UWAS

Fall 2021 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 and design facilitate transdisciplinary encounters between students from various backgrounds. Rather than distributing new knowledge and skills for those who seem to lack it or abolishing disciplinary traditions, UWAS encourages Aalto students to approach the world from multiple angles and learn from each other.
UWAS people
Photo by Lauri Linna

In academic year 2021-22, UWAS courses are organized under seven thematic categories that link the course contents to larger, transdisciplinary questions:
 

Anthropocene courses address issues such as global warming, sustainability, resources, and energy.

Actions courses deal with different aspects of making and creating in arts, design, and architecture, and explore their connections to practices in other fields.

Reflections courses offer theoretical and critical approaches to futures and utopias, identity and identities, and global and local ecosystems.

Manifestations courses deal with communication, visualization, presentation, and representation of information, how is it applied, and how to understand its impacts.

Collaborations courses explore participatory and cooperative practices in arts, design, and architecture, and their links to other fields.

Tensions courses explore traditions, paradigms, and histories between disciplines, and how they are expressed and reflected upon today.

UWAS Project and Current courses are project-based courses on topical, changing issues, and Design Inside courses are courses with strong focus on design practices.

UWAS is also participating in piloting MathArts minor together with the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis.

UWAS-C0002: On Site – Island Workshop

3 ECTS
Period I
Pia Euro, Lauri Linna
Collaborations

This course takes place on Örö Island in the Turku archipelago, which provides a fruitful atmosphere for transdisciplinary work through artistic methods, such as perception, multisensorial practices, metaphorical thinking and questions of representation. The idea of the course is to encourage the students to pay attention to things that are easily left unnoticed in daily life and studies.
 

UWAS-C0048: How did we get into this mess? Exploring the Past in History, Science and Art

3 ECTS
Period I
Antti Majava
Anthropocene

This lecture course focuses on how the study of the past has evolved through the links between historiography and natural sciences, and how this has been explored and represented in the arts. The aim of the course is to offer a broad exploration of the different approaches to the intertwined realms of history and climate, being particularly sensitive to the meaning of the ecological catastrophe of the Earth system under the Anthropocene era.
 

UWAS-C0051: Designing Services with Emerging Technologies

3 ECTS
Period I
Jane Vita
Design Inside

Students will be given a transdisciplinary challenge to solve by using the service design approach and methods. The challenge will focus on finding new applications of technologies through the design of services for different life stages and life events.
 

UWAS-C0058: Film as an Emotional Artifact

5 ECTS
Period I
José Cañas Bajo
Actions

The course focuses on users’ experience of technological, cultural and art products from a cognitive and cultural perspective. The combination of cognitive science, cultural studies and design will give a new perspective on the creative processes leading to technological and art design by placing users (spectators, audiences and users in general) at the center of study when creating new contents.
 

UWAS-C001101: UWAS Project: Design Bits  

2 ECTS
Period I
Paulo Nicoletti Dziobczenski
Design Inside

This is an introductory online course about design for non-designers: people who are curious about what design is, how designers work, and how to work with designers. It explains the basic definitions of design, introduce models for understanding the design process, and demonstrate the value of design in industry and society. Through hands-on activities and reflections, the course will give you a taste of some widely-used design tools, guide you in thinking like a designer and show you possibilities for deepening your design studies at Aalto University.
(Note: you will find this course in SISU as UWAS Project C001101)

 

UWAS-C001104: Human-Material Interaction

3 ECTS
Period I
Bilge Aktas, Camilla Groth, Julia Valle Noronha
Manifestations

The course will familiarise students from multiple disciplines with the general discussion and notion of human-material interaction both theoretically and concretely through material manipulation. The topic of materiality will thus be approached from a theoretical, embodied, shared and societal point of view. Lectures and reading material will introduce the current discussions on the topic of materiality. In class, the students will both discuss their ideas and learning outcomes as well as concretise their learning through hands on material ideation and experimentation. The student will ideate and materialize an artefact while reflecting over their own artistic process and share its stages with the group.
(Note: you will find this course in SISU as UWAS Project C001104)

 

UWAS-C001001: Currents Decolonize your Studies: Switching perspectives on knowledge production  

3 ECTS
Period I
Miia Laine, Kiia Beilinson
Tensions

This course 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. Together with visiting lecturers, textual and audiovisual sources we will take a look at local and global power structures and examine how they have influenced our ways of thinking and knowing in “Western” academia. We will search for tools to look at objectivity, methods, narratives and the production of knowledge in order to unlearn and create a more just academia.
 

UWAS-C0008: Design Learning

3 ECTS
Period II
Saga Santala, Mari Savio
Collaborations

This course introduces students to Design Learning by familiarizing them with design processes, concepts and learning objectives as well as understanding design as a learning and teaching tool. Students learn how to analyze their skills and learning in a constructive way and develop methods of sharing the learned skills.
 

UWAS-C001002: Currents. Discussions Series: Dis/abling Wellbeing 

1-3 ECTS
Period II
Timothy Smith
Actions

 A series of discussions focusing on the theme of critical approaches to wellbeing. The discussions will be led by Aalto and Finland-based educators and researchers with consideration to critical disability studies and creative engagement as frameworks for analyzing the discourses and practices of wellbeing in the university. The outcomes of these discussions will be to create greater awareness and concrete action in the university community by introducing concepts and practices toward revised wellbeing and accessibility policies that disrupt ableism and promote critical wellbeing practices within university education.
 

UWAS-C001102: Embodied Knowledge Workshop

3 ECTS
Period II
María Villa, Tommi Ollikainen
Reflections

This workshop explores the role of the body in creating knowledge, practice, and personal experience. It proposes experiential embodied learning as a form of research, and discusses how somatic experimentation features and could further shape varied disciplinary practices. It hopes to create a fully-fleshed awareness on how our embodied experience affects our thoughts about the world and other bodies in it, but also our actions and interactions with communities. The binaries of intellect-emotion, nature-culture, spontaneity-technique, freedom-conditioning that we operate with in one way or another, will be brought to the fore for critical end empirical examination.
(Note: you will find this course in SISU as UWAS Project C001102)

 

UWAS-C0025: Art and Artificial Intelligence

5 ECTS
Period II
Jaana Okulov
Reflections

The students get acquainted with posthuman thought and transdisciplinary approach to artistic, societal and philosophical questions concerning artificial intelligence. The topics include current AI technologies, post- and transhumanism and sensing machines in artistic practice. Through shared discussion and technological practices, the students engage in transdisciplinary practice towards complex phenomena and make artistic proposals for possible futures.
 

UWAS-C0049: Creating Futures in Art, Science, Technology and Business

3 ECTS
Period II
Mattia Thibault, Oguz Buruk
Tensions

Technologies that once were only science fiction, such as brain-machine interfaces, are now on our horizon promising exciting opportunities, challenges and massive societal paradigm shifts. At the same time, life-style changes brought by the pandemic, volatile political scenarios, the malleability of concepts of self, make our future as unpredictable as ever. How may we expand the boundaries of our current understanding to deal with these? In this course, students will learn how fictional, speculative, and critical design methods may help us look beyond the horizon and gain knowledge and practice to design for the future.
 

UWAS-C0014: Spatial Structures

5 ECTS
Period II
Taneli Luotoniemi
MathArts

During this intuitive introduction to various geometric and topological phenomena, we set up a systematic approach to relevant spatial practices in visual arts and take on even some provocative and surprising concepts. The lectures, workshops and exercises involve fundamental structures in spaces of varying dimensionality, and how they appear through visual work.
 

UWAS-C0053: From Idea to Shelf: Design for the Aalto University Shop

3 ECTS
Period II
Luisa Jannuzzi
Design Inside

This course, organised in collaboration with the Aalto University shop, will give multidisciplinary teams of students a chance to design and develop a product for the shop. The brief for the product will be inspired by the university’s research outcomes.
 

UWAS-C0064: Unavoidable Darkness

3 ECTS
Period II
Pia Euro
Reflections

The course looks at the cultural and material codes of our environment that condition our ways of living and acting, focusing on the significance of darkness. We will study the actual conditions of living in Helsinki in the darkest time of the year. This framing includes several possible aspects: the physical facts of the human body and our surroundings that condition our life during those weeks, as well as the cultural arrangements that exists due the short days and long nights. What does the darkness mean for us, who live here and share the situation? Students are introduced to the concepts of urban dérive, spatial practices producing urban space and artistic urban intervention, and apply each concept through practical assignments.
 

UWAS-C0056: Designing and Creating Virtual Worlds

3 ECTS
Period II
Lily Diaz-Kommonen
Manifestations

Students will learn the basics of designing and implementing a virtual world using virtual reality applications. Students will learn about coding a VR application, information architecture, storyboarding, making a production schedule, interaction design, and sound design. The course will also touch on the cultural history of virtual reality, as well as critical issues regarding the use of immersive technologies.

Spring 2022 UWAS Courses
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