Esa Kirkkopelto (born 1965) is philosopher, artist-researcher and performance artist. Currently, he works as a professor of artistic research at the Malmö Theatre Academy (Lund University). Previously, he worked at the University of the Arts Helsinki, first as a professor of artistic research (2007-2017), then as the head of the post-doc Centre for Artistic Research (CfAR, 2017–2018). He also holds the title of docent in aesthetics at the University of Helsinki. He is the leader of a collective research project Actor´s Art in Modern Times on the psychophysical actor training (2008–2011), the initiator of the International Platform for Performer Training (since 2014), core-convener or the Performance Philosophy association and the founding member of the Other Spaces live art group (2004–). Having passed his PhD in philosophy at the University of Strasbourg (2003), he is the author of Le théâtre de l´expérience. Contributions à la théorie de la scène (PUF 2008) as well as of many articles on the philosophy of theatre, poetics, and politics. His research focuses on the deconstruction of the performing body both in theory and in practice. In 2020, he published a treatise on that topic (Logomimesis, Tutkijaliitto 2020), gathering together 15 years of study and experimentation in the areas of artistic research and performance philosophy.
Otso Lähdeoja,Professor of Artistic Research, Uniarts Helsinki, Research Hub
My background As a researcher, my main focus areas have been music technology and media arts, where I have weaved a path in between artistic practice and academic research. I did my studies and PhD at Paris 8 University, while working in parallel as a freelance impro-focused musician. Since then, I have worked at the Université de Mons in Belgium, at Concordia University's Matralab with composer Sandeep Bhagwati, and more recently at the Uniarts Helsinki with a set of research projects focusing on the materialities of sound, as well as the intersubjective dimension of music making.
My artistic practice comprises music composition and performance, sound art installations, and I have a close relationship to contemporary dance - an area where I have worked as a composer, sound engineer and performer. I also view academic writing as one side of my praxis.
Current research interest Post-pandemic and well into the eco-social challenges of today, I see the field of (media) arts confronted to huge challenges related to sustainability, status of the artwork and the artist, future materialities and practices of art. In my mind, the most urgent issue is to integrate an eco-social transition into artistic practices. In my understanding, this will engender substantial changes in how we operate as artists, our relation to production and practice, the status of artistic artefacts and the relation to public - to name a few issues. I am currently working on a research proposal on future artistic materialities at the Uniarts Helsinki.
Pedagogical viewpoint I approach teaching with the primary aim to activate the student's agency. I favor student-centered and phenomenon-based learning tools such as action-learning by direct engagement into a project, methods of knowledge exchange via peer-teaching in small groups, analysis and formalization, as well as voicing opinions by discussion and writing. My pedagogical focus in doctoral education is on the ability to creatively operate within the field, strengthening the student's own core identity while opening new horizons through contextualization, analysis and transdisciplinary combinations. My role is to help in the transformation of the doctoral researchers' ideas and potential into an agency for meaningful and concrete work. Much flexibility and sensitivity are needed to adequately balance between cultivating the student's own process and stepping in as an advisor, partner for dialogue and, when needed, challenge the student's presumptions. I believe that growth as an artist and researcher consists of a genuine discovery of one's own track, essential in developing both psychological and professional wellbeing.
Jeremy Welsh. British artist based in Bergen, Norway.
I was a professor of Fine Art at art academies in Trondheim and Bergen from 1990 - 2020, and from the early 2000’s was involved in the development of the Norwegian Programme for Artistic Research, which later led to the current Phd programmes in Artistic Research. I have been active in the programme as a supervisor, an examiner and a peer reviewer, and continue to do so although I no longer hold an academic position.
Since the beginning of the programme in 2003-2004 my interest as a supervisor has been to support and encourage the fellows in their development of a research-based artistic practice at a high level. Through a combination of discussion, mapping and constructive critique, it has been my aim to foster a dynamic dialogue and to support the fellows in their endeavour to site their research and resulting artworks within a broad international contemporary culture that bridges the distinct worlds of academia and the professional art context.
My own research and artistic practice throughout the years of teaching has often been based upon trans-disciplinary collaborations, in many cases involving contemporary musicians and composers. I have worked primarily within electronic media since the eighties, and continue to develop new projects combining video and digital sound installation. I have also had an active curatorial practice through my career, having earlier worked with UK organisations including London Video Arts and The Film and Video Umbrella, UK. I am currently curating and producing an interdisciplinary arts festival for the small municipality of Surnadal, Møre og Romsdal, Norway, where the programme combines visual arts, film and contemporary music.
Recent projects can be viewed online. A joint exposition with musician Michael Francis Duch (head of research at the music institute NTNU) was published in the most recent edition of VIS journal: https://www.en.visjournal.nu/reiterate-rerun-repeat/
The Atmospherics 11, a video work from a continuing collaboration with Trond Lossius (head of research at the Norwegian Film School) was published as part of an online video series produced by BEK, Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts, and will be exhibited later in 2020 at Høstutstillngen / The Autumn Exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo: https://bek.no/prosjekt/the-atmospherics-11/
Personal web pages: https://jewelsh.blogspot.com
Laura Gröndahl works as university lecturer at the Theatre Academy of the University of Arts, Helsinki. She has spent 20 years as a practicing stage and costume designer in various theatres, and further 25 years trying to understand, what research might mean from the inside perspective of an artist. While Laura in her own research has committed to the academic tradition of theatre and performance studies, and unfortunately left behind her own artistic career, she has grown to think of pedagogy as a variation of artistic practice, since it allows her to work hands-on with the same questions that emerge in artistic processes. At all levels, teaching offers her a platform for mutual, unpredictable discussions, where different forms of knowledge are exchanged, circulated, invented, revised, tested and examined critically.
Laura has published several research articles and textbooks on practices of theatre making and stage design, documentary performances, the history of scenography, and she still keeps exploring them. Before her present position, she has worked as professor in scenography (AaltoArts), University lecturer in theatre and drama (Tampere University), University lecturer in media studies (University of Lapland) and as visiting lecturer in the Estonian Academyof Arts, and at Helsinki University, where she also holds the title of docent.
Harri Laakso is an artist, researcher and curator interested in photographic images and theory, artistic research and word/image relations. He works as associate professor of photography research at Aalto University, Finland (2018-). Before that he worked as professor of visual culture and art at Aalto (2006-2018) and was also involved in developing the university’s transdisciplinary studies. He did his doctoral dissertation Valokuvan tapahtuma [The Photographic Event] in 2003, and has since published articles and texts on photography and contemporary art. His artistic practice is centered on artistic research experimentation. His curatorial work includes co-curating Finnish and Nordic pavilions at Venice Biennale 2013. He has led many research projects (e.g. Figures of Touch, Academy of Finland, 2009-2012) and is currently senior researcher in Floating Peripheries – Mediating the Sense of Place (Academy of Finland, 2017–2021).
The specific challenge or problem that is on my mind right now – one that has also pedagogical implications – is the ‘void’ or ‘well’ at the core of my practice, which keeps getting louder: the impossible and necessary encounter of the unknown as unknown.
I’m a researcher and a spatial artist with background in scenography. I work as University lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Doctoral Programme at the Uniarts Helsinki. Prior to that I worked as a Postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University (Aalto ARTS) School of Arts, Design and Architecture during 2015–2020. I am one of the founding members of City as Space of Rules and Dreaming transdisciplinary research project (Kone Foundation (2021–2024) combining viewpoints of artistic research, urban law and empirical urban research, and Floating Peripheries – mediating the sense of place artistic research project (Academy of Finland, 2017–2021), and was a member of Figures of Touch research project (AoF, 2009–2012). My doctoral thesis (Vähän väliä. Näyttämön mediaalisuus ja kosketuksen arkkitehtuuri/ AnyWhereNear. Mediality of stage and architectures of touch, 2014) dealt with mediated sense experience in performing arts and installation contexts, brought into discussion with media aesthetics and ’phenomenology of touch’. My current primary research interests are politics of space, site and situation related practices in urban space, and visual culture theories.
A specific issue or problem that I have been curious for quite some time roots to experimenting with ’materiality’ as a key point of departure in artistic and theoretical practice. As I think theory is moldable and situational material in a liking manner as is clay or movement, I am keen to be attentive to the moments or incidents of ’rigour’ when experimenting in artistic practice – ones that have certain resemblance to the choreographies of theory construction as well. I am often very much into adding an absurd, unfitting or uncomfortable element into the play, be it practical or theory-born, and in that sense like to ride on with certain alienation component that may change the game by way of an unexpected twinkle, or a teaser, as it often remains unnameable yet becomes addressable.
Saul Garcia-Lopez aka La Saula
Saul Garcia-Lopez is a multidisciplinary performance artist, Professor of Performance and the Norwegian Theatre Academy, and co-artistic director of the internationally renowned performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. He is dedicated to expose, dislocate and challenge assumptions of embodiment, gender, identity and representation within an intercultural and trans-cultural context. As an artist, pedagogue and scholar, he explores the intersections of the theoretical framework of performance theory and training. From this position, Saul Garcia-Lopez tries to expose and reconcile the contradictions and challenges of being a creator and a theorist at the same time. His research interest reaches acting, directing and performance theory and pedagogy including indigenous approaches from the Americas, embodiment of gender, ethnic, national identity, stereotypes and representation, indigeneity, post-coloniality and Latin American/Chicano/Global South performance and theater.
His work as a performance artist, constantly transgresses the borders between performance and audience participation by embodying simultaneous and sometimes contradictory identities. In this way, he aims to trigger-off the body-audience relationship, generating a combination of forces of communication and control, of expansion and contraction, of freedom and imprisonment that somehow connect us with the familiar and the unfamiliar, the logical and the bizarre. With this strategy he attempts to collapse the human-body and its representation by allowing his body to be subjugated by the cultural/political projection (real or imaginary) of the space and the viewer. At the same time, from his ‘subjugated position’, he revels and speaks back by identifying and activating the political and cultural contradictions of the identity process that coexistence between himself and audience members. In the creation of his work, he also aims to incorporate indigenous strategies and performance tools from the Americas.
Saul Garcia-Lopez’ Conceptual Bio:
Name: Saul Garcia-Lopez aka La Saula
Name English translations: Sol (like the beer or the sun), Soul, Sal (means salt in English), Zul, Azul (blue), Saoulo, Sabu, Sulito.
Closest well known relative: Jennifer Lopez (according to Australian taxi drivers)
Country: The border and borderless territories of all kind.
Identity: Postnational? and/or Polite Mexicanadian? and/or Mex-Norwegian?
Gender: 3, 4 and 5 Spirits - addict to performance art orgies, but also in permanent searching for alternative masculinities and femininities.
Metiers: Performance artist, scholar, artivist, reverse wetback, conceptual sicario (hitman), radical pedagogue, Post NAFTA and post global offspring nightmare.
Where does Saul stand in the world at this moment? (tomorrow might be different)? (1) Artistic: unsettled as an ongoing process, constantly redefining it (2) Theoretical: As above (North) and bellow (South), but trying to avoid conceptual jargon… (3) Pedagogical: A pedagogical DJ for communities of radical differences (4) Political: Artivist – Coyote that crosses borders and lives in the periphery(5) Community: where Radical listening, Radical tenderness and diplomacy is practiced everyday (6) Current aesthetics: something in between ethnic and gender-bending, 3 world cyborg, kitsch, low and high tech, hybrid, MexiChiCANO, psycomagical using conceptual cannibalism to talk back, and decolonial exorcisms.
Kristina Junttila is Associate professor at UiT, the Arctic University of Norway and a performance artist. I work widely in different interdisciplinary projects and have especially focused on different modes of audience participation and new performative formats. I am interested in the specificity of the context and how to play and experiment with what is “at hand”. In my research I have focused on the potential of the exercise in live art, how an exercise performs and potentially can give room for the not-yet planned to happen. As a pedagogue I am interested in how to facilitate or instigate simple actions that trigger a meaningful discussion, thought or viewpoint, which might challenge, stretch or reconsider the topic at hand. One of the most valuable things in a pedagogical situation is the time shared around a specific theme and the space different voices around this theme.
My name is Rebecca Hilton, and I am a dance person. Originally from so called Australia *, I lived and worked in New York City for 13 years, and now I reside in Stockholm where I am Professor in Choreography at the Stockholm University of the Arts (SKH).
In the Research Centre at SKH, I am the ‘custodian’ or ‘carer’ or ‘host’ (I haven’t quite found the right word for it) of the research area Site Event Encounter. This research area explores the interplay between art and society, the 'in flux' and protean nature of participation in contemporary art practices/ processes/events and the many contexts and conditions in which 21st Century artists work.
In my role at SKH, I work with and across many disciplines – dance, circus, opera, the dramatic arts, film and media but I am from, or I am ‘of’ the field of experimental dance.
These days my research practice primarily consists of situating long-term artistic residencies in contexts where art usually isn’t, via practices which include dancing, choreographing, conversing and writing. Under the umbrella title GROUPNESS, I explore relationships between embodied practices, oral traditions and choreographic systems in environments that include universities, hospitals, community driven organizations, friendship circles and family groups.
Current research interest
Up until the pandemic, I was an artistic researcher in residence at the Malarbacken Residential Elder Care Centre, (Sweden's largest Residential Elder Care Centre) as part of DöBra (Good Death)**, a scientific research project initiated by the Karolinska Institute. DöBra is a decade-long, nation-wide research program exploring relationships to death and dying in Sweden. I will return when it’s safe to do so.
I think this (from Joseph Beuys) sums it up quite concisely: “School is universal. That means, on the street – when you talk about these things with people at the grocer's; the school is at the grocers at that moment”.
*I call it so called Australia because it is stolen land, there is not, and there has ever been, any treaty with its traditional owners.