Art, EcoJustice, and Education

Closing Conference @Tampere, Dec 11-13, 2017

The Closing Conference of Art-Eco Project

We live in the age of eco-social worries. Furthermore, in our desperate attempt to solve global problems, we tend to point our fingers to judge others, instead of acknowledging all of us as equally capable and responsible to act. 

Instead of recognizing our interdependence, we seem to divide things to “extreme ends”. People are separated into “us” and “them.” Similarly, the natural environment is seen as something totally separate from the culture created by humans. We even talk about natural and human “resources.”  That who/which is not creating economic wealth is seen as a problem, as a “wasted potential.” The answer to this problem is either taking the other (human, animal, plant, soil) for better, which means for a productive use; or if the other is not worthy of an investment, the solution is to ignore, exclude, or exploit them.

The praise of science and technology has led to the global trend of undervaluing arts in general. The value of artistic experience is difficult to measure objectively, thus it is ever more often considered as a phenomenon with no-worth. The idea of instrumental value, especially defined by economic standards, is impossible to be fitted in the framework of art and arts-based research, which often operates beyond the logic of rationalism, mechanism, individualism, and consumerism.

Art, EcoJustice, and Education is a three-day conference curated by Dr. Raisa Foster (Research Director of Art-Eco Project) and Mr. Jussi Mäkelä (Researcher, Art-Eco Project). The conference is organized together with the Faculty of Education, University of Tampere.

Our goal is to bring together EcoJustice scholars, artists, and activists from all over the world, and on a wide range of subjects, to foster critical research, responsibility, and care — and provoke conversations that matter in the era of social and ecological crisis.

The conference will feature presentations from the researchers and collaborator of Art-Eco Project as well as guest speakers. You will hear presentations from the top scholars of social and ecological justice, for example professor Rebecca Martusewicz (Eastern Michigan University, USA), activist Derek Rasmussen (Canada), Dr. Nick Morris (USA), Dr. Elisa Aaltola, Dr. Anniina Suominen and Dr. Mira Kallio-Tavin, Dr. Antti Saari, artist/scholar Antti Majava, and many more.

Time: Dec 11, noon – Dec 13, 5pm
Place: Väinö Linna Auditorium (K104), Linna Building, Main Campus, University of Tampere, Finland

Participation fees (VAT 0 %):
Normal fee 60€
Students 30€

Please use this form to register for the conference by 4.12.2017.

The fee includes the conference programme and materials, scheduled coffee breaks and a get-together evening on Monday 11 December. The fee is to be paid when registering for the event.

Inquiries: raisa.foster (at)

Pre-conference activity: Meditation retreat

Before the conference (Dec 9-10) you have a possibility to take part of the meditation retreat guided by a meditation teacher and activist Derek Rasmussen (Canada). The teaching focuses on a set of meditations known as the Four Immeasurables (loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity). No prior experience is needed!

Derek has taught meditation in Nunavut, BC, Ontario, Quebec and New Zealand for over 20 years. He is a resident teacher at the Morin Heights Dharma House in Quebec. He mixes meditation with activism, ecology, art, and humor. He helped to found and the Alliance for NonViolent Action (ANVA) and the first East Timor solidarity group in Canada. For the past 20 years, he has worked with Inuit organizations in Nunavut.

You will need to bring your own sleeping bag and a towel. The house is old, so we recommend warm clothes, as well as suitable clothes for outdoor activities.

Time: Dec 9, noon – Dec 10, 3pm
Place: Lepokoti, Ruutanantie 26, 36200 Kangasala

Participation fee (VAT 0%): 60 e
The participation fee must be paid when registering for the event. The fee is collected in order to cover the costs of the venue and food.
Please use this form to register for the weekend retreat by 1.12.2017.
NOTE! The number of participants is limited to 25 and priority is given to the participants of AEJE Conference.

Pre-conference lecture

Derek Rasmussen will visit the Faculty Education, University of Tampere and give a lecture on the topic “Joy as an Insurrectionary Force” in Edu’s Café on December 5, 2 pm. This is a free event and open to everyone!

Derek Rasmussen is a scholar and an activist from Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is interested in indigenous wisdom and he has a long experience as Inuit policy advisor. In his research, he is interested in social, environmental, and meditation related issues. He also has a long experience as a meditation teacher. Further information about his research:

Art, EcoJustice, and Education: The Closing Conference of Art-Eco Project

Video documentations of the conference presentations


NOTE, click the titles to open the abstracts and bios of the presenters!


  • 12-12.30 Welcome and Opening by Dr. Raisa Foster, Research Director of Art-Eco Project

  • 12.30—13.30 Tenderness, Joy, Creativity, and Laughter: A meditation toolkit for trying times by Derek Rasmussen, meditation teacher and activist, Canada

    Derek Rasmussen

    Derek Rasmussen is an activist and meditation teacher; teaching in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and New Zealand. Rasmussen co-founded the first Canada-wide East Timor support group in Canada and co-founded the Alliance for Non-Violent Action (ANVA), He began working for Inuit organizations during a 12 year period in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and he continues to do so today from southern Canada.
    Rasmussen is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Simon Fraser University, studying how meditation can support those working for social and ecological justice.

    In this presentation, Rasmussen will offer some reflections, practices, and meditations to counter the ideology of scarcity that permeates neo-liberalism and education. An introduction to the Buddhist meditations of the “four immeasurables” – loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity – will be offered, with special attention to the third, sympathetic joy (‘mudita’ in Pali) and the social ethic of positive gossip (‘uniqsiuq’ in Inuktitut).

  • 13.30—14.00 Arctic Art and Design by Dr. Maria Huhmarniemi and Elina Härkönen, doctoral student, University of Lapland

    Maria Huhmarniemi

    Dr. Maria Huhmarniemi is an artist and a teacher at the University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design. In her work as a visual artist, she engages with questions concerning the North, interculturalism, and communality, as well as environmental issues such as the relationship between people and nature and environmental responsibility. As a researcher, she is interested in political contemporary art and environmental education. In her research project, ´Artist at the Landscape of Berry Wars and Reindeer Husbandry` Huhmarniemi has developed collaboration of artists and other researchers. The motive has been to find out how contemporary artists can participate in local discussions on environmental politics through art. Huhmarniemi is active in developing applied visual arts. She is a chairperson for the Artists´ Association of Lapland (since 2012) and a member of the Finnish Bio-art Association, Artists´ Association Muu.

    Elina Härkönen

    Elina Härkönen (M.A., M.Ed) works as a University teacher for Applied Visual Arts in Arctic Art and Design master’s program at the Faculty of Art and Design, UoL. She holds a master’s degree in Art Education and Multicultural Education. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student and her research focus is on cultural sustainability on art-based and international university pedagogics in the context of the North and the Arctic.

    In the presentation, we will introduce our work in the University of Lapland in the International Master´s program Arctic Art and Design. The program includes socially-engaged art practices and students´ projects at the intersection of art and design in the Northern environment. The concept of applied visual arts is used to describe the place- and community-specific projects in which the artistic methods are for a variety of purposes. In this presentation, we ask how applied visual arts can serve communities and environment. We show examples of students’ projects. Huhmarniemi also presents her own artistic work that has a dimension of environmental activism. She has done art-based research on berry picking conflicts in Lapland.  Currently, she is working with the art project as an intervention to the conflict of the tourism industry and a planned mining site in Kolari, Lapland. The questions of cultural sustainability are intertwined to these cases.  

  • 14.00—14.30 Urban Aesthetics Revisited: From Expertise-based Consensus to Tolerant Diversity by Vesa Vihanninjoki, doctoral student, University of Helsinki

    Vesa Vihanninjoki

    Vesa Vihanninjoki’s (MA in Aesthetics, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Helsinki) research deals with the questions of urban environment and urban planning from the viewpoint of humanistic environmental studies and environmental aesthetics. His PhD thesis examines the prevailing and often tacit conceptions of the interactional human–environment relationship – and the role of aesthetics therein – in order to provide improved conditions and a more solid basis for achieving culturally and also aesthetically sustainable urban environment. Anteceding his doctoral studies, Vihanninjoki worked as a researcher at the Environmental Policy Centre at the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE.

    The history of Western philosophy is marked by the controversial relationship between conceptual thought and sensory perception – between how things supposedly are, and how things appear to be. Philosophical aesthetics, in turn, has been in the epicenter of this crisis, striving to find the fundamental principles underlying the connection between the quality and truthfulness of experience. On the basis of such foundationalist accounts, also normative assertions regarding particular experience follow: one has to pay attention to the right aspects of reality and take the right background information into account if one is to achieve appropriate and justified “aesthetic experience”.

    Concerning various environments, and especially the urban realm, such line of thought has led to a hegemony of expertise-based evaluation of aesthetic quality. Thinking of the politics of urbanism, this has meant an implicit yet compelling demand for a consensus about the environmental aesthetic issues – a consensus that is “informed” by the expertise, and thus reflects the worldview of the aesthetic elite. From a contemporary perspective, such conception is, in short, absurd. Cities are cultural melting pots, and every urbanite has a right to aesthetically satisfactory habitat. Thus urban aesthetics should be primarily aesthetics of diversity – not aesthetics of consensual uniformity.

  • 14.30—15.00 Moss on your roof - why you need it by Juha-Matti Niemi-Kapee, doctoral student, University of Helsinki

    Juhamatti Niemi-Kapee

    Juhamatti Niemi-Kapee is a 32-year-old Ph.D. student at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki. His primary focus lies on green roofs – specifically on mosses and lightweight solutions for green infrastructure. He has studied green roofs since his Master’s thesis and has found that mosses are a key element of green roofs. Outside the academic world, he is a skilled wilderness guide and a proud father of two.

    Green roofs and walls have become common features in illustrations of modern architectural and urban design proposals but their implementation remains limited by perceptions of high costs and questions over their utility. Years of studies by several research groups around the world have found compelling evidence to support green roof implementation to our cities.

    Nowadays greening of our cities is considered efficient for different purposes – climate change adaptation, stormwater management, aesthetic, recreational and noise mitigation just to mention a few.

    In order to be efficient greening needs to be done at a large scale. Therefore a range of solutions is needed to fit into different kinds of buildings so that they can provide a variety of ecosystem services. To tackle the high costs of green infrastructure lightweight solutions are needed alongside with heavier construction.

    Mosses are a promising aspect for green roofs. However, we lack the basic knowledge concerning their use. Questions include what species would be best suited for different roof types and what kind of substrates best support the growth of mosses. Our research group has shed light on this topic and we now suggest that mosses should be a more visible part of our everyday city experience.

  • 15–15.45 coffee break

  • 15.45—16.15 Healing the world: The Art of Beuys by Jussi Mäkelä, doctoral student / junior researcher, Art-Eco Project

    Jussi Mäkelä

    Jussi Mäkelä is a researcher in Art-Eco Project and a doctoral student at the University of Tampere. He is writing his dissertation on Joseph Beuys’s social sculpture and, consequently, considers himself a sculptor. The recurring themes in his artworks are space, limits, freedom, and balance, and his philosophical ponderings tend to turn into existential questions. Simply put, he is haunted by the questions of good humanity. Jussi prefers forest to university and heuristics to formal conceptual analyses. He genuinely believes that every human being has the quality of being an artist.

    When the infamous artist Joseph Beuys declared that “every human being is an artist” he was not defining art. He was defining humanity. Calling himself a sculptor, Beuys applied shamanism, mysticism, and alchemy into his oeuvre, trying to demonstrate the existence of spiritual realm within everything. He claimed that all human action, even thinking, is sculpture, because the core of sculpture is creating and shaping of forms – and human actions always form something. By calling everyone an artist and everything sculpture, Beuys wanted to provoke people to realize their creative potential that lies hidden under the superficial lifestyle of success and profit-making. For him, art/creativity was the way to connect with the spiritual realm, which would lead to an enlarged understanding of the world. Essentially, this understanding means abandoning calculative, technological way of regarding everything as a mere resource. It is one way of letting the world reveal itself to us as it is, which in turn will allow us to see the complex relationships between all the things in the world. This is what Bateson calls systemic wisdom, and it is a vital lesson to learn for humankind in order to survive the consequences of its own actions.

  • 16.15—17.15 Composing the Inevitable by Antti Majava, artist/doctoral candidate in DENVI (Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences)

    Antti Majava

    Antti Majava, M.A. (Fine Art), is a visual artist and writer who strives in his art as well as all his other actions to find what it is all about. Majava is interested in hidden and unconscious meanings and particularly the hiding of things in the centre of our attention so that our understanding cannot reach them. His central working method is the observation of the operational logic of individuals and groups by taking part in the workings of organisations in different roles. From these observations he makes art and conclusions, out of which Majava strives to produce strategies for the stopping of the development which endangers the future of humankind and ecosystems. Majava is a founding member of the Mustarinda Association.

    Ecological transition theories and experiments are often staged in the consumerist techno-economical setting. Green movements in arts and society have blamed to just eco-decorate modern industrial grand narrative.

    But in modernism, art was seen as a creator of new humanities or even a new world(views). Suprematists in early 20th century Russia intended to replace the organic nature with man-made suprematist one. When observing satellite images, one can’t avoid a notion, that hundred years later the human land use change covering more than 50% of planet’s surface not only follows rational self-interests but also suprematist aesthetic fantasies.

    Kasimir Malevich’s famous painting Black Square on a white surface was first shown in a stage set of futurist opera Victory Over the Sun (1913). The Black Square manifested the transition from sun-powered tsarist autocracy to fossil energy driven proletarian leadership.

    Opera and painting pictured the world which had been a technological and societal reality well over 50 years in industrialized societies. Avant-gardist and societal revolution took place when theories and practices, stage and world outside the concert hall suddenly overlapped.

    Should we prepare for a similar kind of cultural-societal state shift now, when post-fossil transition or collapse has been seen inevitable for decades?

  • 17.15—18 Discussion

  • 18—20 Wine & Snack, music by MirkaKaarina


    MirkaKaarina is a Finnish singer-songwriter from Tampere.


  • 9.00—9.15 Opening by Dr. Raisa Foster, Research Director of Art-Eco Project

  • 9.15—10.15 Love in the Commons: Toward an Eco-Ethical Poetics of Place by Dr. Rebecca Martusewicz, professor, Eastern Michigan University, USA

    Rebecca Martusewicz

    Rebecca Martusewicz has been a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Eastern Michigan University going on 30 years. She teaches courses at the undergrad, masters and Ph.D. levels in EcoJustice Education, and is the author of several books including EcoJustice Education: Toward Diverse, Democratic and Sustainable Communities with co-authors Edmundson and Lupinacci (2015). Her current work examines the influences of American conservationist author Wendell Berry for what she calls pedagogies of responsibility.

    In this address, I explore eros as a generative connective force that plays on us in our embodied relationship to the more than human community, inviting us toward its protection and care. Moreover, I will argue that such love is found in the most unlikely places, in small rural towns yes, but also on the streets of our most devastated urban centers. Drawing on the concept of the commons, I look to current, on the groundwork being done in the city of Detroit, where I found small groups of people passionately engaged in revitalizing their neighborhoods with their hands in the dirt, and paint brushes on canvas. Linking this work and the love I experienced with them to my own homeplace in Northern NY, I argue that our salvation (to borrow from bell hooks) is necessarily dependent upon our embodied, passionate and ethical relationship to a larger living community. Eros plays in this complex, differentiating system of life that we depend upon for survival, and so does education.

  • 10.15—10.45 Imagination in Education by Dr. Olli-Jukka Jokisaari

    Olli-Jukka Jokisaari

    Olli-Jukka Jokisaari completed his Ph.D. in 2017 at the University of Tampere. Olli-Jukka describes himself as “A person, who makes research, teaches and writes”.

    In this presentation will be pondered what kind of imagination is needed for an education that is more than a theory of learning in the product world. The concepts of moral imagination and prognostic hermeneutics are presented and discussed.

  • 10.45–11.15 Our culture, our roots - old Finnish celebrations as a part of cultural heritage education by Dr. Laura Hokkanen, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

    Laura Hokkanen

    Laura Hokkanen works as a lecturer at the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences in the programme of Community Educator. Hokkanen has worked in versatile tasks of teaching, research and project management. Her main fields of interest are folklore, youth studies, black humor, Finnish literature, event production and developing new methods of social libraries. Ph.D. Hokkanen’s focus is modernizing old annual feast as a part of modern event production and cultural heritage education.

    We know how to celebrate Christmas and Easter in western/Lutheran manner and we consider them as an essential part of Finnish culture. The origins of many Finnish traditional celebrations are several annual feasts that have gradually diminished within time and remembrance or they have become unfamiliar for modern people. Such feasts are for instance Ukko’s vakkas in May, Kekri in late autumn after crop harvest or Karhunpeijaiset, the celebration of bear, which was held after a successful bear hunt. All of these examples are feasts, which Finnish people used to celebrate together in their home village. The celebration included sharing food, drink and spending time with fellow villagers. All of these feats offer interesting aspects of Finnish mythology and the respectful stance for nature, i.e. forests, farms, and lakes. In this presentation, we take a glance at these old celebrations and their possibilities of utilization for today and as a part of cultural heritage education.

  • 11.15—12.15 lunch

  • 12.15—12.45 Collage as emancipatory tool by Dr. Saara Särmä, artist/activist/scholar

    Saara Särmä

    Dr. Saara Särmä is a feminist, an activist, an artist, and a researcher. She is the creator of “Congrats, you have an all male panel!” and co-founder of the Feminist Think Tank Hattu, which has empowered numerous women in Schools of Daring and Cursing Soirées. Saara currently works at Finland’s National Defence University in an Academy of Finland funded consortium project Hybrid Terrorizing – Developing a New Model for the Study of Global Media Events of Terrorist Violence. She’s interested in politics of visuality and image circulation, feminist academic activism, and laughter in world politics.

    Collage approach is an art-based methodology, which engages with visual world politics as it materializes through depictions of current international events, for example on the internet. It is a conceptual and aesthetic mode of thinking and doing research and offers a way of working with visual material creatively and imaginatively. Furthermore, collaging is a way of engaging with today’s increasingly fragmented ways of knowing about global politics in a creative and empathetic ways. Collage methodology functions as a way to counter and disrupt the representational demands of conventional academic writing, in other words, it aims to challenge what we think counts as Research. It can be used both individually and collectively in research and in teaching. This intervention explores collaging as an emancipatory and political pedagogic tool and describes how it can be used.

  • 12.45—13.15 Letters from Love’s Great Room: Fiction as cultural ecological analysis and pedagogy of responsibility by Erin Stanley, doctoral student, Wayne State University, USASection

    Erin Stanley

    Erin Stanley is a first-year doctoral student in the Social Work and Anthropology (SWAN) program at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She received an M.A. in Social Foundations of Education with a concentration in EcoJustice Education from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI and a B.S. in Human Services from Loyola University Chicago. Erin is interested in using ethnographic fiction and cultural ecological analysis to better understand and eliminate the various forms of oppression that Social Workers address. Her current research area involves developing an interprofessional healthcare education model that is rooted in EcoJustice and Critical Medical Anthropology.

    This presentation discusses the tenets of EcoJustice Education in the context of a creative literary analysis of two critical novels, Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter and Harriette Arnow’s The Dollmaker. Grounded in Arts-based and Arts-informed research, this work depicts an imagined letter correspondence between the two protagonists. The journey of love, grief, resilience, and membership that Gertie Nevels and Hannah Coulter embark on through these letters illustrates the deep cultural examination and healing traditions that EcoJustice scholars study. Through the reflections and conversations that ensue, these characters embark on a pedagogical journey which seeks meaning in a changing society, challenges the assumptions of a culture of modernity, and seeks to rediscover the beauty of belonging.

  • 13.15—13.45 “Any kind of normal” - experiences of differently abled people through poetic inquiry by Dr. Raisa Foster, independent artist/scholar

    Raisa Foster

    Dr. Raisa Foster (b. 1976) is an independent researcher/artist/educator. She completed her Ph.D. in 2012 at the University of Tampere, Finland. She also holds a graduate diploma in dance animateuring from the University of Melbourne (School of Dance, VCA) and MA in visual culture from Aalto University (School of Art and Design). Foster has created her own artistic/pedagogical method Tanssi-innostaminen® (dance animateuring), a pedagogical method The Pedagogy of Recognition as well as an arts-based research method Eragraphy. Foster is interested in combining different artistic and more traditional qualitative research methods in her multidisciplinary art practice. Currently, she works as a research director in the Art-Eco Project which is funded by Kone Foundation.

    In this presentation, the researcher will read poetry created from the interviews of three adult women with intellectual and learning disabilities. The field of disability studies has the same problem than any other academic research: the results reach only the scholars of the specific field and perhaps a few of the professionals working in the same field. The arts-based research has, in contrast, the ability to engage with the wider audience. Especially in social and educational studies, the arts-based methods have proved to be powerful in an attempt to bring forward the voices of marginals. Similarly, the arts-based disability studies also have the great potential to respond to the call that professor Simo Vehmas has made: to listen and bring to the fore the voices of people with disabilities and also to commit in the promotion of the equal empowerment and engagement of people with disabilities in our society. The researcher has crafted the poetry (originally in Finnish) from the interviews in a way that the original voices of the women can still be heard but the content and the form of the poems highlight the core of the women’s experiences. The poetry aims to offer an evocative experience to the audience and that way engage people with the better understanding of, and perhaps also action towards, more just future.

  • 13.45—14.30 coffee break, W.O.M. performance art by Wärjäämö

  • 14.30—15.00 Fatness, excess and economic policy by Dr. Hannele Harjunen, University of Jyväskylä

    Hannele Harjunen

    Hannele Harjunen is Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research interests include gender, body, gendered, health and body norms, fatness and fat studies and social policy. Her most recent research project “Neoliberal Bodies and the Gendered fat Body (2017) explores the effects of neoliberal economic discourse on the fat body and how neoliberal discourse and culture construct their “preferred body” .

    Against the backdrop of the dominant political economic rationale of neoliberalism that emphasizes all-around productivity, cost-effectiveness, freedom of choice and individual responsibility, the fat body is constructed as an epitome of a body that is unproductive, unprofitable, immoral and irresponsible. Fat people are societally positioned as “out of control”, excessive and an economic burden to society. My aim is to discuss how for instance, neoliberalization of the public and private sphere, e.g., marketization and economization of health and health care, extensive responsibilization of the individual over their bodies’ appearance, capabilities and performance as well as promotion of the entrepreneurial approach towards the self, participate in the construction of the “neoliberal body” and at the same time forcibly reject fat bodies (among many other groups of people who reside in marginalized bodies), thus making them especially vulnerable to neoliberal governing, moral condemnation and abuse.

  • 15.00—15.30 Where the Air Ends and I Begin by Jacquie St. Antoine, doctoral student, Eastern Michigan University, USA

    Jacquie Pruder St. Antoine

    A doctoral student at Eastern Michigan University, Jacquie is a mother, writer, teacher, and hiker.

    A performative autoethnography, this piece reflects on madness, anthropocentrism, and othering that leads to the slicing of roots, of fleece, of veins, often by our own doing.

  • 15.30—16.30 Emotions in environmental ethics: empathy and elevation by Dr. Elisa Aaltola, University of Eastern Finland

    Elisa Aaltola

    Elisa Aaltola, Ph.D., is a senior research fellow in philosophy at the University of Eastern Finland. She has specialized in animal philosophy, environmental ethics, and moral psychology, and she has published circa 35 peer-reviewed papers on these topics. Her books include Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture (Palgrave MacMillan 2012), Animal Ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy (Rowman & Littlefield 2014, co-edited with John Hadley), and Empatia – myötäelämisen tiede (Into 2017, co-written with Sami Keto).

    Emotions impact morality. Yet, understanding concerning their relevance is still limited, and particularly their effect on environmental ethics is under-studied. The paper explores the significance of empathy and elevation as two emotion-clusters, which can serve a productive role in recognizing the inherent value in environmental entities. First, two varieties of empathy – projective and reflective empathy – are juxtaposed, and it will be argued that whereas the former may lead to noting value only in beings that are socially depicted as “similar” to oneself, the latter avoids this bias by focusing critical attention on those cultural beliefs, which may distort empathic processes. Second, elevation will be discussed as an emotion brought forward by classics such as Thoreau and “The young romantics” in their descriptions of wilderness. Recent studies on elevation’s role in environmental attitudes will be mapped out, and it will be argued that reflective empathy can serve as one foundation of “environmental elevation”.

  • 16.30—17 Discussion


  • 9.00—9.15 Opening by Dr. Raisa Foster, Research Director of Art-Eco Project

  • 9.15—10.30 Animals in Contemporary Society, Art, and Education: Iconic, Cute, Partners, Food, Trade, Disposable by Dr. Anniina Suominen & Dr. Mira Kallio-Tavin, Aalto University

    Anniina Suominen

    Dr. Anniina Suominen, born in Helsinki, Finland in 1973, is a citizen of both the United States and Finland and she has completed degrees and worked in both countries. She earned her BA/MA from the University of Arts and Design Helsinki in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Art Education from The Ohio Sate University in 2003. Since then, she has worked for Kent State and Florida Sate Universities in the U.S. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art Pedagogy in the Department of Art at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University. For the past decade and half Dr. Suominen has shared her time between the two countries navigating and negotiating their landscapes, socio-cultural traditions, and institutional differences. Her simultaneous attachment to both of these geographical places has shaped her work as a scholar and an art educator. The themes she works with are (non)contextual identities, learning in relation to place and others, gendered identities, and environmental art education, diversity art education, and visual/artistic methodologies.

    Mira Kallio-Tavin

    Mira Kallio-Tavin is a Senior University Lecturer of International Art Education, the Head of Research for the Art Department, and the Head of Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) at Aalto University. Her research area focuses on questions of diversity, social justice, embodiment and disability studies, and on the relationship of education and gaming. She is working actively in an international research group, looking at young people non/informal visual activities. She has developing arts-based research methodology within social contexts and in relation to the questions of dialogue, community, ethics and philosophy of education.

    Human relationships with animals reflect the beliefs, values, ethics, and health of societies. Animal roles in human lives vary from companionship, admiration, curiosity, dependence, ignorance, exploitation, and abuse. Paradigm shifts in art, education, and research reflect broader ontological and epistemological directions of societies. From an ethical perspective, it is important to ponder the broad span from eating to loving animals and/or to using animals as artistic material. As Wolfe has suggested, animal studies, and work against speciesm, add to and partially align with the social movement of disability studies, contemporary civil rights activism, feminism, and environmentalism focused on post-anthropocentrism, and activism for sexual and gender diversity. In this presentation, we explore how art education might rethink the human-animal relationship and how this would contribute to the move towards more humane and democratic education and society. While animal studies perspective is an important addition to social movements, we argue that the issues should be considered from a non-human perspective. Hence, there is a difference between animal studies and other social movements, due to the historical divide between human and animal.

  • 10.30—11.00 Experience in Environmental Education by Satu Järvinen, MA student, University of Tampere

    Satu Järvinen

    Satu Järvinen (b. 1992) is currently studying in the Master´s programme in Educational Studies in the University of Tampere. She found connection to herself, others, and nature in Raisa Foster’s course of tanssi-innostaminen (‘dance animateuring’ in English). Satu has worked as a research assistant in the Art-Eco Project in summer 2016. She is interested in combining art, education and environmental issues in her future work and projects.

    Even though environmental education has focused on environmental problems in recent years, we still have not been able to create big enough change in people’s opinions and actions. My aim is to study the meaning of experience in environmental education. The study examines the importance of experience through semi-structured expert interviews with environmental educators from Ohio. I am interested in how experience is manifested in environmental education and how environmental educators define the importance of experience as a part of their pedagogy. I am focusing on the concept of experience following the theory of John Dewey.

    At this point, my study shows that environmental educators are concerned about our disconnection to the natural environment. To all of my informants, the most important task of the environmental education is to create or re-build that connection. Just being out in nature and focusing on the experience-based knowledge works for all age-groups in order to build a stronger connection between people and their natural environment. Therefore, the main task of environmental educators is to create time and place for multi-sensory experiences to help people form a stronger connection to nature.

  • 11.00—11.30 Empathic Story of Life by Sami Keto, independent researcher-activist, author

    Sami Keto

    Sami Keto is an independent researcher and an activist, and the co-author of “Empatia – Myötäelämisen tiede”, a new non-fiction book about empathy (in Finnish only), together with Elisa Aaltola. In the book, Keto reconstructs a science-based narrative about life, that accommodates better our empathic nature. He’s also an ecologist (M.Sc.) and has previously worked in environmental and development projects on both public sector and nonprofits.

    The story of life is often constructed through individuals’ persuasion of self-interest and competition in-between. This, while not being completely false, leaves little space for our empathic nature. As evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis has proven through Endosymbiotic Theory, all complicated life forms have evolved through co-operation. Mutualism also enriches life whereas too much competition can be detrimental to diversity. Thus the most important question in life is not “How to pursue my self-interest?” but “How to live with others?” Fortunately, evolution has produced mechanisms to reply to the latter, our ability for empathy is one of them.

  • 12.30—13.00 An illusion of competition by Dr. Jani Pulkki, University of Tampere

    Jani Pulkki

    Jani Pulkki is a researcher in philosophy of education who recently defended his dissertation on the educational problems of competition at the University of Tampere. He is also currently working at the University of Tampere, Faculty of Education as a researcher.

    According to prevailing credo competition, greed, and selfishness are good. Supposedly, human greed and selfishness that work in competition stimulate the economy and provide employment and material welfare for all. Competition is defined as social action in which free people try to outdo each other for gaining more scarce resources than others. Because human wants and needs, which are not ontologically separated, are seen insatiable and human beings are unable to share, there is inevitable competition. Competition is thought to be the universal truth about human beings and societies. But what if this belief system in its core assumptions false? This is the main claim of this paper. By analyzing the most important cultural assumptions of competition I will show competition is anything but the universal truth about humanity, society, and nature. Competitive thought ignores, for example, the human capability for empathy, sharing, and collaboration. Competitive thinking ignores that collaboration can be learned by changing the socialization environment. It ignores also learning modest needs and wants that are in harmony with the life-supporting systems of this earth. Ultimately, competitive selfishness, greed, and sense of entitlement are destructive for human beings and other living beings as well.

  • 11.30—12.30 lunch

  • 12.30—13.00 BREAKING OUT THE SILOS! Transdisciplinary Approach to Sustainable Society and Circular Economy by Dr. Riikka Mäkikoskela, Aalto University and Nani Pajunen, Sitra

    Riikka Mäkikoskela

    Riikka Mäkikoskela (FIN) currently works as a Visiting Researcher at the Aalto ARTS, Department of Art. In addition, Mäkikoskela is a practicing sculptor. She is doing practice-led and artistic research from the point of view of a practitioner, emphasizing working by hand, materiality, and movement. Her research interests focus on how phenomena are identified in sensory, material, and bodily experiences and how thinking is intertwined with this activity. Through this, Mäkikoskela is developing artistic thinking. She is also interested in the methodology of artistic research and how it can be applied transdisciplinary.

    Nani Pajunen

    N. Pajunen has an M.Sc (Tech) in Civil Engineering, Lic.Sc. (Tech) in Environmental Management and Law and D.Sc (Tech) in Environmental management and material processing. She has many years of experience in project coordination in various types of R&D projects. She has been working in both in the industry and in research. At present Nani is working at The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra´s Circular Economy team as a leading specialist. The target of the Circular Economy team of Sitra is to promote new sustainable business models and transition towards circular economy society.

    The current state of the environment has been achieved by acting linearly. Simultaneously, we know that transition towards sustainable society cannot be made trusting only the market economy and economic growth. Recent research has shown that the lofty words of sustainable strategies do not appear in operational activities. We have a new kind of cooperation as we combine two disciplines, engineering science, and visual arts, for environmental research. This research combination makes the existing information visible in a new way, and this changes attitudes and ways to act by means other than traditional, linear rationality.

    We aim at increasing material efficiency, saving natural resources and extending product lifecycles via product design and material development. We employ the cyclic, artistic means for creative solutions, which are tested and put into practice in the same action. We have tested our research combination in the first case study with the product of construction industry. The case was carried out in three workshops, in which the artistic means raised the awareness of sustainabilities. In addition, the used methods of artistic research and environmental education will be presented in detail in this paper.

  • 13—13.30 Language Matters: Cultivating Responsible Language Practices through the EcoJustice Framework by Agnes Krynski, doctoral student, Eastern Michigan University, USA

    Agnes Krynski

    Agnes Krynski is a doctoral student in Educational Studies at Eastern Michigan University. Besides working as a doctoral fellow and instructor at EMU, she teaches French in an International Baccalaureate program at a Michigan high school. She grew up in a German-Polish bilingual home in Berlin, Germany. Her academic background is in linguistics, foreign language education, and social foundations of education. Her current interests are EcoJustice Education, critical discourse studies, and language issues in education.

    As an educator, one of my primary concerns lies with the cultivation of thoughtful language use in my students. In this paper, I argue that teacher educators must systematically address language issues in their courses as part of teaching about the ethical dimension of teaching. Teachers who are aware that language influences our thinking, beliefs, and behavior and who understand that discourses shape our worldviews have the potential to become responsible language users. They can then inspire responsible language use in their own students. To that end, I examine how the particular way EcoJustice scholars (Bowers, 2001; Bowers & Martusewicz, 2009; Martusewicz, 2013; Martusewicz, Edmundson, & Lupinacci, 2015; Martusewicz, 2016) conceive of language, offers teacher educators the opportunity to orient their students toward responsible language practice as it relates to intersecting environmental and social contexts. I also tap into Pennycook’s (2010) work on “language as a local practice” and other scholarship in critical applied linguistics, critical discourse studies, and ethics to provide examples of how teacher educators can approach language and identity as arising out of and constantly being renewed through relationships and material and social practices.

  • 14—14.45 coffee break

  • 14.45—15.45 A Dark Education: Environmental Education Research in a World of Hyperobjects by Dr. Antti Saari, University of Tampere

    Antti Saari

    Ph.D. Antti Saari studies and teaches philosophy and history of education and curriculum studies in University of Tampere Faculty of Education.

    Recent environmental catastrophes are making it painfully evident that our way of living has unforeseen repercussions. Consider for example the reality of global warming: what has been a morally neutral and cyclical stage of ‘nature’ has taken on a morally active and capricious agency that confounds our inherited ethical categories and exceeds our ethical aptitudes. Our particularly ‘modern’ way of differentiating human and non-human and culture and nature have been thrown into disarray. In light of this confusion, Timothy Morton (2016) theorizes a modality that is primed for our reality called ‘dark ecology’: a form of ecological awareness that is dark-depressing, dark-uncanny and strangely dark-sweet.

    Foregrounding global warming as a case example, I use Timothy Morton’s (2013) concept of hyperobject to tease out the multiple implications involved in thinking about environmental education research after ‘nature’; that is to say without the symbolic support of ‘nature’ that has heretofore aided in compartmentalizing ecological phenomena and awareness into cultural and natural, local and global and human and non-human categories. The import of Morton’s ‘dark ecology’ lies in acknowledging the uncanny, traumatic nature of thinking about environmental education research in a world of hyperobjects.

  • 15.45—16.30 FINNspiration and the birth of Arts For Parks by Dr. Nick Morris, USA

    Nick Morris

    Nick Morris is the owner of Kestrel Community Solutions; a consulting firm working with public, non-profit and community-based organizations and an instructor of environmental education at Kent State University. Prior work includes multiple roles at Stark Parks all focused on education. He earned a BS in Biology from Muskingum University, a MEd from Walsh University, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Kent State University. His research interests focus on parks, environmental/place-based education, and education for sustainability. Nick lives on a small farm with his wife, children and a menagerie of pigs, chickens, and goats.

    Arts For Parks suggests an arts-based perspective in parks’ experiential and educational methods may help mend the relationship between humans and their ecologies where traditional methods fall short. There is a long history of park planning and programming attempts to facilitate place-making. However, given the critical need for environmental understanding and action in a contemporary society moving further from its ecology, artistic ways of being are needed to contribute where traditional methods are falling short.

    Arts for Parks is an effort to utilize art as a primary method in educational and experiential design not simply created space for arts within existing programming. Arts for Parks also brings the arts-based perspectives to popular park and recreation theories such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory and the work of Richard Louv on the value of unstructured play experiences in nature.

    Arts For Parks is the manifestation of inspiration from the Art-Eco Project. Applied within the Stark County (Ohio) Park District, this initiative seeks to complement and possibly complete the needs of existing programming and planning efforts through the creation of an artists’ collaborative, the creation of new arts-based programs and park plans and the critique and redevelopment of existing EE and recreation programs.

  • 16.30—17 Discussion

  • 17— After Party at Telakka


Conference participants are asked to make their own hotel reservations and pay for their own accommodation at the hotel. Quota reservations have been made to the nearby hotels listed below, but the availability of the limited number of rooms can only be guaranteed for a limited time.

Please check the deadlines and booking codes for reservations mentioned in each hotel info. These room prices are available only for bookings made directly with the hotel by email or by phone. All prices are per room and per night, including breakfast buffet and VAT.

Holiday Inn Tampere – Central Station 
Rautatienkatu 21, 33100 Tampere
tel. +358 20 055 055
Standard single room 93 EUR
Deadline for reservation: 10.11.2017
Booking code: ArtEco2017

Lapland Hotel Tampere
Yliopistonkatu 44, 33100 Tampere
tel. +358 3 383 0000
Single room 89 EUR
Double room 114 EUR
Deadline for reservation: 20.11.2017
Booking code: ArtEco2017


For more affordable accommodation, please check these options (no quota reservations have been made):

Dream Hotel (Dream Hotel & Dream Hostel), add. Åkerlundinkatu 2, 33100 Tampere
email:, tel. +358 45 2360 517
for 10 % discount, please mention the code “University of Tampere”

Mango Hotel, add. Hatanpään puistokuja 36, 33900 Tampere
email:, tel. +358 10 6662111
Distance from the University of Tampere: 2,2 km / 28 minutes walking (also bus connections available)

Omena Hotel, add. Hämeenkatu 7, 33100 Tampere
A hotel located in the city centre offering rooms in a budget price. Reservation and check-in are done online.