The Thematic Network Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD) enables joint studies between higher education institutions. Initially the transdisciplinary Living in the Landscape (LiLa) summer school series has been established by the University of Lapland (UoL) in 2018. The aim is to annually organize this Hybrid (Online lectures/seminars and Onsite fieldwork) school between ASAD partners.

The aim of the Living in the Landscape Summer School series is to bring together MA/ PhD students and scholars from different disciplines and circumpolar higher education institutions to develop culture-sensitive and sustainable research on the sociocultural landscapes of the Arctic region. Another central aim is to create encounters and dialogue between traditional forms of culture and contemporary practices and discover how these could be presented through art.

Photo: Mari Parpala, 2023
Photo: Mari Parpala, 2023

University of Lapland has established and coordinates LiLa annually. The fourth and ongoing school has participating students and scholars from the ASAD partner institutions: University of Lapland (Finland), Nord Univer­sity of Norway, Umeå University (Sweden), University of West of Scotland, University of the Highlands and Islands and Scholar from the Yukon School of Art and the University of Alaska Anchorage. Their academic disciplines were art education, general teacher education, fine arts, media and clothing design, creative media practice, architecture and nature sciences.

Lila is orgazined as a hybrid. The lectures and seminars are offered online during the spring term and they prepare the participants for the one-week fieldwork period in the end of May. This year the general theme of the school was sustainable forest and Tim Ingold’s concept of Taskscapes. The practices of the school allows participants to investigate their personal, cultural and collaborational relationships to landscape and seeks to develop sustainable methods for art-based transdisciplinary research. Every year the school culminates in exhibition and publication where the participants showcase their art-based results from these investigations.

"The aim of developing joint studies between the Arctic art and design institutions helps to share best practices, different insights and research orientation in a very hands-on manner. Annually the school is launched with a broader theme and the participants then bring in diverse perspectives for the investigation. The school is every year an eye-opener and force towards more sustainable living in the landscape with more-than-human agents", says the coordinating lecturer, Elina Härkönen from the university of Lapland.

The goal is to develop Lila as a permanent part of the cooperation and degree structures of the universities of the ASAD network.

"There are still many challenges to be solved in order to make the annual implementation of the course as a flexible part of the degree structures in participating   The Arctic University as an organization could play  even stronger role in identifying and eliminating practices that hinder university cooperation in education such Lila",  says IP of the LiLa development project, UArctic Chair, Professor Timo Jokela from the University of Lapland.

Lila has received support from Nordplus Horizontal funding and UArctic Norway funding.