The University of the Arts Helsinki has the honour of hosting the European network for higher arts education’s ELIA Biennale Conference in November.
This year, the theme of the conference is ‘No stone unturned’. It means that art and art education should be an important part of the development that makes it possible to meet sustainably the needs of not only people but also of the environment, art and justice. In other words, we will leave no stone unturned in our search for ways of achieving better dialogue and greater understanding and, consequently, also a better future.
This goal is highly ambitious but of paramount importance. Art, and art education in particular, play a major role in how we approach the big – and small – issues of life and experience meaningfulness. Art and art education can deal with the significance of such massive phenomena as the climate crisis from the perspective of an individual’s life. This is what we need in order to translate knowledge of the challenges threatening the world into values that guide our thinking and actions. At the University of the Arts Helsinki, we strive to ensure that ecological thinking and responsibility are present in all activities of the university. By means of art and artistic thinking, we create the prerequisites for dealing with the sustainability transformation.
ELIA invites to the conference thought leaders from the arts and academia, practitioners and professionals, students and changemakers, bounders, dreamers and doers. This means that the conference will not be only an academic event.
Everyone’s input is needed to solve complex problems. But how can we ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate on an equal footing?
At the University of the Arts Helsinki, we are proud of our students who have made inclusiveness a discussion topic, demanded safe spaces and brought up what is problematic in the canon of art. Regardless of their background, everyone must have equal opportunities to work, study, participate and be treated well.
A precondition for genuine inclusiveness is that all members of our community feel that they are treated fairly and with respect and that they belong, and experience the environment in which they work and study as psychologically safe.
Of course, this also applies to all of you who will visit us in November. We are delighted to provide you with a space where we can reflect on these difficult and crucial issues. I hope you will enjoy your visit to Helsinki. While it may be dark and cold outside, this will only increase our motivation to get together on the Sörnäinen campus.
For the information of all latecomers in the Uniarts Helsinki community, if you have not registered as a participant yet, please contact Riitta Pasanen-Willberg. We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you!
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