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on background of the
research group (from p. 13 onwards)
Mari von Boehm
Phone: +358 (0)44 56 09 240
Click here for Mari's website
Mari von Boehm (born 1976)
is an art pedagogue, specialized in outdoor art education. Her research
topic is ART ON THE ROOTS – Exploration of the tradition of
environmental emphasis in Finnish art pedagogy.
Mari is currently teaching in Aalto University's courses Out from the
classroom and Environmental pedagogy. She is also teaching in the
Espoo school of art.
She has studied art in Pekka Halonen Academy and the University of Art and
Design. Her Masters thesis in 2002 was a pedagogical experiment Nordic
messages from the seas, together with fellow student Taina Mannila and
in co-operation with the Sail training associations of Finland and Raahe.
In the project,
young Nordic people participated in a sailing art course from Finland
around Iceland and back. Since this, she has led several sailing
environmentally orientated art courses.
She has experience in working as an exhibition designer and workshop
leader in multidisciplinary co-operation in environmental pedagogical
projects run by Helsinki Environment Centre.
In addition to art pedagogy, Mari's artistic working includes graphic
art, installations, sculpture and singing. She lives in Helsinki,
Jan van Boeckel
Phone in the Netherlands: +31 630 283 115
Phone in Estonia:
Click here for Jan's website
Jan van Boeckel
is a Dutch anthropologist, visual artist, art teacher and filmmaker. One of Jan's areas of interest and concern are the worldviews and environmental philosophies of indigenous peoples. Together with filmmaking group
he produced a series of documentaries on this subject, as well as films on philosophers such as Jacques Ellul and
Arne Naess, who provide a critical analysis of the Western way of life. These films include, among others: The Earth is Crying
It's Killing the Clouds (1992), The Betrayal by Technology
The Call of the Mountain
Jan has lived for several years in Hällefors, in the forests of central Sweden, where he was an art teacher to both children and adults, and consultant on international cultural projects. He established the
Cloudberry Dreams network with partners in Latvia, England, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
The mission of this partnership is to share ideas and to explore new ways to interpret landscapes through art and creativity. Another project he took part in conceptualizing is called
Clearings in the Forest, which focuses on the cultural and mythical significance of open spaces in the woodlands.
Between 2004 and 2006, Jan has worked as Head of Communications at the
Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples in
Inspired by indigenous peoples' cultures, his own engagement in art and
art teaching practices, and his experiences of living close to wilderness
areas of Sweden, Jan's interest has moved to art as a means to connect to
David Abram aptly called 'the more-than-human-world'.
One of Jan's research interests is the tension between trying to 'open the
senses' whilst coping with the current ecological crisis - an issue all the
more pressing when working with children. Since 2007, Jan is member of the
ecoart network. He is also on
In 2013 Jan defended his doctoral thesis
Heart of Art and Earth: An Exploration of Practices in Arts-Based
Environmental Education at
School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and Dr. Sacha Kagan acted as his opponent. The
full session can be viewed
here. In academic year 2014-2015, Jan van Boeckel
was Adjunct and Program Director in Design Theory at the Department of Design and Architecture
Iceland Academy of the
Arts in Reykjavik. Currently he is Professor in Art Pedagogy and
Didactics of Art at the
Estonian Academy of
in Tallinn. On
September 18, 2015, Jan presented the lecture
With Art to the Heart of Nature
in the Estonian Parliament, which can be seen
Wioletta Anna Piascik
Wioletta Anna Piascik is a Polish visual artist, an
educator specialized in environmental education and special needs
pedagogy, a sailor and hiker.
She has graduated from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun,
and has completed her master thesis in deep ecology.
In 2008 and 2009, Wiola has worked as an environmental educator for
for All Beings Association in Poland, at the Deep Ecology
and Ecological Education Centre. Wiola is still a member of the
Association and is actively engaged in diffusing the wild Poland
The last years she has studied and worked at the
of Fine Art. Producing works in various media such as
paintings, sculptures, installations, performances, Wiola challenges
the quality of the contact between a viewer and an art work
Currently she lives and does her PhD studies at
School of Arts, Design and Architecture
in Helsinki. Wiola's research is focused on artists that are
oriented towards arts-based environmental education. She is
interested in how wild they can get in art education and how their
pedagogy relates to wildness.
Henrika Ylirisku is a Finnish teacher of visual arts (MA)
and geography. Her studies have also included courses on
anthropology, art therapy and drama pedagogy. She has worked for ten
years as an art teacher with both children and adults. She has
organized courses on creativity and arts for many different schools
and worked as a visual art teacher in art schools for children and
youth and upper secondary school. She also has experience in
instructing colour immersion workshops for babies.
Currently Henrika is a doctorate candidate
at the Department of Art at
School of Arts, Design and Architecture. In her research she is
analysing the practices of arts-based environmental education in
Finland, in general and specifically at upper secondary schools.
her research, Dr. Leena Valkeapää looked at the
connection between art and natural science. She is actively involved
Bioarctica programme. and more specifically with the
Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, which is part of the Faculty
of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of
The aim of her study was to establish concrete joint projects between
art and science with the aim to develop new kinds of artistic
thinking. Through this she wanted to participate in and contribute to
the discussion on the relation between humankind and nature.
In Leena's view, art and science collaboration provides new tools to
art education which allow us to approach the Earth in an artistic
way, together with scientists.
The working environment in Valkeapää's study
was northern Lapland and her
interest was in the local natural phenomena. In her doctorate research
she took an in-depth look at the local
Sami reindeer herding culture and the Arctic reality of living with
and amidst the topic of her research.
As part of her studies, Leena has been researching the use of
wireless communications by the reindeer herders, specifically a
collection of over 14 years of text messages that she received from
her husband, e.g. when she was in far-off places like Helsinki. From
their home near Kilpisjärvi, text messaging is often the only way to
communicate. Leena found a beautiful poetry in the simplified
messages. This simplicity of form perhaps relates to some of the
basic qualities of the ecosystem in this area.
Link to an article on Leena
In November 2011, Leena defended her PhD thesis entitled
Luonnossa, vuoropuhelua Nils-Aslak Valkeapään tuotannon kanssa
(In nature - conducting a dialogue with the works of Nils-Aslak
this is my home / these fjords rivers lakes / this cold this
sunshine these storms” (Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, 1979)
Wind, reindeer, time, fire, people – the people living with reindeer
in nature still have a straightforward relationship with the basic
elements of life. Leena Valkeapää’s dissertation is a study aiming
to develop artistic thinking in which the focus is on the way of
life and the way of being in north-western Lapland which are both
intertwined with nature.
In her dissertation, Leena Valkeapää goes beyond the traditional
anthropological approach by engaging in a dialogue with Nils-Aslak
Valkeapää's poetic, academic and literary portrayals of the Sami way
of life and her own feelings. Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, Àillohaš
(1943-2001) was a Sami artist working in a broad range of fields and
he is probably best known in Finland as the creator and performer of
the new yoik. He also published eight collections of poems two of
which have been translated into Finnish.
In the dissertation, the dialogue intensifies as text messages of
Oula A. Valkeapää, the husband of Leena Valkeapää, and excerpts from
the work Kertomus saamelaisista (A portrayal of the Sami people) by
Johan Turi, a member of the Swedish Sami community, are shown side
by side with Nils-Aslak Valkeapää’s poetry. Turi’s work was first
published in 1910 as Muitalus sámiid birra and it was translated
into Finnish in 1979. The dialogue involving three different
narrators reveals common experiences, which each of the three
describe using their own background as a basis. All three are
members of the Sami people. In her study, Leena Valkeapää calls the
way of life and the cultural traditions common to them reindeer
life. The core of Leena Valkeapää’s dissertation is the dialogue
relationship in which Oula A. Valkeapää’s thinking and her own
thinking create a state of discussion.
Leena Valkeapää is an environmental artist. Her work includes a
large number of exhibitions (both group exhibitions and exhibitions
displaying her own works only), environmental projects and
environmental works of art. The best known of her works of art is
“Jäähuntu” (Icy Veil; 1999) at the rock cutting of Helsinginkatu in
Turku. In addition to her artistic activities, Leena Valkeapää has
also worked as a teacher of environmental art in a number of
educational institutions. Between 2005 and 2010, she worked as a
teacher of environmental education at the Department of Art at
School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Leena Valkeapää’s dissertation (in Finnish) is published by Maahenki
in the publication series of
School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Orders: TaiK Publications, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, online
Click here for Tarja's website
Dr. Tarja Kankkunen
is presently working as senior researcher in Aalto University,
School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland, where
she also completed both her master’s degree (1989) and her doctoral
degree (2005) in the area of (visual) art education. She has also
worked as an art teacher in secondary schools, and between 2001 and
2011 as a lecturer, officiating professor and a dean at the
University of Art and Design, Helsinki.
Kankkunen’s research and expertise have been located in the areas of
art education and visual culture with a special focus on gender,
ethnography and multimodal methods. Her doctoral thesis “Girls, boys
and ‘gender play’. Gender construction in the everyday context of
school art education” (Tytöt, pojat, ja ‘erojen leikki’ – Sukupuolen
rakentuminen koulun kuvataideopetuksen arjessa) was an ethnographic
study focussed on gender in art education, and was published in 2004
on a CD-ROM containing a written text and a multimedia presentation.
Her most recent research interests connect to AEE from three
1. Horse-human environmental approach
– where the relationship to environment and, more generally, to the
Other, formed in the horse-human interaction, is studied in order
to include animals in the theory and agenda of art-based
environmental education and learning. This approach is based on
Kankkunen’s own horse riding experiences which give insight to the
embodied processes of learning as well as developing reciprocal,
communicative relationships with different other-than-human
2. Street art approach
– where the complicated if not contradictory relationship between
street art phenomenon and environmental awareness is studied from
the art educational point of view. Since 2009 Kankkunen has been
studying the visual forms of street art, such as graffiti, in Chile
and in Finland, in relation to art education and to art educational
thinking in general.
3. Student works in the History of Art Education archive
– studied as a window to the history of environment-relation in
Finnish art education. This is where the two other approaches are
connected. As to the street art approach, the archived imagery
offers, for instance, clear evidence of the environmental ethos of
1970’s, how it affected Finnish art education and student artwork.
See, for example, Kankkunen’s blog article illustrated with some of
the archived outcomes of the environmentally themed drawing
competitions which were organized by the Finnish National Board of
As to the Horse-human approach, there are plenty of
representations of horses among the archived student works, shedding
light on how children – boys and girls in urban or rural settings in
different times – perceived human-animal relations issues. These and
many other archived images also give an idea of how animals have
been represented in various media, and how these representations are
interpreted in children’s visualisations from the past.
To support and share her research work, as well as to work with and
develop ideas, texts, and projects, Kankkunen has created web pages
Kankkunen, T. (2012).
How to link graffiti, environmental awareness
and finnish art education.
Kankkunen, T. (2012).
A late graffiti update from Finland.
• Kankkunen, T. (2012).
What could an art teacher like me borrow
from street art culture?
• Kankkunen, T. (2011).
Museo a Cielo Abierto en San Miguel.
• Kankkunen, T. (2011).
A long short photowalk in Quintero.
Click here for Tere's website
Dr. Tere Vadén is a philosopher living in Tampere,
Finland. He has been interested in the local and linguistic
conditions of thinking and views on nature, and how various
art-forms including painting (Arktinen hekkuma. Kalervo Palsa
ja suomalaisen ajattelun mahdollisuus, Atena 1997) and
literature (Ajo ja jälki, Atena 2000) develop unique
environmental processes. To this end, he has also interpreted the
epistemology of Finnish oral tradition (Karhun nimi, niin &
näin, 2006) and the contributions that indigenous
epistemologies, in general, may have on necessary environmental
revolutions (Kaksijalkainen ympäristövallankumous,
Rohkean reunaan 2010). Together with Mika Hannula and Juha Suoranta,
Tere has published two books on the methodology of artistic research
(Artistic research. Theories, methods, practices.
University of Gothenburg 2005; Artistic research methods.
Narrative, Power, and the Public, to appear in 2014).
Recently he has been obsessed with the question of energy,
especially fossil fuels, and their impact on the experience of
Tere Vadén on
Dr. Pirkko Pohjakallio
is a Professor of Art Pedagogy at the Department of Art at Aalto University,
School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Pohjakallio's research focuses on questions concerning the
relationship of art education tradition to art, culture, and environment of
today. She has investigated different approaches and paradigms of Finnish art
education and promoted cultural understanding through her teaching. She has
coordinated an exchange program between the University of Art and Design and
Ugandan Kyambogo and Makerere Universities.
Pirkko Pohjakallio's book
Miksi kuvista? Koulun kuvataideopetuksen muutuvat
perustelut (Why Visual Art Education? The changing justifications for school
art education, 2005) is her dissertation on the history of visual art education in
She has also published articles and book chapters on art
She has done
national and international presentations and has been a visiting scholar at
Pennsylvania State University.
Since 1988 Pirkko has been coordinator of a history project. The project has
gathered a physical collection that contains children's and adolescents' art
works made in schools, teaching materials and other documents on teaching. The
archive contains about 50.000 children's art works, which have been used as
research material for art education students' studies.
You can reach
our group by sending an e-mail to: