex global phenomena of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity, income inequality, and mass migration and how these relate to the everyday lives of different people.

Radical Relevances 2018

InSEA 2018

June 18.-21. 2018. The Congress will concentrate on European and global issues around art education and its connections to societal and scientific topics. The goal for this InSEA Congress is to offer possibilities for intercultural and interdisciplinary conversations on most current and burning issues in contemporary art education. Different submission formats will offer room for new ideas to appear among researchers, teachers, artists and project workers.

InSEA 2018

4th Conference on Arts-based Research and Artistic Research

June 28-30, 2016: Rethinking arts-based research, artistic research - and global/local communities.

Arts-based Research and Artistic Research

The 1st International Conference on Disability Studies, Arts, and Education

September 28th and 29th, 2017: Exploring the intersections between disability, arts and pedagogy.

The 1st International Conference on Disability Studies, Arts, and Education

Dank Contemporaneities

Tuesday March 21st 2017: One-Day Symposium on the Post-Internet

Dank Contemporaneities


Radical Creativity research symposium
Conferences and workshops

Symposium: Research as a Radical Act of Creativity

Radical creativity brings forward new ideas that challenge prevailing organisational modus operandi, rejecting incremental and iterative processes in favour of novel practices and approaches.
7th Art of Research Conference
Conferences and workshops

Art of Research Conference VII: Authorship and Responsibility

Art of Research Conference: Authorship and Responsibility, Aalto University, Dec. 3-4 2020
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