CIRRUS is a Nordic-Baltic network of Art and Design higher education. There are 20 excellent art and design schools from the Nordics and the Baltics in the circle of this cooperation. The central activities of the partner institutions are art and design, including innovative activities, technical development and artistic practices.

Narrating the Marginal. Rovaniemi, Finland. December 2016

Rovaniemi, Finland. December 2016

Narrating the Marginal

Seminar: Call for short notes on Experiential Knowledge and Empowerment in Artistic Research

 9.12.2016: Asko ja Esko – sali, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi

Artists and makers negotiate and sustain their identities and existences through their practices in spite of the challenges they face. These narratives reveal how the qualities of life and work environments impact their art practices. Just as art-making offers ways to ‘work through’ particular life challenges, narratives offer ways to make sense of difficult circumstances. Narratives of empowerment and care come about through art practices, making and storytelling, offering women ways to cope with their realities and come to terms with the marginalities that they encounter.


Art is a medium that enables the shaping of identities of marginalised women, while it also serves as a tool to process relationships within the communities they live in. Female artists may move from one role to another, be it spouse, mother, researcher, professional, teacher, artist, maker or friend. As a result, they are continuously navigating identities and marginalities as a means to cope within their communities. This seminar will discuss how art and narratives function in social realms and what role stories play in socially sustaining artists and their making practices.


The seminar themes explore the uses of practice-based research, art process and their outcomes. Nimkulrat discusses the importance of documentation and reflection in practice-based research (2007). Practice-based, or practice-led research, is a widely used research approach in art, based on the idea that practice uniquely contributes information to research in ways that are not possible through other investigative approaches. Multiple concerns are raised around practice-based research, such as the process being predominantly dependent on subjective frameworks, thus not contributing to the generation of new knowledge (Koskinen, 2009). Yet, practice-based research has established its own path in design and the arts. A number of methodological enquiries have been published, bolstering the validity of practice-based research (Mäkelä and Routarinne, 2006; Nimkulrat and O’Riley, 2009; Mäkelä and Nimkulrat, 2011).


This seminar enquires:

  1. How do women artists define the marginal? What are their art-related coping mechanisms?
  2. How do women cope with fluid identities and how can they benefit from identity shaping processes in marginal conditions? How do they transfer themselves from one role to another? How do women artists visualise and communicate their identities within marginal conditions? Can new technologies and media enable the shaping of identities in marginal conditions?
  3. How do women artists discuss their roles within communities using art processes? Can art and its related processes empower communities? How does art contribute to interventions within communities?

The seminar presents keynote lectures from Professor Nithikul Nimkulrat from the Estonian Academy of Arts, Professor Jaana Erkkilä and Professor Eija Timonen from the University of Lapland.


Submission: Short notes of a maximum of 2000 words excluding references will be double blind reviewed and published digitally as part of the seminar proceedings. Email your short note to junior researcher Daria Akimenko ( by August, 15, 2016.


Artistic workshop and Exhibition: Call for participation

5.-8.12.2016: University of Lapland | 21.12.2016 – 12.2.2017: ARKTIKUM, KATVE 1 and 2

The seminar will go along with an artistic workshop that will take place 5 – 8 December 2016 at the University of Lapland. (Although the 6th of December is Finnish Independence Day and a public holiday, participants are welcome to continue their contributions.)  The workshop will engage local female artists and makers of different disciplines in interventions, collaborative work and installations. The working themes and questions of the workshop are similar to those of the seminar.


The artistic outcomes will be exhibited at Arktikum, galleries Katve 1 and 2, as well as in selected public locations.


Preliminary timeline:

5.12.2016 9.00-16.00 Welcome, short introductions of projects and people, constructing projects

6.12.2016 Public holiday, participants may continue working

7.12.2016 9.00-16.00 Work on the projects

8.12. 2016 9.00-16.00 Work on the projects, general sharing, planing the exhibition

Participation: If you are interested in joining the workshop you are invited to submit your CV and an abstract of not more than 500 words outlining your project proposal and artistic media. The organising committee is looking for creative and inventive projects with no restrictions on project formulations. Email your CV and abstract to junior researcher Daria Akimenko ( by August,15, 2016.