Overall Goal

The network aims to identify and share contemporary and innovative practices in teaching, learning, research and knowledge exchange in the fields of arts, design and visual culture education. The Thematic Network (TN) Arctic Sustainable Arts & Design (ASAD) seeks to:

  • Promote cooperation and collaboration between universities, institutions and communities focused on Northern, Arctic issues in the field of arts, design and visual culture.
  • Improve arts, design and visual culture education amongst the members of the University of the Arctic (UArctic).
  • Identify and share contemporary and innovative practices in teaching, learning, research and knowledge exchange in the fields of arts, design and visual culture education.

The TN consists of three Special Interest Groups (SIG):

  • Arctic Arts and Visual Culture Education (AAVCE)
  • Arctic Sustainable Design (Design)
  • Indigenous Art and Craft

The member institutions may participate in the network activities through one or both SIGs depending on their own interests.

Leader professor

SIG leaders:

Main Activities

To support the realization of the annual goals, ASAD will:

  • Host a biannual symposium on arts, design and visual culture education in the Arctic;
  • Support joint presentations at national and international seminars and congresses
  • Initiate collaborative workshops and seminars for students, teachers and researchers across the Arctic
  • Promote educational collaboration in the fields of arts, design, visual culture and craft education, for example through joint educational programmes
  • Instigate exhibitions, events and publications
  • Initiate and oversee joint research projects
  • Support the development of context-sensitive research methods and arts & design practices in the Arctic

Current and Planned Activities 

  • The ASAD Thematic Network will release a number of publications and exhibitions. See this page for the full list of previous and new ones. 
  • Relate North. Distances (InSEA Publications) will be released in December 2021.
  • Living in the Landscape Exhibition Catalog will be released in October 2021.
  • Call for UArctic Photo Competition "Arctic Polarities" open until 15 January, 2022.
  • Exhibition Living in the Landscape as part of Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit 2021: A common Arctic or contested spaces? Perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of the Barents and Arctic cooperation. 16.-17.11. 2021.
  • ASAD Thematic Networks coordinators annual online meeting November 11, 2021.
  • Online Symposium and Exhibition Relate North: Everyday Extremes will be held in November 11-12, 2021. Tomsk University
  • Call for chapters for Relate North: Everyday Extremes  book will be open in November 2021.
  • Look more often to North project starts in November 2021Partners from Russia, Norway and Finland. Coordinated by Archangelsk Art School (funded by Kolarctic).
  • An art-based intervention in Scotland based on the theme of wetlands and woodlands in collaboration with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design: the University of Dundee and Finland Institution in UK.
  • Arctic Design Week: Inspiring Awareness. Rovaniemi 14th – 27th March, 2022.
  • Winner of UArctic Photo Competition "Arctic Polarities"  awarded  27th March, 2022.
  • Living in the Landscape (LiLa) Summer School 2022 will start in spring 2022.
  • Look more often to the North exhibition, June 2022, Vardö, Norway.
  • Art and Design sessions of UArctic Congress 2022. October 4-7, 2022. Moscow.
  • ARCTIC MAKES III, Observations, Lessons and Solutions from the Geographic Periphery Exhibition in UArctic Congress 2022. October 4-7, 2022. Moscow.
  • LiLa  Exhibition in Gallery Kellokas, December 2022.
  • ASAD network collaborate with Canada Council for the Arts  towards the Third Arctic Arts Summit in Whitehorse Yukon, Canada 27 to 29, 2022.
  • Relate North Symposium and Exhibition will be held as a side-event of Arctic Arts Summit 2022 in Whitehorse, Canada in collaboration with Yukon University.
  • Call for Third UArctic Photo Competition  will open in May 2022.
  • Shifting Ground: Mapping Energy, Geographies and Communities in the North a research creation  project continues with  activities in Canada, Alaska and Finland. (funded by SSHRC). Coordinated by  Emily Carr University of Art+Design.
  • Acting on the Margins – Arts as a Social Sculpture (AMASS) research project continues (funded by H2020). Coordinated by UoL.
  • Relate North, Symposium and Exhibition 2023 in Umeå, Sweden in collaboration with Umeå University.

Past Activities

  • Exhibition of the Winners of the UArctic Photo Competition "Arctic Polarities", Opened in September 6. 2021 in Arktikum, Rovaniemi.
  • Arctic Art and Design sessions of IASSA X, Arctic Generation: Looking Back and Looking Forwards conference in Archangelsk was realized in  15-19 June 2021.
  • Online Exhibition ARCTIC MAKES II: Observations, Lessons and Solutions from the Geographic Periphery was released   in 15 June 2021 as part of  IASSA X, Arctic Generation: Looking Back and Looking Forwards conference in Archangelsk.
  • The Potential of Art and Design for Renewable Economies in Northern Communities session was realized in UArctic Congress, Reykjavik, Iceland, May 2021.
  • Living in the Landscape spring school virtual Exhibition was opened in May 20, 2021, in Reykjavik, UArctic Congress.
  • Online multidisciplinary Living in the landscape school was realized in  spring 2021.
  • Arctic Design Week, Rovaniemi 22. – 28.3.2021
  • UArctic Photo Competition 2021: Arctic Polarities was realized and the winners awarded in March, 2021 
  • ASAD network’s coordinators online meeting was arranged in November 2020
  • Exhibition  ARCTIC MAKES: Observations, Lessons and Solutions from the Geographic Periphery. The Arctic Design School, Urals State University of Architecture and Art, Ekaterinburg, Russia, 2020.
  • The Russian Scientific Journal Human culture and education published Relate North articles. Syktyvkar State University of Russia, 2020.
  • Arctic Arts Summit panel, side event of Arctic Frontiers, Power of Knowledge, 28-30 January 2020, Tromsø, Norway.
  • Arctic Arts Summit advisory board meeting, January, Tromsö, Norway, 2020.
  • Symposium & Exhibition Relate North 2019: Tradition and Innovation in Art and Design Education, Syktyvkar, Komi Republic of Russia. November, 2019.
  • Master class – Relate North Syktyvkar, Russia, 2019.
  • Relate North: Collaboration in  Art and Design Education book released in December 2019.
  • Arctic Art Summit 2019, Rovaniemi, Finland June 3–5, 2019. 
  • Arctic Arts Summit Workshop (BA, MA). Rovaniemi; Finland, June 2019.
  • Fringe Exhibition, Arctic Art Summit 2019, Arktikum House, Rovaniemi 5.6.2019-11.8.2019.
  • Transactions and Impulsions Exhibition, Arctic Art Summit 2019, University Art Galleries, Rovaniemi 5.6.-15.6.2019. 
  • Arts in Arctic: Contemporary and historical perspectives book, released in the Arctic Art Summit in June 2019.
  • ASAD Panel: MAKING connections between art, research and education across the Circumpolar North, InSEA World Congress, University of British Columbia, Vancouver,  Canada, July 2019.
  • Arctic Design Cluster meeting, Cumulus conference Rovaniemi 2019.
  • Poetic Peripheries exhibition, Port Pirie Regional Gallery, Australia.
  • Pozhva Goes Off-road, 9-22.09.2019, Ural Centre for Design Development, Ekaterinburg, Russia.
  • RELATE NORTH 2018: Collaborative Art, Design and Education symposium and exhibition, Nord University, Nesna campus, Norway. November 2018.
  • New book Jokela, T. & Coutts, G. (Eds.) RELATE NORTH: Art and Design for Education and Sustainability published in December 2018.
  • New book Sinner, A., Irwin, R & Jokela, T. (Eds.) Visually Provoking: Dissertations in Art Education published in December 2018.
  • Living in the Landscape Summer School was held in the Komi Republic of Russia, May and September 2018.
  • Living in the Komi Landscape Exhibition was held in Syktyvkar Komi National Library and University Gallery 19 September to 7 October, 2018.
  • Arctic Circle Assembly 2018 19-21 October, 2019 Panel Discussion: The role of arts, culture and creative industries in building sustainablesocieties in the Arctic.
  • Arctic Design Week, It’s time to think outside of the box. February 2018.
  • Circumpolar collaboration in art education and research. Round Table discussion at InSEA Congress 2018, Helsinki.
  • ASAD exhibition and participation in Uarctic Congress 2018 in Oulu, Finland.
  • ASAD partners Concordia University, British Columbia University and Lapland University collaborate in research project: Pedagogical turn. Art-based Education Research Network. Symposium and exhibition in Liverpool Tate Gallery, UK March 2018.
  • Participatory Art Intensive Course for Master students, Nesna, Norway November 2018. The Course arranged concurrent with the RELATE NORTH 2018 symposium.
  • Intensive course for BA and MA students in Kautokeino, Norway. In collaboration with University of Lapland and Sami University College. February 2018.
  • Winter art and architecture intensive course for MA students, Kittilä, Finland, November 2018. In collaboration with University of Lapland, Hokkaido University and ASAD partners.


Timo Jokela, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD)