UWAS logo 2021_2


University-Wide Art Studies has been discontinued and will no longer be offering a course curriculum beyond the 2022 spring semester. This site will remain active as an archive of the rich programming developed through UWAS over the past five years. We wish to thank you all in the Aalto community for participating in and contributing to the courses and events offered through UWAS during that time. Our hope is that the legacy of UWAS will endure in future initiatives developed at Aalto and beyond. 

University-Wide Art Studies offers all Aalto students an opportunity to explore critical practices and processes beyond disciplinary boundaries.

Grounded in art and design, UWAS offers university-wide elective courses for students and faculty across the university to engage in a unique opportunity for cultivating transdisciplinary criticality and critical creativity in higher education. The instructors of UWAS courses meet high standards in pedagogy and transdisciplinary fields of practice.  

UWAS Courses 2021–2022

A green audio board of circuits with black knobs and the sentence "Why do we do the things we do?" written in white font in capitals.

Spring 2022 UWAS Courses

University-Wide Art Studies (UWAS) offers all Aalto students an opportunity to explore art-based practices and processes beyond disciplinary boundaries. Its course portfolio consists of thematically focused and carefully curated courses where art, design, and architecture facilitate transdisciplinary encounters between students from various backgrounds. Basing its curriculum in experimentation, curiosity, and creativity, UWAS invites both students and teachers to explore the world from multiple angles and learn from each other.


Whom are the UWAS courses aimed at?

The courses are designed for all Aalto students that want to challenge their own thinking and routines, and they help students observe themselves and society from different perspectives. Discussions and transdisciplinary encounters feed collaborative learning.

UWAS courses are not traditional basic courses in art and design, and previous knowledge or skills in arts are not required. By applying the creative methods and tools, the participants will learn about creative thinking.

Students can choose from 30 different UWAS courses annually. Thematically focused, these experimental art and design courses facilitate encounters between students from various backgrounds.

UWAS aims to ensure that Aalto University graduates understand how art and creative practices shape and define the world around us and that they will have a wide range of skills and capacities to engage with complex issues both locally and globally.

Awarded creative experimentation in higher education

Since its initiation in 2016, UWAS has offered courses on topics such as sound technology, creative writing, site-specific art and design, visual culture theory, mathematical art, and arts-based material studies. All courses are specifically planned for UWAS and scheduled so that they are available for students in every Aalto school.

For Aalto faculty, UWAS offers a possibility to develop their curriculum and teaching practice either by helping to design new courses for study programs or reassessing existing ones. For more information about this opportunity, please contact the UWAS Team.

In 2017, Aalto University’s student union AYY gave UWAS the Seal of Approval award for the development of university-wide art education in Aalto. UWAS also received Dean’s Award of Excellence the same year.


UWAS Surface of Electricity Photo Anne Kinnunen


Most common questions regarding University-Wide Art Studies


UWAS Team Contact Information

Timothy Smith

UWAS Director

María Villa Largacha

UWAS Coordinator

Emilia Pennanen

UWAS Course Assistant

Verna Kuusniemi

UWAS Course Assistant


Eva Hesse's artwork Ennead

Circular Scapes, spring 2022 (online)

Welcome to the online exhibition for the Spring UWAS course, Innovative Approach to Circular Economy.

Pressure system with a rock.

Under Pressure UWAS course exhibition, spring 2022 (Learning Centre, Otaniemi)

Welcome to the Under Pressure UWAS course exhibition at Learning Centre Lobby opening on 1st of June 2022 at 6 pm!

Moon, blue background, neon green text, trees.

Film, Work and Anthropocene, spring 2022 (online)

The virtual gallery of this Film, Work and Anthropocene exhibition (Spring 2021 and Spring 2022) presents the insights and visions of students who chose to share their perspectives on current and future relationships between work, professions and the Anthropocene.

Miten idea materialisoituu näyttely 2022.5.

Material pieces, spring 2022 (Väre, Otaniemi)

Welcome to the exhibition opening on Friday 18th at 3 pm in V1 and V2 galleries at Väre!

Image of a moving sky and clouds on top of a glass ceiling.

How Did We Get Into This Mess, fall 2021 (online)

The course goes through the greatest utopias of modern technological, societal, cultural and economical planning to gain familiarity with cosmic scale stupidities and the possible strategies available for human civilisations to keep on going.

Red, violet and orange background.

Decolonize your studies, fall 2021 (online)

Decolonize your studies is an introduction to decolonial thinking and practice where students will develop a critical lens to look at norms and power structures within their own disciplines.


Picture me posthuman, fall 2021 (online)

Picture Me Posthuman is an online art exhibition of AI art made during an interdisciplinary course Art and Artificial Intelligence in Fall 2021.


Entangle, fall 2021 (Väre, Otaniemi)

Welcome to the exhibition opening on Friday 22nd at 11 am in R028/005 F Lobby at Väre.

Umberella and cardboards stack against a wall.

The Right to the City, spring 2021 (online)

The Right to the City course is based on insights and research I have conducted in the last 20 years, as well as relevant experiences that go further back in time.

Water tower collage, Under Pressure, 2021, UWAS.

Under Pressure, spring 2021 (online)

During the course the students studied their environment through an artistic and experimental approach. The emphasis of the course was on the mechanism of pressure systems in our urban environment and on the concrete and circumstantial influence they have on our actions.

Fu Fanqi, Simulacra, Av-Club, Thinking and Doing Moving Images, UWAS, May 2021, photo by Fu Fanqi.jpg

Av Club: Thinking and Doing Moving Images – WILD EaRNESt, spring 2021 (online)

Today moving images with sounds are used widely in different formats and platforms: YouTube-videos, Instagram Stories, online meetings, commercials, TV, films, video art, installations, scientific visualizations… You name it! The AV Club is an excursion to the realm of moving images. During the spring of 2021 the club has been looking and discussing different kinds of works from different contexts.

Black and white photo with text and bird.

Film, Work and Anthropocene, spring 2021 (online)

Film, Work and Anthropocene exhibition presents the insights and visions of students for current and future relationships between work, professions and the anthropocene.

ARTXAI web exhibition

Art and Artificial Intelligence – Virtually Unknown, fall 2020 (online)

The exhibition explores the role of an artist in computer-generated art and the possibilities of art created in collaboration with machines.



In Search of Radical Education/Knowledges

UWAS + Color of Science Symposium

Black font with the title of event arranged on white back ground and crossed by black and yellow construction tape

Learning to unlearn: What could radically creative education be?

Juuso Tervo is urging us not only to learn new things, but also to unlearn the already learned.

red color making sliding shapes on blue background

Innovative Approach to Circular Economy

Aalto University's innovative pilot course studied the circular economy, arts and systemic changes.

Oona Ojala studied how the cultivation conditions of luxury products such as coffee and cocoa will evolve with climate change. Photo: Elisa Dametto

“I got an idea of the masters programme, in which I could apply to"

Katariina Korolainen studies second year Information technology at the School of Science. Her studies are quite multidisciplinar but she chose to have UWAS-studies from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture already at the earlty period of her studies.

Aalto University, UWS Studies, Katariina Korolainen, photo Minna Pasanen


Yarn ball made out of multiple ropes and yarns on top of a rocky hill in Örö Island, 2018.


A repository of UWAS past courses events, news, and exhibitions.

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