Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki KuvA Research Days

Exhibition Laboratory
Merimiehenkatu 36
The KuvA Research Days discuss artistic research across the disciplines
The Research Days of the Academy of Fine Arts (KuvA) are held from December 12 to December 14 in Helsinki, Finland. The themes explored in this public event include death, the role of the artist-researcher in society and in science, and archaeology as a means of artistic collaboration and creation of art. In December, the Doctoral Programme of the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki will organise a public event called the Research Days. The event, which is now organised for a second time, draws together researchers working at the Academy, doctoral students and invited researchers and artists both from Finland and all over the world.

“These are exciting times for artistic research because the discussions concerning its legitimation and character are not anymore in the foreground. Now we can focus on the variety of contexts in which artist-researchers are actually working. Many of the questions raised by artistic researchers might seem marginal, especially when they touch upon things that we think are familiar to us. At the end of the day, however, artistic research is able to provide new, unexpected perspectives,” says Mika Elo, Professor of Artistic Research at the Academy of Fine Arts.

“This year, the topics discussed at the KuvA Research Days include, for example, the role of artistic research in the shaping of our ideas of knowledge, natural phenomena, death and history. What if you actually lived with your own coffin? How could we make rain or waves draw their own image? What happens when the human perspective is not the starting point of cinematic narrative? What will be revealed when layers of the recent past of our nation are excavated by using poetic methods?”

The Research Days consist of four independent sections which include a total of 24 talks about art and the creation of art from different perspectives.

The topics discussed on Monday, December 12, include the imageries of death and their ongoing flux.Petri Kaverma, a postdoctoral researcher at the Academy of Fine Arts, will present his project that connects an artwork with a coffin. John Troyer, the Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath, discusses how our thoughts about death, and the way in which death is portrayed, have changed in the Western culture in the past few centuries, and how we need a new language to describe this change.

On Tuesday, December 13, the focus will be on the relationship between research, aesthetics and the philosophy of science. This section will be chaired by Mika Elo, Professor of Artistic Research at the Academy of Fine Arts.

The convener of the discussion on Wednesday, December 14, is Maija Närhinen, a doctoral student at the Academy of Fine Arts. The talks in this section will focus both on Närhinen’s own works and on the methods of working with three-dimensional works of art.

The relationship between archaeology and art is the topic of the discussion on Wednesday afternoon.Jan Kaila, DFA, Japo Knuutila, a photographer, and Jan Fast, an archaeologist, tell us about their project in Hanko, Finland, which combines methods from art and archaeology. The results of the project will presented in an exhibition next year. The afternoon will also include talks by the world-renowned contemporary art curator Ian Alden Russell, who holds a PhD in History and Archaeology, as well asSuzie Thomas, a researcher of conflict archaeology at the University of Helsinki.

The Research Days are organised at the Exhibition Laboratory of the Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki.Minna Havukainen‘s works from her Exitus exhibition will also be on display at the Exhibition Laboratory for the duration of the Research Days.

KuvA Research Days 2016
Monday, December 12, 1–8pm
Tuesday, December 13, 9am–5:30pm
Wednesday, December 14,  9:30am–5:30pm
Free admission

More information about the KuvA Research Days and the detailed programme can be found at

Contact: Michaela Bränn, Research Coordinator, T 040 631 3553,