Research and artistic activities at the Department of Art
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
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
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
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
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
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
Funded by EU Creative
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.
Latest publications and artistic activities
Refashioning the Renaissance: Everyday Dress and the Reconstruction of Early Modern Material Culture, 1550–1650
The use of light installations in architectural reconstruction: Preserving the pluralistic ethos of public space with technological solutions
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.
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.
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.
June 28-30, 2016: Rethinking arts-based research, artistic research - and global/local communities.
September 28th and 29th, 2017: Exploring the intersections between disability, arts and pedagogy.
Tuesday March 21st 2017: One-Day Symposium on the Post-Internet