Art, Science, Ecology course in collaboration with two universities

Lecturers of the course among others are (upper left) Artist Katie Paterson, Artist Samir Bhowmik, Artist, Researcher Susan Schuppli, (from down left) Artist Jana Winderen, Executive Director, Curator Paula Toppila and Artist, Researcher Antti Majava.

In January 2021, the contemporary art commissioning agency IHME Helsinki will launch an Art, Science, Ecology course in cooperation with the Institute of Sustainability of the University of Helsinki and the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki. Internationally acclaimed artists act as lecturers for the course and facilitators of the workshops. All lectures of the course are conducted online and are free and open to anyone interested. The workshops of the course are aimed at students of partner universities. The course is in English.

“IHME Helsinki’s activities combine art, science and climate work. We want to support our artists and audiences in adapting to the environmental crisis, produce knowledge that supports ecological transition and generate hope. Our cooperation with universities is a natural continuation of these efforts and we are glad that it will materialize. The role of education and continuous learning is important in the transition towards sustainability. For example issues of frozen water, extraction of natural resources and  forests in our planet are pressing social, political and global issues and also at the heart of the course. ” says IHME Helsinki´s Executive Director and Curator Paula Toppila about the cooperation.

Education for the change makers

The aim of the course is to raise awareness of the effects of the sustainability crisis in the fields of art, science and society, and to produce and analyze the information needed for the change in thinking and action required by the sustainability crisis. During the course, the students of art and science can work together to reflect on the complex phenomena of our time. The Institute of Sustainability Science at the University of Helsinki conducts research aimed at producing information to solve major global problems, such as climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Using scientific knowledge, we need to move towards sustainable practices in all areas of life, and that’s why we need to educate our students to become the change makers of the world. Enabling the transition to sustainability requires new types of experts with the ability to work interdisciplinarily as well as between different sectors of society. In this course, our students will learn to understand the common power of science and art as a factor in the sustainability transformation. ” sums up the importance of cooperation Janna Pietikäinen, HELSUS University Lecturer.

Art has a role in solving ecological crisis

Another of the partner universities, the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, trains visual artists who understand the global and planetary challenges of humanity in the future.

“In the new strategy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, art has been identified as an important tester of new realities in solving ecological crisis, alongside scientific knowledge, says Hanna Johansson, Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts, and continues: “Visual arts work on experiential and sensory understanding and expand imagination. The course offers students from both universities an excellent place to experience the collaboration of science and art in perceiving ecological crises and implementing an ecological transition together with internationally acclaimed artists and researchers.”

The lecturers of the course and the facilitators of the workshops are artists, scientists and curators from Finland and abroad: artist and BIOS research institute researcher Antti Majava, UK-based researcher and artist Susan Schuppli, IHME Helsinki Commission 2020 Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, IHME Helsinki Commission 2021 Scottish artist Katie Paterson, professor emeritus Jan Zalasiewicz (University of Leicester), paleoclimatologist J.Sakari Salonen (Helsinki University), Helsinki based artist Samir Bhowmik and  IHME Helsinki Executive Director and Curator Paula Toppila.


The online lectures of the course are open to everyone.