AiR - Artist in Residence

The Aalto AiR programme follows the practices of the best international universities and is, notably, the first of its kind in the Nordic countries.

Artist-in-Residence Ariel Bustamante. Photo Mikko RaskinenAalto University’s commitment to enhancing cross-disciplinary dialogue is also visible in the artist-in-residence programme. Its purpose is to create a new kind of cooperation model within the university and to increase collaboration between art, science, technology and business.

Aalto AiR programme provides dedicated and internationally active artists with a unique opportunity to work with a truly collaborative community of researchers, students and staff and to avail themselves of Aalto University’s resources for artistic and creative productions for a two-year period. 

The next residency period is from January 2014 to December 2015. The application process has been closed in August 2013. During this time, the artist will pursue his/her own creative project while at the same time engaging with the Aalto University community in various ways: collaborations between departments and schools, periods of teaching, workshops and public presentations. The outcome of the residence period — a work of art, an exhibition, a film, or a project of another kind — will be premiered in Helsinki.

The notion of ‘artist’ encompasses all the areas of the school’s expertise: visual artists, architects, designers, filmmakers, graphic designers, photographers and researchers. The aim of the residence scheme is to foster far-reaching dialogue between students and professionals across disciplines, and in so doing, to provide special opportunities for the artists and students in question and to enhance the international visibility of Aalto University.

Contact: Henna Harri, henna.harri [at] aalto [dot] fi


Aalto University is a new university with more than a century of experience. Created in 2010 from a high-profile merger between three leading universities in Finland — the Helsinki School of Economics, the Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Art and Design Helsinki — Aalto University opens up new possibilities for strong multidisciplinary education and research. The university has 20 000 students and a staff of 5 000, including 350 professors.

The School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University is an internationally renowned institution of higher education in the fields of art, art education, architecture, design, film, television and scenography, media, graphic design and photography. Cooperation and interaction between all the different disciplines of the school challenge technology-driven thinking and put emphasis on a human and user-centred approach to the creative process.

The Aalto AiR programme benefits from the Aalto University community as a whole as well as from its location in Helsinki, the World Design Capital 2012. Helsinki is a thriving city of culture that is currently undergoing an energising phase of creative regeneration in which local forms of self-governed activism are in seamless dialogue with global-level debates, networks and institutions. The programme builds on active partnerships with multiple actors in the Helsinki cultural scene: art museums, galleries, artists' collectives, art promotion organisations and other residence programmes, such as the Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP).

For Whom?

We are looking for applicants who are internationally active and experienced artists committed to experimentation, cross-disciplinary work and innovation. Essentially, we are looking for artists who have an interesting and original project that falls within the expertise of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University. We welcome applicants with a fascination and readiness to utilise a truly multi-disciplinary creative environment and with a clear interest in the university world.

The Aalto AiR programme offers the artist:
- access to an unrivalled variety of facilities for creative endeavours at the various departments of the school, as well as other resources, including:

- a work space suitable for the project in question
- a monthly salary equalling that of a post-doc researcher at Aalto University
- a production budget depending on the individual project
- production assistance and a team of students helping with the production
- exhibition and co-operation possibilities
- support in finding accommodation.

The Artist-in-Residence will be expected to:
- commit to a two-year period in Helsinki working with a personal project
- dedicate a 4 - 6 week period per annum to teaching
- arrange one workshop per annum related to the project
- give at least two public presentations per annum.

The outcome of the residence period — a work of art, an exhibition, a film, or a project of another kind — will be premiered in Helsinki.

Residence 2011-2013

Photo Marita LiuliaAalto University established Aalto AiR programme for international artists and experts in 2011. The first artist-in-residence by invitation was artist-director Marita Liulia (b. 1957) from 2011 until 2013.

Ms. Liulia has had great success in many different fields of art and she has combined in her productions. Her works of art have been on display in 45 countries and she has cooperated especially with top experts of dance, new technology and music.

During residency Ms. Liulia produced a dance film Return of the Goddess, that combines film, modern dance and new technology. The film was premiered during the Helsinki Festival in 2012.

Dance film Return of the Goddess

In the dance film by artist-director Marita Liulia a man living in a destroyed city meets a goddess. The goddess, that has been displaced by modern religions, tells the man about the cycle of life that cannot be changed by a man. The role of the goddess is played by dancer-coreographer Virpi Pahkinen. Music by Richard Horowitz and the Iranian originating singer Sussan Deyhim. The film is the first part of Liulia’s Dance of Death Trilogy.

Jumalattaren paluu. Screenshot

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