Art-Eco Project Report

This post is based on the transcription of Raisa’s presentation at Art, EcoJustice, and Education Conference on December 11, 2017 at the University of Tampere. (Power Point presentation as PDF)


Art-Eco is funded by Kone Foundation for three years, from 2015 to the end of this year.

Only two researchers were working with the grant money, doctoral student Jussi Mäkelä and myself as a post-doctoral scholar.

Before going to the actual contents, I will give you some figures of our project: Our budget was about 250 000 euros, from which 200 000 euros was covered by Kone Foundation, and the rest by smaller personal grants and funding.

We have organized five academic events and two art festival during these years. Just Jussi and I have had together:

  • about 20 artworks and exhibitions.
  • 8 peer-reviewed articles. Plus 2 other articles.
  • 3 books.
  • and 20 conference presentations.

We have also been lecturing, reviewing, consulting, mentoring… (The list of outcomes as PDF.)

But for what? And why?

Environmental disasters, animal abuse, wars, racist and sexist crimes — these are daily news from the traditional and social media of, in what state humankind has driven itself and its planet. We live in an era of eco-social crisis.

In this presentation, I show how through arts-based practice we can challenge, what I call ”normalized pathologies” of our modern society and furthermore imagine ”what else could be”.

I will first outline the multidisciplinary theoretical framework of our research project.

In our project, we have also used different methods of arts-based research which give access to various, normally marginalized, experiences and voices beyond modern assumptions and stereotypes.

On this basis, I conclude that empathetic-ecological humanity means responsible humans who understand their interdependence with the more-than-human world and who celebrate the diversity of people, other animals, and ecosystems. 

At the end, I want to emphasize the importance of multidisciplinary and multi-sensory practices in rethinking education towards sustainable future.


The starting point for the whole research project was when we met our mentor Rebecca Martusewicz and when she introduced the framework of EcoJustice Education to us in 2014.

The principal aim of EcoJustice thinking is to understand and protect the essential interdependence among humans and with the more than human world. It is crucial to acknowledge the fact that we are mutually responsible to and dependent on others. Any assumption that we are superior to or outside this interdependence will cause damage.

EcoJustice practice works along three interrelated strands of analysis: 

  1. The first involves an understanding that the present problems of ecological and social violence are rooted in our taken-for-granted value-hierarchized worldview, including science-based rationalism, instrumentalism, and individualism. These have to be challenged to change the course of action by regarding all life as equally valuable.
  2. The second strand focuses on identifying those patterns of belief and behavior that lead to mutual care and the protection of more sustainable ways of life. This process is named as ”revitalizing the commons”. 
  3. The third strand argues for imagination as an essential means of engaging the forms of responsibility needed to generate healthy communities. So, we must imagine that it is possible to live ethically on this earth and what that could look like.

EcoJustice thinking borrows from eco-feminism (Male & Shiva 2014, Plumwood 1993, 2002), which combines feminist and ecological themes. Its key research topics include a critical interpretation of the culture-nature dualism caused by the patriarchal world-view.

According to ecofeminism, the exploitation of both women and our ecologies is due to hyper-separation between culture and nature: for example, men and rationality are always seen as superior, and in contrast women and emotionality inferior (Plumwood 1993, 2002).

In addition to ecofeminism, our artistic work and thinking are also influenced by eco-phenomenology (Abram 1988, 1996, 2010; Brown & Toadvine 2002, see also Merleau-Ponty 2008/1945, 1968, 2003).

Eco-phenomenology examines how the tradition of a continental philosophy can inform the questions of environmental ethics  (Brown & Toadvine 2002, see also Värri 2014). Eco-phenomenology emphasizes the importance of experience in our attempt to research the world, but it also aims to challenge the anthropocentric conception of experience (Brown & Toadvine 2002).

The significance of experience can be described for example, by using the concept of asubjectivity, that is, a quality between different realities that cannot be fully restored to a subject or an object (Vadén & Torvinen 2015). For example, the meaning of forest walk does not only arise from the psychological contents of my mind, nor on the objective features of the natural environment but instead on the direct encounter between the forest and me.

In our task of trying to formulate what empathetic-ecological humanity could be about, several concepts and their definitions have been influential to us. 

In the modern Western society, we think of a body as only biological, anatomical and physiological entity, something that functions without the conscious efforts of a person. In contrast, the phenomenological concept of lived body refers to the experiential extension, where the body is conscious of itself and which we also call the “self.” So, the lived body is the unity of body–mind–spirit. In other words, it is bodily, cognitively and spiritually present in and of the world.

David Abram coined the term ”more-than-human world,” because he was frustrated with the terminology of environmentalism which contrasts humankind and the rest of nature by using the word “nature” as something totally separate from ”culture.”So, this phrase reminds us of the fact that human culture is only a subset of a larger set — that the human world is necessarily interrelated with the more-than-human world.

In my dissertation, I formulated the pedagogy of recognition (Foster, 2012) borrowing from Paul Ricoeur’s (2005) lexical and philosophical analysis of recognition. In my pedagogy of recognition, I first claim that we shift our action from (conceptual) knowing to (perceptual) recognizing. Second, I suggest that education should move from supporting (egoistic) self-esteem to (critical and inter-relational) self-recognition. Third, I claim that education should move from the model of possessive relation to others towards the mutual recognition of all life forms.

Jussi Mäkelä is using the concept of social sculpture which he has borrowed from German sculptor, teacher, and political activist Joseph Beuys. Throughout his whole artistic career, Beuys concentrated on developing a new kind of understanding of art that would lead to “a social organism as a work of art” (1990, p. 21).Beuys seems to refer to the social organism as something that we have power, freedom, and responsibility to shape. Society is our work of art which we have made and which therefore also represents our sense of aesthetics, the things we value.

Elisa Aalto and Sami Keto have recently released an insightful book about empathy. They describe the position of empathy in the contemporary world by using theories of psychology, philosophy, and biology. They ask, how is empathy associated with moral, cultural and political issues? And how does it affect our ability to share this planet with other beings? Especially Elisa’s conceptualization of embodied empathy and reflective empathy resonate well with our understanding of empathetic-ecological humanity.


The problem of academic research is that it often reaches only the members of our own scientific community and at most a few professionals working in the field.

In our project, we have used several different arts-based research methods.One of the main features of arts-based research is its ability to engage with a broader audience than what traditional academic research has been able to (Leavy 2015). Especially in the fields of social and educational sciences arts-based research has become increasingly popular and it has proven to be a reliable method of especially in researching experiences as well as bringing out the voice of people living in the margins (Leavy 2015, see also Suoranta & Ryynänen 2014).

Without going into the details of our methods, I will just say that we have done 

  • installations, exhibitions, festivals
  • movement-based practice and performances
  • videos and films
  • sculptures
  • poetry


By combining artistic practice and theory what have we found out?

First of all, through our work, the normalized pathologies were reaffirmed as key issues in the human and more than human disconnect – hierarchized dualisms, rationalism, individualism, instrumentalism, centric thinking, etc.

But more importantly, our research project found three critical practices in an attempt to overcome these normalized pathologies:

  • first, we should cultivate multi-sensory experiences,
  • second, seek balance,
  • and third, recognize diversity.

During this research project, I have guided sensory walks to different groups of people. By being in silence and closing our eyes, we can better focus on other sensibilities than just rational. We have made various movement and body-awareness exercises, we have focused in particular on the presence of breathing and to our tactile sense. It is our sensory body that binds us to the world, as Maurice Merleau-Ponty (2008) has said. So, based on our research we claim that through multi-sensory bodily practice, we can truly find and understand our vital connection with the more-than-human world.

By borrowing Beuys’ theory of sculpture Jussi suggests that the most important task for responsible humans is to find a creative balance between chaos and order. We are making a mistake of considering chaos as a threat (something to be defeated or controlled) when in contrast chaos could be seen as the pure unfettered energy that makes life possible. The current state of our world  is a result of not trying to find or maintain a balance: in the light of Beuys’ theory of sculpture Jussi argues that we have instrumentalized (or ignored) the pole of organic chaos, and forced pretty much everything into a determined form – often with measured (monetary) value. With artistic practice, we can celebrate also the creative force of chaos. 

In the world of instrumental values, it is radically political, to let the other to be another. Challenging dualism does not have to mean sinking into sameness; it only intends to remove the hierarchy (Plumwood 1993, 2002). After all, we need diversity for life to be possible. And the recognition of diversity is also vital for healthy ecologies of humans. Artistic activity where we don’t worry about what the participants don’t know or are not capable of doing, but on the contrary, where the practice starts from the recognition and celebration of what the participants are capable of doing and who they basically are in their difference (Xxx 2012b; 2014b) is empowering for the participants, but it is also a powerful political gesture. For example, contemporary dance, which starts from disabled dancers’ own expressions, is not “worse” than abled-bodied dancers’ movements but it is only different. Authentic and honest communication of movements overcome the normal-different hierarchy. Then the objectifying diagnosis of a person with disabilities loses its meaning and the other appears as an equally valuable subject. 

Art practice does not offer ready-made solutions or quick-fixes to problems, but it plays with different possibilities and endorse imagination. I hear from the participants of my multi-sensory movement workshops one sentence more often than any other comment: “I did not know that this kind of world existed”. As an artist with an intention to engage the public with critical imagination, this is the best response that I could wish.

Dualisms are illusions.

Art-Eco project has worked in-between of these oppositional poles, especially in-between of

  • theory and practice,
  • mind and body,
  • self and other,
  • human and other than human
  • masculine and feminine
  • abled and disabled.

For example, in the practice of body awareness and movement improvisation we can see how the body and mind are not separated, movements can generate different sensations, emotions, and memories in our bodies. Movements can also take the mover to the experience of I-lessness – to the disappearance of the ego. I coined the term I-lessness already in my dissertation in order to describe the state where the ego does not exist, but the experience is very much alive and the self is intertwined with others and the world. The self merges into the world and the world merges into the self. However, this feeling of merging does not mean falling into sameness. In short, I-lessness is experienced as the disappearance of the rationally controlled and constructed I, but not the disappearance of the self. The state of I-lessness can only be understood when we abandon the dichotomies of mind—body, self—other, reason—nature, and search for mutuality, in relation with others and in the living space of in-between dualism. ”I-lessness is a rejection of extreme subjectivism, which highlights the individual and independent self over others. On the other hand, the term refers to the overly accentuated position of objectifying and judging eye or I that is in control of everything” (Foster, 2012, p. 212).

Dancing is an activity which is typically excluded from men, because dance as a bodily practice, is considered something feminine. The hierarchized dichotomies are also dangerously grouped together. So, the man is using his rational mind, and not his sensual body. He is not a spiritual but a rational being. These qualities make him a ”real” man. In the bodies of dancing men, we can hit right in-between masculine and feminine dualism. 

Working with people with disabilities showed that art can offer a tool for everyone to express themselves and also to recognize their own abilities. Through art, we can also present the experiences of people with disabilities and open discussion about restructuring our society in a way that the diversity would be better and more positively recognized.

Art-based research can help us to see in-between dualisms and to imagine beyond the limits of the objective and rational realm.

So, coming down from our findings we claim that

Empathetic-ecological humanity means humans as responsible and reflective bodily beings, who understand their interdependence among others, other animals and eco-systems and who recognize the diversity of all life-forms.


In Art-Eco project we have looked at the features of modern Western society and how they have caused the emergence of eco-social problems. Rationalism, mechanism, and individualism as well as the belief in continuous economic growth, are currently ruling the political decision-making in Finland.

On the basis of our research, we claim that the current education policy that is only devoted to technology and natural sciences can lead to severe social and ecological problems. Accordingly, we are afraid that the abolition of arts, social sciences, and humanities from curricula leads students to a distorted view of the world. 

The normalized pathologies of modern thinking have penetrated all the levels of contemporary practice, even in the green politics: For example, bio-economics is marketed for us as clean technology, which, of course, reduces the use of fossil fuels, but which is still referred to as a bio ”resource”, meaning that trees are only seen as instruments for us to use and in the benefit of economic growth.

The so-called instrumental approach also leads us to see students as “learning machines,” which we have to program with right kind of information.

In our project, we also believe that it is problematic that this right kind of information is only considered to come from natural sciences and the use of technology.

Of course, we need technology and science too, and we have been able to get a lot of information for example about the severity of climate change.

However, despite all the information we have, we do not seem to change our behavior.

If the principal objective of the research project was, in fact, to find how to educate towards socially and ecologically sustainable future. Our research has shown that integrating arts-based practices consciously to knowledge-based learning situations is one way to do so.

Our American collaborator Nick Morris has told us how he used to do environmental education by guiding nature tours, naming the different species and revealing facts about ecosystems to his students. However, he has noticed that that has not helped his students to find a true connection with the natural environment.

Collaboration with Jussi and me allowed Nick to realize that getting to know the environment in a way artists do can make people appreciate nature in a new way. By throwing yourself on the ground, listening to the birds singing your eyes closed and feeling the sun on your skin — so doing things that are totally useless and irrational —make you notice the intrinsic value of plants and animals. So perhaps we, adults, should just return to that what children seem to do naturally.

The reason, which opposes itself to the body and nature, is fixed to the dominant position. All rational activities are seen as more valuable than those involving the body.  However, the practice that highlights the importance of the body, our sensory experiences and emotions “does not imply abandoning all forms of reason, science and individuality”, as Val Plumwood says, and continues, ”Rather, it involves their redefinition or reconstruction in less oppositional and hierarchical ways” (Plumwood, 1993, p. 4). Or as Jussi has discovered, our responsibility as artists and educators, or as any human being, is to find a balance between chaos and order, emotion and reason, action, and reflection.

In our project, we have also come to know that the will to protect animals and nature comes from the experience of authentic contact between humans and the more-than-human world — and not just by knowing the facts. Similarly, in order to give recognition for example to people with disabilities, we have to understand them as much more than just their diagnosis.


Internationally, Finns are often praised because of our connection to nature and, also of the broad general knowledge that our schooling provides. However, our American partners have now been terrified of the current education policy in Finland, for example, about the planned high school reform with ranking tools. Our American friends cannot understand why we would want to repeat their mistakes.

Our project’s bold approach to combine art and science in an environmental research project based on social and educational sciences has attracted interest particularly in the United States, where in fact our research results have already been applied to the Environmental Engagement in Ohio.

What we have done during these last three years could be called Arts-based EcoJustice Education. Our arts-based EcoJustice practice does not only aim to reveal the problems of modern thinking but it helps, to imagine, to see and feel, in and through art, what else could be. We believe that with a phenomenological attitude and a critical approach we could all educate and create art that ”changes the world”.

Ympäristöuhka: Tutkimus varoittaa koulutuspolitiikan kapeutumisesta

TIEDOTE 4.12.2017

Heti julkaistavaksi

Ympäristöuhka: Tutkimus varoittaa koulutuspolitiikan kapeutumisesta

Ainostaan teknologiaan ja luonnontieteisiin panostava koulutuspolitiikka voi johtaa vakaviin sosiaalisiin ja ekologisiin ongelmiin, väittää juuri päättyvä Koneen Säätiön rahoittama tutkimushanke.

Kansainvälinen kolmivuotinen Art-Eco-hanke havaitsi monialaisessa tutkimuksessaan, että taiteiden, yhteiskuntatieteellisten ja humanististen aineiden karsiminen opetussuunnitelmista johtaa vääristyneeseen käsitykseen maailmasta.

Hankkeen tutkijoiden mukaan elämme ekososiaalisten kriisien aikakautta. Ympäristökatastrofit, eläinten kaltoinkohtelu, sodat, rasistiset ja seksistiset rikokset ovat tutkimuksen mukaan esimerkkejä siitä, minkälaiseen tilaan ihmiskunta on ajanut omilla valinnoillaan itsensä ja planeettansa.

Hankkeessa tarkasteltiin modernin länsimaisen yhteiskunnan piirteitä ja niiden merkitystä ekososiaalisten ongelmien syntymiseen. Teknologia- ja yksilökeskeisyys sekä usko jatkuvaan talouskasvuun ohjaa tällä hetkellä Suomessa poliittista päätöksentekoa.

“Esimerkiksi biotaloutta markkinoidaan puhtaana teknologiana, jonka avulla toki vähennetäänkin fossiilisten aineiden käyttöä, mutta silti siinäkin luonnosta puhutaan resurssina eli puut nähdään vain välineinä talouskasvulle”, sanoo hankkeen tutkimusjohtaja Raisa Foster.

Niin sanottu välinearvoinen suhtautumistapa johtaa myös kouluissa oppilaiden näkemiseen vain “oppimiskoneina”, joihin tulee ohjelmoida oikeanlaista tietoa.

Fosterin mukaan ongelmana on myös se, että oikeanlaisen tiedon ajatellaan nykyään tulevan ainoastaan luonnontieteistä ja teknologian käytöstä.

“Toki niitäkin tarvitaan ja niiden avulla olemmekin saaneet valtavasti tietoa esimerkiksi ilmastonmuutoksen vakavuudesta. Kaikesta tiedosta huolimatta emme kuitenkaan näytä muuttavan käytöstämme.”

Tutkimushankkeen keskeisenä tavoitteena olikin löytää keinoja siihen, miten kasvatusta ja kouluopetusta voisi kehittää huomioimaan paremmin sekä sosiaalisesti että ekologisesti kestävä tulevaisuus.

Hankkeessa mukana ollut amerikkalainen tutkija Nick Morris huomasi, että vastaus löytyy nimenomaan integroimalla taidetta ympäristökasvatukseen.

“Biologina olen tietysti vetänyt oppilaille luontoretkiä nimeämällä lajeja ja kertomalla faktoja ekosysteemeistä. Se ei ole kuitenkaan auttanut oppilaita löytämään yhteyttä luontoon.”

Yhteistyö Fosterin ja toisen suomalaistutkijan Jussi Mäkelän kanssa sai Morrisin oivaltamaan, että tutustuminen ympäristöön taiteilijan tavoin saa ihmiset arvostamaan luontoa uudella tavalla.

“Heittäytymällä selälleen sammalmättäälle, kuuntelemalla lintujen laulua silmät kiinni ja tuntemalla auringon lämmön iholla huomaa luonnon arvon sellaisenaan. Meidän aikuistenkin pitäisi palata siihen, mitä uteliaat lapset tekevät luonnostaan.”

Morrisin mukaan havahtuminen eläinten ja luonnon suojelun tarpeeseen syntyykin nimenomaan aidon yhteyden kokemuksesta eikä pelkkien tiedollisten tosiasioiden pohjalta.

Ulkomailla Suomea arvostetaan nimenomaan ihmisten luontoyhteyden ja esimerkiksi laajan yleissivistyksen tarjoavan kouluopetuksen vuoksi.

“Amerikkalaiset yhteistyökumppanimme ovat olleet kauhuissaan Suomen koulutuspoliittisesta suunnasta, mihin esimerkiksi lukiouudistusta ranking-työkaluineen viedään. He eivät voi ymmärtää, miksi toistamme heidän tekemiään virheitä”, Foster kertoo.

Fosterin mukaan Art-Econ rohkea linja yhdistää taidetta ja tiedettä yhteiskuntatieteellisessä ympäristötutkimushankkeessa onkin herättänyt kiinnostusta erityisesti Yhdysvalloissa, jossa hankkeen tutkimustuloksia on jo sovellettu ympäristökasvatuksen opetussuunnitelmaan Ohiossa.



Kasvatustieteellinen ympäristötutkimushanke

Koneen Säätiön rahoittama kolmivuotinen Art-Eco-tutkimushanke empaattis-ekologisesta ihmisyydestä.

Hanke on itsenäinen, eri yliopistojen (mm. Tampereen yliopisto, University of Eastern Michigan) kanssa yhteistyössä toteutettu, monialainen tutkimus.

Hankeessa yhdisteltiin taideperustaista feminististä ja filosofista tutkimusta käyttäen erityisesti ekososiaalista oikeudenmukaisuuskasvatusta (engl. EcoJustice Education) taustateoriana.

Hankkeen päätöskonferenssissa Tampereen yliopistossa 11.-13.12. puhuu sekä kotimaisia että ulkomaisia tutkijoita ja taiteilijoita, muun muassa Nick Morris, Rebecca Martusewicz, Elisa Aaltola, Saara Särmä ja Antti Majava.



Raisa Foster, FT, tutkimusjohtaja, Art-Eco Project

raisa.foster (at ) artecoproject.com

050 345 1847


Monitieteinen konferenssi kestävästä elämäntavasta

TIEDOTE 15.11.2015

Heti julkaistavaksi

Monitieteinen konferenssi kestävästä elämäntavasta

Ympäristökatastrofit, eläinten kaltoinkohtelu, sodat, rasistiset ja seksistiset rikokset — perinteinen ja sosiaalinen media täyttyy päivittäin yhä pahemmista esimerkeistä siitä, mihin ihmiskunta on ajanut itsensä ja planeettansa. Elämme ekososiaalisen kriisin aikakautta.

Keskittyessämme osoittelemaan sormella toisia, emme tunnu huomaavan, miten omat asenteemme, ennakkoluulomme ja toimintamme tuottavat epäoikeudenmukaisuutta ja epävakautta niin ihmisten, toisten lajien kuin luonnonympäristönkin suhteen.

Kestävämmän elämäntavan rakentaminen edellyttääkin ensin syvempää ymmärrystä niistä rakenteista, jotka ylläpitävät ja tuottavat kestämätöntä kehitystä — ja sitten päätöstä toimia toisin.

Myös sekä perusopetuksen (POPS 2014) että lukion (Lukio OPS 2015) opetussuunnitelman perusteissa tunnustetaan hyvin keskeisenä, oppiainerajat ylittävänä sisältönä, kestävän elämäntavan välttämättömyyden opettaminen:

Ihminen on osa luontoa ja täysin riippuvainen ekosysteemien elinvoimaisuudesta. Tämän ymmärtäminen on keskeistä ihmisenä kasvussa. Perusopetuksessa tunnistetaan kestävän kehityksen ja ekososiaalisen sivistyksen välttämättömyys, toimitaan sen mukaisesti ja ohjataan oppilaita kestävän elämäntavan omaksumiseen. (POPS 2014, s. 16.)

Opiskelija ymmärtää oman toimintansa ja globaalin vastuun merkityksen luonnonvarojen kestävässä käytössä, ilmastonmuutoksen hillinnässä ja luonnon monimuotoisuuden säilyttämisessä. … Inhimillinen ja kulttuurinen moninaisuus nähdään rikkautena ja luovuuden lähteenä. (Lukio OPS 2015, s. 13.)

Tampereen yliopistossa 11.-13.12.2017 järjestettävä kansainvälinen konferenssi Art, EcoJustice, and Education tuo yhteen tutkijat, taiteilijat ja opettajat ekososiaalisen oikeudenmukaisuuden kysymyksien äärelle. Konferenssin kotimaiset ja kansainväliset puhujat tarkastelevat kestävän kehityksen filosofisia perusteita mutta esittelevät myös käytännön esimerkkejä, joissa kestävä elämäntapa on tutkimuksen, taiteen ja kasvatuksen keskeinen tavoite ja sisältö.

Konferenssi on Koneen Säätiön rahoittaman Art-Eco-tutkimushankkeen päätöstilaisuus.

Mitä? Art, EcoJustice, and Education –konferenssi

Milloin? 11.-13.12.2017

Missä? Väinö Linna -sali (K104), Linna-rakennus, Tampereen yliopisto

Ohjelma kokonaisuudessaan konferenssin verkkosivuilla.

Hinta 60 euroa (opiskelijat 30 euroa)

Hinta sisältää konferenssiohjelman ja -materiaalin, kahvitukset ja illanvieton maanantaina 11.12. Maksetaan rekisteröinnin yhteydessä.

Ilmoittautuminen tällä lomakkeella 4.12.2017 mennessä.

Lisätiedot raisa.foster (at) artecoproject.com

Lukio-opetus: Lisäkoulutusta kestävän elämäntavan opettamiseen

TIEDOTE 15.11.2015 (PDF)

Lisäkoulutusta kestävän elämäntavan opettamiseen

Lukion opetussuunnitelman perusteissa (OPS 2015) tunnustetaan hyvin keskeisenä, oppiainerajat ylittävänä sisältönä, kestävän elämäntavan välttämättömyyden opettaminen, mikä tarkoittaa sekä ihmisten keskinäistä että luonnonympäristön arvostamista:

Opiskelija ymmärtää oman toimintansa ja globaalin vastuun merkityksen luonnonvarojen kestävässä käytössä, ilmastonmuutoksen hillinnässä ja luonnon monimuotoisuuden säilyttämisessä. … Lukiossa kannustetaan keskinäiseen välittämiseen ja huolenpitoon. … Inhimillinen ja kulttuurinen moninaisuus nähdään rikkautena ja luovuuden lähteenä. (Lukio OPS 2015, s. 13.)

Tampereen yliopistossa 11.-13.12.2017 järjestettävä kansainvälinen konferenssi Art, EcoJustice, and Education on suunniteltu vastaamaan opettajien lisäkoulutuksen tarpeeseen liittyen kestävän elämäntavan ja ekososiaalisen oikeudenmukaisuuden kysymyksiin:

Oppivassa yhteisössä edistetään kestävää elämäntapaa ja hyvän tulevaisuuden edellytyksiä. Opiskelijoita rohkaistaan toimimaan oikeudenmukaisen ja kestävän tulevaisuuden puolesta. Vastuullinen suhtautuminen ympäristöön heijastuu arjen valintoihin ja toimintatapoihin. (Lukio OPS 2015, s. 16.)

Konferenssin kotimaiset ja kansainväliset puhujat tarkastelevat kestävän kehityksen kasvatustieteellisiä perusteita mutta esittelevät myös käytännön esimerkkejä, joissa kestävä elämäntapa on kasvatuksen keskeinen tavoite.

Mitä? Art, EcoJustice, and Education –konferenssi

Milloin? 11.-13.12.2017

Missä? Väinö Linna -sali (K104), Linna-rakennus, Tampereen yliopisto

Ohjelma kokonaisuudessaan konferenssin verkkosivuilla.

Hinta 60 euroa (opiskelijat 30 euroa)

Hinta sisältää konferenssiohjelman ja -materiaalin, kahvitukset ja illanvieton maanantaina 11.12. Maksetaan rekisteröinnin yhteydessä.

Ilmoittautuminen tällä lomakkeella 4.12.2017 mennessä.

Lisätiedot raisa.foster (at) artecoproject.com


Perusopetus: Lisäkoulutusta kestävän elämäntavan opettamiseen

TIEDOTE 15.11.2015 (PDF)

Lisäkoulutusta kestävän elämäntavan opettamiseen

Perusopetuksen opetussuunnitelman perusteissa (OPS 2014) tunnustetaan hyvin keskeisenä, oppiainerajat ylittävänä sisältönä, kestävän elämäntavan välttämättömyyden opettaminen:

Ihminen on osa luontoa ja täysin riippuvainen ekosysteemien elinvoimaisuudesta. Tämän ymmärtäminen on keskeistä ihmisenä kasvussa. Perusopetuksessa tunnistetaan kestävän kehityksen ja ekososiaalisen sivistyksen välttämättömyys, toimitaan sen mukaisesti ja ohjataan oppilaita kestävän elämäntavan omaksumiseen. (OPS 2014, s. 16.)

Tampereen yliopistossa 11.-13.12.2017 järjestettävä kansainvälinen konferenssi Art, EcoJustice, and Education on suunniteltu täyttämään tarve opettajien lisäkoulutukselle liittyen ekososiaalisen sivistyksen kysymyksiin:

Ekososiaalisen sivistyksen johtoajatuksena on luoda elämäntapaa ja kulttuuria, joka vaalii ihmisarvon loukkaamattomuutta, ekosysteemien monimuotoisuutta ja uusiutumiskykyä sekä samalla rakentaa osaamispohjaa luonnonvarojen kestävälle käytölle perustuvalle kiertotaloudelle. (OPS 2014, s. 16.)

Konferenssin kotimaiset ja kansainväliset puhujat tarkastelevat kestävän kehityksen kasvatustieteellisiä perusteita mutta esittelevät myös käytännön esimerkkejä, joissa sekä sosiaalinen ja ekologinen oikeudenmukaisuus on kasvatuksen keskeinen tavoite:

Oppiva yhteisö ottaa kaikessa toiminnassaan huomioon kestävän elämäntavan välttämättömyyden. Arjen valinnoillaan ja toimillaan koulu ilmentää vastuullista suhtautumista ympäristöön. … Oppiva yhteisö rakentaa toivoa hyvästä tulevaisuudesta luomalla osaamisperustaa ekososiaaliselle sivistykselle. Realistinen ja käytännöllinen asenne hyvän tulevaisuuden edellytysten muovaamiseen vahvistaa kasvamista vastuullisuuteen yhteisön jäseninä, kuntalaisina ja kansalaisina. Se rohkaisee oppilaita kohtaamaan avoimesti ja uteliaasti maailman moninaisuutta sekä toimimaan oikeudenmukaisemman ja kestävämmän tulevaisuuden puolesta. (OPS 2014, s. 29.)

Mitä? Art, EcoJustice, and Education –konferenssi

Milloin? 11.-13.12.2017

Missä? Väinö Linna -sali (K104), Linna-rakennus, Tampereen yliopisto

Ohjelma kokonaisuudessaan konferenssin verkkosivuilla.

Hinta 60 euroa (opiskelijat 30 euroa)

Hinta sisältää konferenssiohjelman ja -materiaalin, kahvitukset ja illanvieton maanantaina 11.12. Maksetaan rekisteröinnin yhteydessä.

Ilmoittautuminen tällä lomakkeella 4.12.2017 mennessä.

Lisätiedot raisa.foster (at) artecoproject.com

Runot raportoivat vammaistutkimuksesta

TIEDOTE 7.11.2017

heti julkaistavaksi

Runot raportoivat vammaistutkimuksesta

Minkälainen tahansa tavallinen -runokokoelma on tutkimusraportti filosofian tohtori Raisa Fosterin ja Tampereen kaupungin aikuisille kehitysvammaisille suunnatun Wärjäämö-toimintakeskuksen yhteisestä tutkimushankkeesta. Hankkeessa tutkittiin taiteen keinoin kehitysvammaisten aikuisten kokemuksia.

Kriittisen vammaistutkimuksen alaan kuuluva hanke on osa Koneen Säätiön rahoittamaa Art-Eco-tutkimushanketta, jossa tutkitaan ekososiaalista oikeudenmukaisuutta monitaiteellisesti. Hanke on kolmivuotinen ja se päättyy joulukuussa.

— Toivon runojen auttavan asettumaan vähemmistöasemassa olevan ihmisen kokemusmaailmaan, sanoo runojen kirjoittaja ja hankkeen tutkimusjohtaja Foster.

Tutkimusrunous on yksi taideperustaisen tutkimuksen muoto. Sosiaali- ja kasvatustieteissä runoutta on käytetty erityisesti Pohjois-Amerikassa erilaisten ihmisryhmien identiteetin tarkastelussa ja tutkimustulosten esittelyssä.

— Runot eivät ainoastaan välitä tietoa, vaan vaikuttavat meihin myös tunnetasolla, Foster perustelee tutkimusrunouden mahdollisuuksia kokemusten ymmärtämisessä.

Taideyliopistoja lukuunottamatta taiteelliset tutkimusmenetelmät ovat Suomessa vielä vähän käytössä. Taiteen avulla tutkimustuloksia voitaisiin kuitenkin avata laajemmalle yleisölle, eikä ainoastaan vain omalle tiedeyhteisölle.

Foster muokkasi runot kehitysvammaisten tutkimuskumppaneittensa päiväkirja- ja haastatteluaineistoista. Runot avaavat kehitysvammaisten aikuisten kokemuksia esimerkiksi erilaisuudesta, mutta myös tavallisuudesta, rakkaudesta ja kosketuksesta. Runoissa käsitellään myös kipeitä aiheita, kuten yksinäisyyttä ja toiveita parisuhteesta ja omasta lapsesta.

Runoihin tutustunut teatteri- ja nuorisotutkija Satu Olkkonen on myös vakuuttunut niiden voimasta: 

— Nämä runot osoittavat, että tieteen raportointi voi avautua ja uudistua, sen sijaan että peitettäisiin taiteellisesta toiminnasta sen vaikuttavuus.

Minkälainen tahansa tavallinen -runoteos julkaistaan keskiviikkona 8.11.2017 Taide & Osallisuus -seminaarissa Tampereella.

Tää on just tällanen
ja tää tarvii just tämmösiä apuja
Tällä ei oo mitään merkitystä
Sää oot nyt tällanen
Tällasessa purkissa
Se tarkoittaa sitä
että päätetään puolesta
koska meet nukkuun, koska syöt,
koska lähet ulos
Purkitetaan kaikki
12 neliöö vammaisparkkia:
ajatellaan valmiiks
päätetään puolesta

(Katkelma runosta Purkissa.)


Raisa Foster 050 345 1847
raisa.foster (at) artecoproject.com


Jenni Päily ja Mari Heinilä ovat Raisa Fosterin tutkimuskumppaneita Wärjäämössä. (Kuva: Milja Keinänen/Aviisi)

TIEDOTE: Taidefestivaali Break a Brain tuo tutkijat vuoropuheluun yleisön kanssa

TIEDOTE 29.12.2016

Julkaisuvapaa heti

Mitä saadaan kun yhdistetään feministit, aktivistit, taiteilijat ja tutkijat?

– taidefestivaali Break a Brain

Tampereella Otavalantunnelin liiketila Koskikeskuksessa kokee muodonmuutoksen Break a Brain -taidefestivaalin myötä. Joulukuun 2.-23. päivä järjestettävä poikkitaiteellinen tapahtuma tuo joulumyynnin kylkeen vaihtoehtoista ohjelmaa.

Break a Brain -taidegallerissa asetutaan ekologisen oikeudenmukaisuuden kysymysten äärelle. Tapahtuma ohjaa katsojia pohtimaan kestävän elämäntavan merkitystä niin sosiaalisesta kuin ekologisestakin näkökulmasta.

– Ympäristökatastrofit, eläinten kaltoinkohtelut, sodat ja rasistiset rikokset, luettelee tapahtuman järjestäjä, Art-Eco-hankkeen tutkimusjohtaja Raisa Foster.

Perinteinen ja sosiaalinen media täyttyy päivittäin yhä pahemmista esimerkeistä siitä, mihin ihmiskunta on ajanut itsensä ja planeettansa.

– Millaisille ajattelumalleille meidän toimintamme perustuu? Mihin tietoon uskomme ja mihin se meidät johtaa? kysyy Art-Econ toinen tutkija Jussi Mäkelä.

Taidefestivaalin galleriassa yleisöä puhuttelevat Sarjakuva-Finlandialla palkitun Tiitu Takalon taidokkaat kuluttamista käsittelevät Minä, Mikko ja Annikki – sarjakuvan originaalit sekä Congrats, you have an all male panel! -sivustosta tunnetun tutkija-taiteilija-aktivisti Saara Särmän räväkät yhteiskuntakriittiset kollaasit.

Gallerianäyttelyä täydentävät Art-Eco-hankkeen taiteilija-tutkijoiden videoteokset, tilaveistokset sekä moniaistinen installaatio. Ekososiaalisuuden teema kuuluu ja näkyy myös tapahtuman taiteilijapuheenvuoroissa, paneelikeskusteluissa ja esityksissä. Kaupunkitilassa Break a Brain -festivaali koetaan Tampereen yliopiston luokanopettajaopiskelijoiden taideinterventioina, jotka haastavat ja yllättävät kaupunkilaiset näkemään ja kokemaan Tamperetta toisin.

Taidefestivaalin moottorit Foster ja Mäkelä työskentelevät galleriassa ja odottavat mielenkiinnolla vuoropuhelua näyttelyyn saapuvien kanssa:

– Haluamme kannustaa pohtimaan ihmisen vastuuta ympäristöön ja toisiin ihmisiin. Taide on moniulotteinen tapa osallistaa ihmisiä ajattelemaan ja oivaltamaan.

Break a Brain -tapahtuman järjestävät yhteistyössä Koneen säätiön rahoittama Art-Eco-hanke ja Tampereen taidekasvatusyhdistys. Tapahtuman on rahoittanut Taiteen edistämiskeskus.

Haaste on heitetty – Break a Brain!

Tiedote (PDF)

Tapahtuman verkkosivut ja ohjelma: http://artecoproject.com/break-a-brain/

Gallerian aukioloajat: ma-pe 10-20, la 10-18, su 12-16.

Haastettelupyynnöt ja kuvat: raisa.foster@artecoproject.com, 050 345 1847

ILMAINEN OPASTUS Break a Brain -festivaalin näyttelyyn!

Tilaa ryhmällesi ilmainen opastus!

Tuo ryhmäsi tutustumaan Break a Brain – ekososiaalisen taiteen festivaalin gallerianäyttelyyn Koskikeskukseen 2.-23.12. Sovi aika ilmaiseen opastukseen (ark. klo 10-16): raisa.foster@artecoproject.com

Näyttely auttaa katsojia pohtimaan opetussuunnitelmissakin korostetun kestävän elämäntavan merkitystä niin sosiaalisesta kuin ekologisestakin näkökulmasta. Mistä esimerkiksi rasismi tai ympäristöongelmat juontavat juurensa? Miten köyhyys ja ilmastonmuutos liittyvät toisiinsa?

Tiitu Takalon Sarjakuva-Finlandia-palkitun, Tampereelle sijoittuvan Minä, Mikko ja Annikki -sarjakuvan taidokkaat ja puhuttelevat originaalit sekä mediasta tutun tutkija-taiteilija-aktivisti Saara Särmän räväkät kollaasit herättävät varmasti jokaisen kriittiseen ajatteluun. Näyttelyn täydentää Art-Eco-ryhmän videoteokset ja installaatiot.

Pedagoginen opastus suunnitellaan kohderyhmälle sopivaksi. Oppaina toimivat Art-Eco-projektin tutkijat Raisa Foster ja Jussi Mäkelä. Heillä on molemmilla opettajan pätevyys, ja he ovat toimineet ennen tutkija–taiteilija-uraansa useita vuosia peruskoulun opettajina.

Lue lisää festivaalin ohjelmasta: http://artecoproject.com/break-a-brain/ )

Tervetuloa! Tapahtumamme on maksuton ja avoin kaikille!

Koskekaa teokseen! (Näyttelytiedote 3.10.)

img_6361Taidetila Terrassa Kangasalla avautuu 10.10. Jussi Mäkelän näyttely ”Taiteilija on paikalla”. Näyttelytilan täyttää Mäkelän veistoksista ja esineistä koostuva installaatio, joka havainnoi ja tulkitsee saksalaisen kuvanveistäjän ja mystikon Joseph Beuysin (1921–86) kuvanveiston teoriaa.

Beuysin sosiaalista kuvanveistoa väitöstutkimuksessaan tarkasteleva Mäkelä suorittaa jatko-opintojaan Tampereen yliopiston kasvatustieteiden yksikössä. ”Äkkiseltään ei kuulosta oikealta paikalta, mutta mitä enemmän olen Beuysin ajatteluun perehtynyt, sitä paremmin se kohtaa kasvatustieteet”, Mäkelä kertoo. ”Kaiken tekemisen taustalla oli hirveä vimma saada ihmiset huomaamaan omat mahdollisuutensa maailman muuttamiseen paremmaksi – kaikille: niin ihmisille kuin eläimillekin. Sitä sosiaalinen kuvanveisto on, ja siksi ’jokainen ihminen on taiteilija’, kuten Beuys julisti.” Mäkelän näyttelyssä taiteilija onkin paikalla aina, kun tilassa on joku. Tämän korostamiseksi katsojaa rohkaistaan sommittelemaan installaatiota uusiksi, parhaan näkemyksensä mukaisesti. ”Ei minulla mitään totuutta ole kerrottavaksi. Jokaisen on se ihan itse löydettävä, ja siinä etsinnässä se taitelija piileksii.”

img_6217Näyttelyn veistokset ovat filosofisia pohdintoja, jotka ovat syntyneet tarpeesta käsitellä hankalasti hahmottuvia ideoita, kuten vapauden olemusta, Beuysin persoonallisia teorioita tai Heideggerin ajatuksia tilasta ja kehosta. ”Käsite-sanassakin on käsi, niin olen koittanut antaa käsieni näitä ajatella. Se on monesti paljon helpompaa kuin sanoilla veistely.”



Taiteilija on paikalla” -installaatio Kangasalla Taidetila Terrassa 10.10.–27.10.2016.
Keskusaukio 2, 36200 Kangasala, avoinna ma–pe 10–19, la 10–15. Vapaa pääsy.



Instagram: @kasitetoimisto :

#TaiteilijaOnPaikalla ; #artecoproject ; #BeingIntoSpace ; #AcademyOfRevolution ; #ExistenceRadiators

Arts-based and Artistic Research Conference in Helsinki

Last week the 4th Conference on Arts-based and Artistic Research was held in Aalto University, Helsinki. Here are the abstracts of our presentations.


Artist as a Public Scholar, by Raisa Foster

This paper discusses the role of an artist/researcher in exchanging and creating knowledge for and with public. It first describes the different types of artistic activisms used, such as culture jamming, poetic terrorism, graffiti, and other different kinds of public art interventions, but it then focuses especially to the artist/researcher’s own multidisciplinary and participatory art projects as public scholarship.

Public art intervention happens in the crossroad of art and activism. It challenges power structures through creative resistance. The criticism of society and its phenomena can happen either through the form or the content of an art work. Sometimes artists can purposely work from an activist point of view; sometimes a political aspect emerges unintentionally. The artistic protests can target various issues, such as sexism, racism, socio-economic injustice, ecological crisis, and many more. Many of the activist art projects also criticize the idea of consumerism by invading commercial places, by creating anti-ads, or by interrupting some other ways the unquestioned idea of human as primarily a consumer.

By producing unexpected encounters artistic interventions enable new ways of interpreting and critically evaluating social structures and current issues. Interventions do not always look like works of art: they do not locate in the secure context of art institution, but in contrast, public may run into an art work in a surprising everyday situation. Thus it could be also said that art in a public space often lacks the representative nature of art; instead it presents real gestures.

Artist as a public scholar believes that it is possible to create original and exciting works that speak both to other academics and artists but also to wider audience. Activist art requires an active attitude from an audience. An art work may not offer clear meaning posed by the artist, but instead it invites multiple meanings to occur and for every spectator to experience and interpret in his/her own way. Public scholarship in arts builds new understanding through openness and practice through dialogue and participation.

Instead of promoting a clear political agenda, an art intervention in public space may aim to create an “atmosphere”, a holistic affective experience for its witnesses. Atmosphere occurs as a primary experience and it shows the world as it is, and not through concepts and representations of it. This kind of art intervention can help us to see things differently, communicate experience across linguistic and cultural divides, and that way also produce more complex knowledge and holistic understanding.

In order to describe the role of an artist as a public scholar, this paper gives examples of two different art projects (Rikka performance and Break a Brain festival) that both share a common interest in (1) focusing to the questions of EcoJustice, (2) invading (public) space, and (3) investigating the role of a spectator as a witness. Rikka (2014) is a site-specific performance combining movement and sound art. Break a Brain (2015) is a multidisciplinary and place-based art festival.


Social sculpture as anarchist pedagogy or pedagogy of (r)evolution, by Jussi Mäkelä

The purpose of this paper is to present an arts-based research project aiming to construct a  philosophically consistent grounding for Joseph Beuys’ concept of Social Sculpture. The focus is on scrutinizing the importance of an arts-based method in theorizing Beuys’ thinking. In addition, the paper will introduce the key arguments of the research asserting that Social Sculpture is fundamentally a pedagogical project. After all, Beuys regarded pedagogy as the most important means to mold the society – the ultimate artwork: “To be a teacher is my greatest work of art.” This relates to what Beuys calls an extended (expanded, enhanced) understanding (concept) of art – what we could also call “a (r)evolution of thoughts”.

Composing a coherent philosophical grounding for Beuys’ thinking is a complicated task. In the
research project at hand this is done by scrutinizing various kinds of Beuys-literature and reflecting
the emerging elementary ideas against both Beuys’ artworks and researcher’s own artworks that
have been inspired by Beuys’ oeuvre. Reflections are subjected to a phenomenological rigor in
order to offer them a philosophically solid grounding.

The artistic process described in this paper consists mainly of preparation of an exhibition that will
take place in Nokia in April 2016. The exhibition is called “Freedom relations” and consists of
sculptures and installations. Through the exhibited works the aim is to scrutiny the concept of
freedom as a relation and its significance for Social Sculpture.

The research is ontologically grounded on phenomenology and especially its connections to artistic
practices. It relies mainly on Merleau-Ponty, but partly also on Heidegger because of his special
interest on sculpture. For Beuys, freedom is an essential concept that recurs throughout his writings
and public appearances. In this research, freedom is considered a relation: one can be only free in
relation to something. This standing point makes it relevant to contemplate the special meaning of a
sculpture in regard to Social Sculpture. Existing in space by its character, a sculpture always
demands a relation with the spectator – or even a passer-by.

From the mid 1960’s until his death in 1986, Joseph Beuys’ career turned more and more into the
politics, and so did his artworks, too. By his on words, Beuys gradually lost his interest in making
visually interesting art, instead he loaded his massive works with meanings that were more or less
hidden in materials and forms. He regarded the actual artworks as process waste with some value as
historical documentations, the true artwork being the change in the society that he might have
sparked. To put it simply, for Beuys, being an active and responsible member of a community was
to be an artist, but it is challenging to swiftly turn his thinking and Social Sculpture into a
pedagogical form – although the pedagogy is in there. This paper is about making that pedagogy
explicit through arts-based research, aiming to bring about a (r)evolution of thought within

Nick Morris’ visit in Tampere – the meeting of art and science

Our collaborator Nick Morris from Ohio visited us last week and we managed to build some great new partnerships between Finland and the US! Thank you Nick for you visit and let’s continue this great collaboration from here!

Here is our last week’s program with some photos:

Monday 13th June

Walking around  in the Pyynikki park are, and visiting at the observation tower.

Visiting Pikku Kakkonen children’s park

Dinner and discussion about the aims for our collaboration.

IMG_9156 IMG_9169  IMG_9179 IMG_9182


Tuesday 14th June

Meeting with the biology/geography teacher Ms. Merja Kuisma from the Normal School of the University of Tampere

Lunch at the Tammelantori market place

Visiting Kauppi city park

Discussion about our Sharing Commons, Varying Perspectives installation on the shores of Lake Näsijärvi.

IMG_9236 IMG_9235IMG_9207IMG_9220 IMG_9245 IMG_9243 IMG_9227

Wednesday 15th June

Lunch at the Café Tallipiha – Stable Yards with Dr Antti Saari, EDU, University of Tampere

A visit to Cultural Education Unit TAITE of Museum Services, City of Tampere, to hear about Taidekaari – ‘Art Arc’ Cultural Education Programme

Visiting Näsilinna, Tiitiäisen Satupuisto children’s park and Nääs-halli sport hall in Näsinpuisto park

Ron Mueck exhibition at Sara Hildén Art Museum and Näsinneula tower in Särkänniemi

Dinner with EDU researchers Jani Pulkki and Vesa Jaaksi

IMG_9308IMG_9311 IMG_9312  IMG_9263 JLNX2095IMG_9325IMG_9265IMG_9339

Thursday 16th June

Visiting Hämeenlinna and meeting with the director and teacher of forest preschool


Evening in a summer cottage and smoke sauna in Kangasala.

IMG_9351 IMG_9353 IMG_9354


Friday 17th June

A short stop at Melo power plant between Nokia and Siuro

Visiting Jussi’s studio on the bank of Siuronkoski Rapids

Lunch at the Koskibaari

Visiting Ossi Somma’s outdoor exhibition

Walking in the nature preserves of Siuro

IMG_9380IMG_9413IMG_9394 IMG_9408IMG_9433 IMG_9435

Saturday 18th June

Meeting with Olli-Jukka Jokisaari from University of Turku and Jani Pulkki and Vesa Jaaksi from EDU, University of Tampere


Sunday 19th June

Visiting Seitseminen Nature Centre

Visiting an old farm and hiking in the Seitseminen old-growth forest, Torpparintaival 6.5 km (4 miles)

Dinner and closing discussion

IMG_9631 IMG_9477IMG_9517 IMG_9622 IMG_9482IMG_9510 NSON3716IMG_9526 IMG_9624IMG_9531 IMG_9576IMG_9651 IMG_9668

LECTURE: “What is a ‘farm?‘ Political Ecologies of Jamaican Smallholder Farmers” by Dr. Gary Schnakenberg

WHEN? Thu 12.5.2016 13.15 – 15.00

WHERE? University of Tampere, Edu’s Cafe (Virta-building, Åkerlundinkatu 5).

Co-hosted by Art-Eco Project and School of Education, University of Tampere


ABSTRACT:  The southern portion of Jamaica’s St Elizabeth parish is considered Jamaica’s ‘breadbasket’ due to favorable climatic conditions and large number of smallholder farmers.  However, effects of contemporary globalization have created new challenges and exacerbated some existing ones for these farmers. Political ecology is an approach employed by researchers across multiple disciplines that aims to understand choices made by people regarding how they interact with their environment through analyzing power operations. Employing examples from fieldwork and drawing upon a political ecology framework, this talk examines the role of modernist discourses in shaping agricultural landscapes in a postcolonial setting through the decisions and motivations of actors at multiple scales.


BIO: Gary Schnakenberg received his Ph.D. in Geography at Michigan State University in 2013, where he currently teaches courses in human geography and nature-society studies.  His research interests are in critical cultural geographies of agriculture, political ecology, the Caribbean, and processes involving identity in place-making. Prior to his doctoral work, Gary was a high school teacher in New Hampshire (USA) for 26 years, teaching a variety of social studies classes, focusing especially on geography. He served on the Geography subcommittee of the New Hampshire Department of Education Social Studies Frameworks Committee, and was a founding member of the New Hampshire Geographic Alliance. He lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan with his wife and partner Dr. Rebecca Martusewicz and their dogs and cats.

Exploring landscape with Dr Bagryana Popov

My visit in Australia included various artistic and research activities. Here are some highlights presented in photos.


Bagryana Popov’s Uncle Vanya in Eganstown in April 16-17

Uncle Vanya is a site-specific, durational version of the play by Anton Chekhov, an early environmentalist. Performed over two days, Uncle Vanya is an immersive experience that dissolves the division between audience and performers, as they move through the rooms and grounds of these homes. The characters of the play grapple with a deteriorating environment, the economic difficulty of living on the land, tensions around family inheritance and deep family bonds. We enter the world together; a world of the past and an experience of here and now. – LaMama

The (Eco)Pedagogy of Recognition – presentation for SUSTAINed Network at La Trobe University in April 19

In my talk I discussed how the pedagogy of recognition (Foster 2012) can be seen as a form of EcoJustice education (Martusewicz, Edmundson & Lupinacci 2015).  EcoJustice education starts from a systematic cultural-ecological analysis: the critical investigation focuses especially to the structures of modern thinking and to the discourses that reproduce those deeply rooted assumptions of modernity. Education which aims for supporting eco-ethical consciousness needs, along with the discourse analytical approach, an (eco)phenomenological attitude as its starting point. Eco-phenomenology extends beyond the conceptual structures towards the sensual world, which is more than human. The pedagogy of recognition claims that new ethical understanding can occur when we shift our action from (conceptual) knowing to (perceptual) recognizing. The pedagogy of recognition respects all forms of lives as equally valuable.



Being an artist-researcher-educator presentation at VCA, University of Melbourne in April 19

I gave a personal talk about my life as a former student of dance in VCA and a current artist-reseacher-educator. I talked about my journey from a student in Australia to the independent practitioner working in Finland. I also talked about my own artistic-pedagogical method of dance animateuring and presented its six thesis. It was great to visit my old school and meet the current postgraduate students!

IMG_8062 IMG_8069


Movement explorations with Dr. Bagryana Popov in April 20-22 

Bagryana and I continued our collaboration by doing some movement explorations both in studio space and outside. Soo Yeun You joined us on Thursday and it was great fun to work with her again after ten years! (We danced together in Bagryana’s Studies in Being Human in 2006.) Bagryana also presented her research paper The listening body: Encounters with trees, water, rocks for me, which was very interesting because the paper handled our collaborative project from last year in Finland. In our practice we used authentic movement technique and we focus especially to the concept of landscape – as in our childhood memories, as in the experience of multi-sensory presence. On Friday Bagryana and I walked along Yarra Creek and research the landscape as a personal sanctuary of everyday.


Welcome, Satu – our new intern!

We are very happy to have a new intern in our project!

Satu Järvinen (b. 1992) is working as a research assistant in the Art-Eco Project. She is currently studying Master of Education degree in Expert Training in Education and Adult Education at the University of Eastern Finland. She has also graduated as tanssi-innostaja (engl. dance animateur) in December 2015.

“In my studies of Tanssi-innostaminen®, I found my own way to be, respect for myself, others and nature.”

IMG_0699 IMG_3701

Satu will transcribe research interviews and the handwritten diaries of our informants/co-reseachers. This data is collected from two different Tanssi-innostaminen® projects, so it is great that Satu is also an expert in this field. Satu will also co-ordinate Nick Morris’ visit to Tampere in June. Satu is also thinking of doing her master’s thesis in EcoJustice framework.

Welcome to our team, Satu!

Something happens – four short films


Something happens – four short films

Sat 27th February 2-3pm at Arthouse Cinema Niagara, Tampere

Four poetic films about atmospheres. The films born intuitively – by yielding to that what aroused in the process. The films you cannot rationalize and which do not reflect anything particular, but which, exactly therefore, have a potential to awaken you for deeper understanding and to connect with that which is present in this very moment.

Something happens is a film event organized by Tampere Art Education Association and which presents four short films by Markku Hakala and Raisa Foster:
I am You – by Markku Hakala
Sounds of Grey – by Raisa Foster
Matkaopas – by Markku Hakala
I Shall Not Suffer – by Raisa Foster & Markku Hakala


I have used the method of dance animateuring in the creation of the two films Sounds of Grey and I Shall Not Suffer. The starting points for the films were: 1) to investigate and bring front the quality of so-called “weak performer” (opposite to charismatic, skillful, and others that are normally valued), and 2) to let meanings to emerge from “in-between” (opposite to subject/object division), in other words to avoid the psychologization of individual subjectivity and also the pretense of universal symbolization.

The collaborative creative process of film making also challenges the idea of “possessive individualism” (Macpherson 1962), the concept of human as “I own therefore I am”. The modernist idea of film maker and/or its performers as the owners of the film and its meanings is abandoned. In contrast, the film invites multiple meanings to arise and thus requires active participation from its audience.

The idea of dance animateuring is to encourage everyone to find their own way of moving and to express by movements. The film created in the process of dance animateuring presents a performer which presence and expression is “undemanding”. The use of pedestrian movements is common, but even if the movements are antiexpressive – abstract in the sense that they go beyond everyday moves – they still give an impression of effortlessness.

The films aim to show, how the meanings of an art work are not based on just semiotics. The film does not aim to present artistic symbols (in the form of dance steps and choreography) which are based on the artist’s intentions and which are pointing to some particular and coherent meaning. In contrast, meanings emerge from elements that go beyond the (human) subjectivity and were not in control of the (human) makers of the film: in other words, from the movements of plants, light and shadow, rain, an empty chair and a room, train tracks, staircase, colors, sounds.

Something happens celebrates the ineffability of artistic meaning. All the four films bring front the idea of “holistic affective experience”. Another concept to describe this kind of phenomenon is “atmosphere” which points to a state where everything is interconnected. (See also Vadén & Torvinen 2014.) Atmosphere occurs as a primary experience and it shows the world as it is, and not through concepts and representations of it (see also Klemola 2005). The films are not illustrations of life, but they have a life of their own.

New Year – New Collaborator

Happy New Year, everyone! We are certainly happy to announce our new collaborator – Nick Morris from Ohio.

Nick Morris is currently the community outreach coordinator for Stark Parks working to expand the reach of the park district as an essential community resource. In this capacity he serves as director of Live Well Stark County which is a collaborative project to support healthy eating and active living and Stark Parks’ ACE program which aims to position the park district as a site for higher education learning for sustainability. Recently he developed Introduction to Watershed Studies; a park based biology course through Kent State university which combines environmental science and humanities based inquiries to reconceptualize watersheds as communities. Prior to working with Stark Parks he earned his BS in Biology in 2001 from Muskingum University and taught high school biology for five years. He earned his Master’s degree in education from Walsh University in 2004 and served as an adjunct professor of multi-cultural education there until 2009. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Foundations of Education and is a current adjunct professor of environmental education at Kent State University.

The goals for our collaboration are
– to share the models of collaborative education with representatives from the universities and community partners
– to explore the potential of adding art to environmental initiatives
– to develop a longer term project partnering between Art-Eco Project and Stark Park’s Academy of Collaborative Education (ACE)

The ACE program has brought together university and college students and faculty as well as high school students to address the health of the local environment through community-based learning. The project launched in 2014 after Stark Parks received a grant from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation.

Read Nick’s interview about the ACE program from thesuburbanite.com.

We met Nick at the EJE conference last year and now he is coming to Tampere to work with us in June 13-20. Looking forward to this great collaboration! Welcome, Nick!


Sosiaalisen kuvanveiston kurssin satoa

Viime keväänä toteutin Tampereen yliopistossa kasvatustieteiden yksikössä sosiaalisen kuvanveiston kurssin, laajuudeltaan viisi opintopistettä. Kurssin aikana keskusteltiin, filosofoitiin, suunniteltiin ja lopuksi tehtiin veistoksia. Lisäksi opiskelijat työstivät lyhyet tekstit omista tutkimusprosesseistaan. Koska hosumalla ei mitään hyvää saa aikaiseksi, näyttely opiskelijoiden teoksista pistettiin pystyyn vasta lokakuussa, ja samassa yhteydessä julkaistiin myös tekstit kokoelmaksi taitettuna. Ja nyt kokoelma on myös täällä ihmeteltävissä, oheisessa pdf-liitteessä!

Kurssi oli samalla kokeilu osallistavasta opetuksesta: opiskelijat olivat mukana kurssin tavoitteiden asettelusta arviointiperusteiden laadintaan ja suoritusten arviointiin asti. Kaikki suunnitteluun ja toteutukseen liittyvä oli avoimesti esillä ja keskustelun kohteena. Tällainen ei tokikaan ole kaikissa tilanteissa mahdollista, mutta ehdottomasti harkitsemisen arvoista. Ratkaisu paitsi säästää opettajan työtä mm. arvioinnissa, antaa myös opiskelijoille positiivisen signaalin heidän merkityksestään kurssin onnistumiselle: opiskelijoista tulee kurssin “omistajia” (ruma sana, mutta kuvaa tässä aika hyvin ko. ilmiötä). Nyt esillä oleva julkaisu oli ratkaisu kurssin kirjallisen osuuden suorittamiseksi tentin/esseen/tms. sijaan. Lopputulos on näyttävämpi, selkeämmin osa oppimisprosessia ja jää kaikille muistoksi.

Mikä tässä on niin vaikeaa ymmärtää? (pdf; 2,1 Mt)

Keskustelua kuolleen taiteilijan kanssa (Lehdistötiedote)

TIEDOTE 7.9.2015, Siuro


Keskustelua kuolleen taiteilijan kanssa Kangasalla

Taidetila Terrassa Kangasalla avautuu 14.9. käsitetaiteilija Jussi Mäkelän näyttely ”Kuinka keskustella kuolleen taiteilijan kanssa”. Esillä olevat maalaukset ja veistokset ovat osa Mäkelän väitöstutkimusta; valtaosa teoksista syventyy tarkastelemaan rajattua ilmiötä, kuten tiettyä väriä tai materiaalia.

Mäkelä tutkii ihmisen ja maailman monimutkaista suhdetta tulkitsemalla Joseph Beuysin (1921–1986) ajattelua ja taidetta. Beuys oli taiteilija, opettaja ja mystikko, jonka haastava taiteellinen tuotanto on erottamaton osa hänen yhteiskunnallisesti aktiivista ajatteluaan. ”Beuysin vaikutus nykyiseen taidekäsitykseemme on kiistaton, mutta sen lisäksi hänen yhteiskunnallinen ja ekologinen ajattelunsa on ajankohtaisempaa kuin koskaan”, arvioi Mäkelä.

Tampereen yliopistossa jatko-opintojaan suorittava Mäkelä pitää taiteen tekemistä tapana syventää ymmärtämystä. ”Tietoa vähän kaikesta meillä on jo aika paljon”, sanoo Mäkelä. ”Pikkuhiljaa pitäisi yrittää ymmärtää, mitä tuo kaikki maailmasta keräämämme tieto oikeastaan tarkoittaa tässä oikeassa elämässä ja oikeassa maailmassa.”


Kuinka keskustella kuolleen taiteilijan kanssa” – maalauksia ja veistoksia

Taidetila Terra 14.9.–2.10.2015.
Keskusaukio 2, 36200 Kangasala
Avoinna ma–pe 10–19, la 10–15.
Vapaa pääsy.

“Reflection on work in forest and lake” by Bagryana Popov

So many landscapes – rich, magical, strange, beautiful light.

So many conversations – connecting our experience to one another and to the landscape.

Memorable moment – sitting on the log speaking about death – We were reflecting on the living tree and the dead tree – that the dead tree is still a tree, upright, vertical, strong, it looks the same to my (unknowing) eye. So – death and life.  They suggest that life and death may not be so radically separated from one another. But – what if one of us is to die right now? A light, fun question. Life and death are radically different.

We talk about physics and the meaning of the word ‘energy’ to a physicist – energy as impact, energy as ‘work’. No energy is ever lost. All energy is transformed. We think of this in relation to the tree, the wood, and because we are there, sitting on the log, breathing the air of the trees, looking out over the delicate edge of the tips of the radiant green treetops, we think of it in relation to our own bodies, too. Somehow the distance between the wood, the leaves, the soft ground and our skin has begun to dissolve.

We talk about sound – the constant sound of wind through the leaves is a soothing sound. The nervous system (my nervous system) accepts it and surrenders to it. This is essentially different to constant sound of air-conditioning, or machine. Raisa says that the sound designer she collaborates with is more interested in man-made sound, machine sound. We talk about this, too – that it is our relation to the sound, our interest, our intention that shapes how we hear and enjoy sound. Always- intentionality, relation. I return to these again and again, even when I am quietly observing, and not searching to them.



I discovered that all nature is beautiful.

That the sound of the wind through the trees is beautiful in Seitseminen is beautiful by the Danube.

My hand touched the astonishing undergrowth- springy, spongy and soft. I touched ancient trees. We sang the Kalevala tune as we walked. Song connected to land connected to history – but also disconnected, old, distant.

We worked in the studio- where Raisa and Anttii worked in synchronicity and in separateness.

They did a beautiful tree duet- leaning, listening gently, intertwining- almost.

When the words initiating the movement connected to their thought, to their interest, movement erupted, with a surge of impulse and a fluidity, carrying them, the movement speaking to me (who was watching, listening) of their sensitive response to trees and soil. Images carried across to me. Thought connects to movement connects to weight and lightness connects to viewer. Thomas Richards talks about ‘induction’ in Heart of Practice (Richards 2014) when there is a phenomenon of ‘induction’, when someone is witnessing or performing with a performed who is approached inner action- ‘this transformation of energy’. (Richards 2014: 13)

I discovered that they are different states of sensibility and sensitivity – the state of listening to the land and moving, and the state of humanness.

The look makes things human.

I saw that the human body can suggest tree body with the simplest gesture: ‘Burn marks.’

I learned (again) that the question, request/demand drives us, or makes us contact in a way that is different to a gentle, egoless cohabitation, a being with.

I am reminded that I am always interested in the human (story, need, want, listening, responding, the body) because we are human, so it’s honest. I am interested in honest.



The image of Raisa and Antti on the rocks, at the edge of the lake- beautiful shapes, the people are people, are animals, are elements.

A continuum becomes possible in the way I perceive them.

Raisa leans back and at a certain point her hand enters the water. She is wet.



Touch is always close.

Touch is irreducibly different from sight.

Touch brings up my empathy of experience, of sensing.

But what kind of sensing?

Touching can be proprietorial,

Can be personal,

Can be kinaesthetic.

Touch which has gentle, honest intention, a request.

What is the question? (We need a question. We need a need. There needs to be a need.)


Antti’s Nordell poems from day 1:

Rich images; specific, dark, delicate.

The burn marks, the beard, the cloud.

We saw them on the trees in Seitseminen.

The infinite richness of texture there- infinite, gushing, alive.

No tree is like any other.

I sensed the tree as a person.

(Antti said to the tree in his written dialogue with it ‘maybe your family is nearby.’)


Today in the woods they played in the thick undergrowth. Raisa slid and tumbled off a rock with moss, lizard like, bearlike. They both hid and appeared from the blueberries, part of it, separate from it. 

The transition from animal to human is in one moment in movement.

It is shocking, thrilling.

Raisa (on the rocks near the lake) looked at Antti and it became human.

She was looking at him as her son, as her partner, as someone she needed to say something to.

Antti asked the tree about the meaning of existence: ‘It’s a question that has come up for me quite a bit.’ Heidegger says this- the human is the only animal concerned with Being- with the question of being. Antti asks the tree about existence.

Relation is when there is a need, a question.

It is not neutral or anonymous.



Lättu Järvi: Antti’s father sang this to him, so it is known, it’s his song. We connect to things (like in The Little Prince) and they take time and then they are ours. This is specific. It is not general. A specific song for a specific boy. Connection between boy/father. Memory. Lake. Landscape now. Lake now.

Language is always contextual. Meaning arises from the pressures of the context. The poems in the studio mean one thing and by the lake – they become something else.

(When we were near the lake I said ‘we use language to bring something into being that is not there. Or perhaps I said something that can’t be seen. But the trees and lake are here so we don’t need language.)

Unless each audience member was asked to speak a poem about a lake, in which case it’s a sharing not a performance, and the landscape and language come together in a different way again.

I feel a continuum between me and the forest in a new way- even in a new land.

Break a Brain: Olet tässä – You Are Here

Here are the pictures – where are you? Are you here?

Try to find the same view; maybe even try to take a similar picture? The idea of the place varies: sometimes it is about the view the spot offers, sometimes it’s the spot itself – and sometimes something else to recognize. So open up your eyes, your body and your mind!

You’ll find the approximate spots from Google Maps with this link: Break a Brain – olet tässä

Telakka has replaced the stones of its remarkable sauna stove. (Telakalla on vaihdettu kiuaskivet; mahtava sauna!)

Telakka has replaced the stones of its remarkable sauna stove.
(Telakalla on vaihdettu kiuaskivet; mahtava sauna!)

There was a time, when the aesthetics had a value of its own - even when building storages. (Joskus oli aika, jolloin jopa varastojen rakentamisessa estetiikalla oli oma arvonsa.)

There was a time, when the aesthetics had a value of its own – even when building storages.
(Joskus oli aika, jolloin jopa varastojen rakentamisessa estetiikalla oli oma arvonsa.)

Dare to be you, here and now, don't mind the others! (Ole oma itsesi, tässä ja nyt, muista välittämättä!)

Dare to be you, here and now, don’t mind the others!
(Ole oma itsesi, tässä ja nyt, muista välittämättä!)

For whom is this?! (Ketä varten tämä on?!)

For whom is this?!
(Ketä varten tämä on?!)

Smile! And take a picture of this! (Hymyä! Ja ota tästä kuva!)

Smile! And take a picture of this!
(Hymyä! Ja ota tästä kuva!)

Perfect place for hide&seek? (Täydellinen paikka piilosille?)

Perfect place for hide&seek?
(Täydellinen paikka piilosille?)

Just remarkable. (Ihan vain huikeita.)

Just remarkable.
(Ihan vain huikeita.)

That chain! (Mikä ketju!)

That chain!
(Mikä ketju!)

A great place to spy a backdoor. (Loistopaikka takaoven vakoiluun.)

A great place to spy a backdoor.
(Loistopaikka takaoven vakoiluun.)

An un-space right in the heart of the city. (Epäpaikka aivan kaupungin sydämessä.)

An un-space right in the heart of the city.
(Epäpaikka aivan kaupungin sydämessä.)

Is that... ...a lighthouse...? (Onko tuo... ...majakka...?)

Is that… …a lighthouse…?
(Onko tuo… …majakka…?)

A creative fix. And some marks that birds don't appreciate that one particular part of that wall. (Luovaa korjausta. Ja merkkejä siitä, että linnut eivät arvosta tuota yhtä kohtaa tuosta seinästä.)

A creative fix. And some marks that birds don’t appreciate that one particular part of that wall.
(Luovaa korjausta. Ja merkkejä siitä, että linnut eivät arvosta tuota yhtä kohtaa tuosta seinästä.)

Watch your step! It's a stump sticking out from the wall of the harbor basin. Would've been fun to see that tree... (Ole varovainen! Kanto tököttää satama-altaan muurista. Olisipa ollut hauska nähdä se puu...)

Watch your step!
It’s a stump sticking out from the wall of the harbor basin. Would’ve been fun to see that tree…
(Ole varovainen!
Kanto tököttää satama-altaan muurista. Olisipa ollut hauska nähdä se puu…)

A view from a raincatcher. (Näkymä sateensuojasta.)

A view from a raincatcher.
(Näkymä sateensuojasta.)

No trick here, just a funny little piece of a building... Did they run out of planks? (Ei kikkailuja tässä, kunhan on hauska pikku talon osa... Loppuivatkohan laudat kesken?)

No trick here, just a funny little piece of a building… Did they run out of planks?
(Ei kikkailuja tässä, kunhan on hauska pikku talon osa… Loppuivatkohan laudat kesken?)

There aren't too many places in Tampere with this kind of views. And look at those penthouse windows! (Tällaisia näkymiä ei Tampereella monessa paikka näe. Ja huomaa nuo kattohuoneiston ikkunat!)

There aren’t too many places in Tampere with this kind of views. And look at those penthouse windows!
(Tällaisia näkymiä ei Tampereella monessa paikka näe. Ja huomaa nuo kattohuoneiston ikkunat!)

A special shortcut. (Erityinen oikopolku.)

A special shortcut.
(Erityinen oikopolku.)

Local Statue of Liberty. This at a time very controversial statue was ruled to be remained on its place by the Supreme Administrative Court in 1923. (Paikallinen Vapauden patsas. Aikanaan kovasti kiistelty patsas sai jäädä paikalleen korkeimman hallinto-oikeuden päätöksellä 1923.)

Local Statue of Liberty. This at a time very controversial statue was ruled to be remained on its place by the Supreme Administrative Court in 1923.
(Paikallinen Vapauden patsas. Aikanaan kovasti kiistelty patsas sai jäädä paikalleen korkeimman hallinto-oikeuden päätöksellä 1923.)

A yelling tree. Or yawning? (Huutava puu. Vai haukotteleva?)

A yelling tree. Or yawning?
(Huutava puu. Vai haukotteleva?)

These five larches form a special circle, like a sacred place. (Viiden lehtikuusen muodostama piiri, vähän kuin pyhä paikka.)

These five larches form a special circle, like a sacred place.
(Viiden lehtikuusen muodostama piiri, vähän kuin pyhä paikka.)

This cemetery is way older than Finland, so most of the memorials and tombstones are broken – like this one. (Tämä hautausmaa on paljon Suomea vanhempi, ja suurin osa hautamuistomerkeistä on rikki – kuten tämäkin.)

This cemetery is way older than Finland, so most of the memorials and tombstones are broken – like this one.
(Tämä hautausmaa on paljon Suomea vanhempi, ja suurin osa hautamuistomerkeistä on rikki – kuten tämäkin.)

Ympäristötietoisuuteen herättelevä taidefestivaali Tampereella

TIEDOTE 30.7.2015 (julkaisuvapaa heti)


Ympäristötietoisuuteen herättelevä taidefestivaali Tampereella

Break a Brain on Art-Eco-projektin järjestämä taidefestivaali 8.–9.8.2015 Tampereen keskustan alueella. Poikkitaiteellinen ja paikkaperustainen ilmaistapahtuma toimii kohtaamispaikkana niin taiteilijoille kuin yleisöllekin, jotka ovat kiinnostuneita erilaisista taidemuodoista julkisissa tiloissa.

Festivaalin teemana on sosiaalinen ja ekologinen oikeudenmukaisuus.

– Uskomme, että taide arkisessa ympäristössä voi herättää kokijan pohtimaan esimerkiksi ihmisten rooleja ja normeja yhteiskunnassamme, mutta myös ympäristömme merkitystä ja ekologisia kysymyksiä, kertoo tapahtuman ideoinut Art-Econ tutkimusjohtaja Raisa Foster.

Festivaalilla voi nähdä muun muassa palkitun australialaisohjaaja Bagryana Popovin fasilitoiman esityksellisen metsäkävelyn. Kaikki tapahtuman teokset ja työpajat toteutetaan julkisissa tiloissa ja ne ovat yleisölle maksuttomia.

Tapahtuman toteuttava Art-Eco-projekti on Koneen Säätiön rahoittama kolmivuotinen hanke, jossa tutkitaan empaattis-ekologista ihmisyyttä taiteen keinoin.

– Tarkoitus on tuoda akateemiselta haiskahtava tutkimus kaupungin kaduille ja siten haastaa itse kukin tekemään huomioita sekä osallistumaan keskusteluun ympäristöstä ja yhteiskunnasta, sanoo projektin tutkija Jussi Mäkelä.


Ohjelmisto ja aikataulu: http://artecoproject.com/break-a-brain/
Lisätiedot: Raisa Foster (FT, TaM): raisa.foster (at) artecoproject.com, 050 345 1847

Tiedote (pdf): Ympäristötietoisuuteen herättelevä taidefestivaali_TIEDOTE_30072015


Kuvat ovat vapaasti käytettävissä Break a Brain -festivaalista tiedotettaessa. Kuvaajan nimi on mainittava.



Australialaisohjaaja Bagryana Popov ihastui suomalaiseen metsään ja loi yhdessä suomalaistaiteilijoiden kanssa teoksen Listening Ground.
Kuva: Raisa Foster


anniina2, välisyyskokeiluja

Taiteilija Anniina Ala-Ruonan Välisyyskokeiluja -työpajassa ja -esitysinstallaatiossa voi sukeltaa inhimillisten ja ei-inhimillisten toimijoiden välisiin suhteisiin ja kanssaoloon.
Kuva: Juho Nykänen

“Feeling of life” by Antti Marjakangas

The art-based research practice on landscape 20.-23.7.2015 in Tampere, Finland was facilitated by Australian director Bagryana Popov in collaboration with Finnish movement practitioners Raisa Foster and Antti Marjakangas.

Antti Marjakangas reflects his experience (translated with minor edits from stream of consciousness writing done in Finnish on 23.7.2015.):


The last four days. A lot. Depth, variety in ways of being. Facing also my own limits. Exploration.

An open approach, which feels very good. Yet focused. Feeling of life. Especially in the combination of voice and movement, and the work with mental imagery.


Photo: Raisa Foster

Top moments: While animating Raisa with voice, while moving from forest images and memories, while grounding on the moss.

Does chronology matter? The work was circular, with deepening parallel processes, that fed each other. Actually did not feel like working at all. Exact and sensitive way of directing, that I appreciate. Also the conversations during breaks brought up topics and concrete questions for research. I’m feeling respected, heard and seen. Liberating. But also something that reveals my own mental prisons.


Photo: Bagryana Popov

Discoveries: The same text does not work in all locations. The power of images (re-discovered again!) and their fragility on the other hand. A deep question that comes up surprisingly. A question about unity, meaning and purpose.



Photo: Raisa Foster

Memories: Lättyjärvi. Poems that guide us, but can be let go of once they have served their purpose. The layers of my life. I can begin from anywhere and go deeper into it, allow it to deepen. I can discover a personal relationship in this moment, a form of dialogue that impresses and surprises me. Feeling connection in song and synchronicity in movement. Listening and the depth of sensing creates this. Having the courage to reveal myself. Having the need to to protect myself and to hide something. “Not yet!” But when?


Photo: Bagryana Popov

Performance as a ritual – can that lead me into something new and surprising? On the other hand, the work felt natural and everyday, organically effortless.

Words: The exactness of words, investigation. What are they pointing to? Does the exactness matter? When does it matter and when not?


Photo: Bagryana Popov

Towards the demo: What do we want to share? I would like to invite people to have the possibility for similar experiences that we have had. Pausing, tuning in. Allowing emptiness. Waiting and patience. This is enough. Existence is and that is enough. Always.

But why do we experience separateness from nature? Is is a thought structure that facilitates progress? Would we really be happy with less, with more simple being? A discontinuity, jump, change of theme. Still feeling natural. Because of presence and sensitivity. No endeavour. Trust and peace. No need to know. Does any of us know? Or do we know together? What arises from interaction? Can it be sought, or only let happen? What is truthfulness? Are there too many demands? Can I let go? Ultimately, everything is true.

OPEN CALL: Break a Brain – ecojustice art festival

Break a Brain is a new art festival organized by Art-Eco Project in August 8–9 2015 in Tampere, Finland. It is a multi-disciplinary and place-based art festival, which provides a meeting place for both artists and audience, who are interested in different art forms placed in public spaces.

The theme of the festival is social/eco-justice. Our concept of art is broad and the festival program will contain a wide spectrum of different art forms and their fusions. We believe that art in everyday contexts can challenge us to rethink the roles of people and the norms of our society but also to pay attention to our surroundings and to the ecological questions.

We are looking for art works that handle and follow the principals of social/eco-justice. Read more and apply!

Rikka – video installation

I was planning to show my latest performance Rikka (2014) at the EcoJustice and Activism conference, but unfortunately we did not get enough funding for the whole artistic team to travel to the States. That is why I ended up in showing the video documentation of Rikka at the conference.

Rikka – the video documentation of a site-specific performance touching the unknown
Director Raisa Foster
Performer Ale Ripatti
Sound artist Alpo Nummelin
Rikka is an artistic outcome of a research project asking two questions:
What is the value of uncertainty in artistic practice?
How is space and consciousness intertwined in bodily experience?
Thank you Jussi and Jani for helping me with the installation.
Thank you Taike Arts Promotion Centre Finland for the travel fund.

Workshop: To touch and to be touched

In addition to my paper presentation I also gave a short (60 min) workshop at the EcoJustice and Activism conference.

To touch and to be touched – sensory explorations out in the nature
This workshop is for everyone! In this workshop we will communicate without words. The workshop provides its participants a moment to experience the state of conscious presence through various tasks and the phenomenological concept of lived body opens up in a more concrete way. We will do some body awareness exercises and sensory tasks and we will also explore our connection to the other people and our surroundings.
raisa2_EJE Raisa3_EJE Raisa4_EJE Raisa5_EJE

How is space and consciousness intertwined in a bodily experience?

I presented my paper How is space and consciousness intertwined in a bodily experience? on Friday the 20th of May in the EcoJustice and Activism conference at the Eastern Michigan University. My paper presented an art-based research about the bodily experience of “a promenade performance”. The starting point of my research was an art project called Rikka. The project was executed in collaboration by a dance animateur, me, a performer Ale Ripatti and a sound artist Alpo Nummelin in Finland 2013–2014. The improvisatory project led to a synthesis of the site-specific movement and sound art Rikka (2014). In my paper the art project was viewed in the light of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception.

As an artist and a researcher I am trying to have a phenomenological attitude in my practice. I am trying to avoid working from ideas. I am just trying to be present and perceive. I start from action. I am not working towards something specific and I am not trying to present something specific either. I create and then I will see what is there. So the ideas, the interpretations come only later. I am the first spectator of my own performances. I select material from the improvisations to the final performance often very intuitively. I may just have a feeling that there is ”something” in the scene. I don’t often know what it is, but something. Sometimes my bodily responds brings up emotions or memories. But I am very aware that my own interpretation may differ from an audience’s or each and every spectator’s own immediate respond or more rational analysis. What is important is that I don’t want the audience to passively receive my art but to actively live with it.

In Rikka I was especially interested in researching the meaning of space as we experience it in our bodies. For Merleau-Ponty (2008, 171) to be a body, means to be united to a certain world: our body is not in space, but it is of it. Merleau-Ponty (2008, 343) talks about natural or primordial space instead of geometrical space: instead of the physical distance between myself and all things, “a ‘lived’ distance binds me to things which count and exist for me, and links them to each other” (Merleau-Ponty 2008, 333). We live at the same time in the common property world and in a private world (Merleau-Ponty 2008, 335). The two worlds are often separated as an external, which is geometrically and objectively received and explained, and as an internal, which is mental and individual and accessible only subjectively.

Contemporary visual art, as well as the performing arts, can purposely play with the rules of interior and exterior perspectives and also with the whole complex weavings of different point of views. Moreover, especially installation and performance art often shake the traditional separation of an object and a subject or a sender and a receiver by placing the work of art or a performer in a new relation with an audience. Rikka can be seen as a “promenade performance” or a total work of art which surrounds the spectator with multi-sensible ways; it invites the spectator to join in the instant experience of a shared moment.


Merleau-Ponty, M. (2008/1945) Phenomenology of Perception. (Trans. Smith, C.) London: Routledge Classics.


NOTE: This was a short description of my presentation. If you are interested in reading the whole paper, please contact me via email: raisa.foster (at) artecoproject.com.


EcoJustice and Activism Conference

The Art-Eco team is heading to the 4th Annual 
EcoJustice and Activism Conference

at the Eastern Michigan University!

The theme for this year conference is

Art, Activism, and EcoJustice Education.


The research director of Art-Eco Project, Dr. Raisa Foster will have three presentations at the conference:

1) FRIDAY MARCH 20th 2:40-3:40 in Panel “Space, Body, and Contemplative Pedagogy for EcoJustice Education”: How is Space and Consciousness Intertwined in a Bodily Experience?

2) FRIDAY MARCH 20th 3:50-4:50 Workshop: To Touch and be Touched: Sensory Explorations Out in Nature

3) SATURDAY MARCH 21st 2:40-3:40 Rikka: a film: Rikka is a contemporary site specific performance based on movement and sound art. What is the value of uncertainty? How is space and consciousness intertwined in bodily experience?

42 IMG_2096 Kk

Rikka (2014). Dancer Ale Ripatti. Photo: Erkki Salomaa


The Art-Eco Project reseacher Jussi Mäkelä will have two presentations at the conference:

1) FRIDAY MARCH 20th 2:40-3:40 in Panel “Space, Body, and Contemplative Pedagogy for EcoJustice Education”: An Oak: A Phenomenological On-Site Approach to the Concept of True Capital

2) SATURDAY MARCH 21st 10:10-11.10 Artist Talk: An Oak: A Phenomenological On-Site Approach to the Concept of True Capital



Another reseacher from Tampere Jani Pulkki will also present his paper in the Panel “Space, Body, and Contemplative Pedagogy for EcoJustice Education”: Contemplative Pedagogy for EcoJustice Education


The conference is organized by the mentor of the Art-Eco Project Dr. Rebecca Martusewicz. See the whole program here.

The Art-Eco team Foster and Mäkelä will also take part of the exciting pre-conference events.

The Opening Seminar of the Art-Eco project: What is art-based research? (in Finnish)

Art-Eco-hankkeen aloitusseminaari: Mitä on taideperustainen tutkimus?

lauantaina  14.2.2015

Taideverstas Wärjäämö, Kanavaraitti 3, Tampere

Art-Eco-project on kolmivuotinen tamperelais-kansainvälinen hanke, jossa tutkitaan monitaiteellis-tieteellis-ammatillisesti empaattis-ekologista ihmisyyttä.

Aloitusseminaarin aamupäivän tilaisuus on avoin kaikille Tampereen taidekasvatus-yhdistyksen jäsenille. (Iltapäivätyöskentely on suljettu vain tutkimusryhmälle.)

klo 10 Tervetuloa + pullakahvit
klo 10.30-11.00 Art-Eco-hankkeen esittely
klo 11.00-11.30 hankkeen tutkija, KM, TaM Jussi Mäkelä:  Joseph Beuys ja laajennettu taidekäsitys
klo 11.30-12.00 tutkimusjohtaja FT Raisa Foster: Tanssi-innostaminen ja eragrafinen tutkimusmenetelmä
(Iltapäivä jatkuu tutkimusryhmän työpajalla klo 13–16.)


Hanketta tukee




Aloitusseminaari järjestetään yhteistyössä Tampereen taidekasvatus ry:n ja Taideverstas Wärjäämön kanssa.

Hae TTK ry:n jäseneksi: http://www.tampereentaidekasvatus.fi/jasenyys/


New collaborator: Dr Bagryana Popov from Australia!

I just received great news today: we have a new collaborator from Australia, Dr Bagryana Popov!

Dr. Popov is an award-winning theatre director, who has worked in theatre and music for over 20 years in Melbourne and across Australia. She has initiated collaborative projects with theatre institutions also in Bulgaria
and Macedonia. Her work in theatre has explored themes such as human rights, imprisonment and the plight of refugees – and now she is also interested in the questions of eco-awareness (see Bagryana’s new project Uncle Vanya in Avoca: Creative development in March 2014). She has completed a PhD through the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. She is currently working as a lecture in applied theatre at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Bagryana is also my very dear friend and I have performed in her physical theatre piece “Studies in being human” in 2006 in Melbourne.


Bagryana and I in Melbourne in 2006.

Bagryana was given a travel grant to come to Finland for a week and do some art-based research work with us! Her schedule is still open – we let you know what will happen and when!

Bagryana, welcome to our Art-Eco team! It’s very nice to have you with us!


Breaking news!


Our project got funding for the year 2015 from the Kone Foundation! Sothe real action will start on January 2015!

Our first action will happen in EcoJustice and Activism Conference on March 19–21, 2015, in the Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti. More information to come…

Also, from September 14th to October 2nd 2015 there will be an art exhibition of Jussi’s works. So there will be a good reason to visit Kangasala then ;) Again, more information to come…

Thanks Vellu, Rebecca and Tero! And Kone! And you!