Katri Kauppala

Master of Arts


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Universities are a mirror to the current social flux , where challenging normativity is a part of the everyday life of student communities. This is not a new phenomenon, as students in Finland have always been active social debaters. Now, however, criticism has increasingly turned to power structures within higher education institutions, racism, inequality and ableism. At times, the debate seems to fall silent as parties challenge who has the right to speak and what ethnicity, gender, generation and privilege each carries in their discourse. 

Critical pedagogy has created a norm-critical ground for art students who, as artists, carry a kind of social activist or rebel cloak. Artists have played an important role as presenters of silenced voices in society, as well as highlighting grievances and different perspectives. As individualistic communities crumble in society, creating confrontation, can the art community be a microcosm of how a polyphonic community can act to listen and challenge, yet allow margins and the mainstream to be a different but equal part of the whole.   

Sexuality, on the other hand, was chosen as the focus of the study because it forces the researcher and educator into a position where the student has autonomy over their own perspective. This means that the teacher cannot escape into expertise under the guise of the subject, but that there must be a flexible power structure in the situation which does not stifle the individual's art (sexual philosophy) but creates a safe space for its making and exploration. 

The study of ethics in philosophy, as well as art education, has a long tradition, but alongside it, this study has brought sexual ethics, the concept of consent, and the concept of boundaries, as well as feminist pedagogy through the study of gender, which allows for a critical analysis of the structural use of power. 

The research method is art-based action research, which I use to collect data through the art process and the teaching process. The adult students of the courses are thus co-investigators, whose observations, experiences and art form the data. The results of this research will provide new approaches to pedagogical situations, as well as concrete suggestions for art education practices. The results will also articulate and share information on how to ensure that the pedagogical situation allows participants to address their chosen (sexuality-related) topic in the way they want. The impact is Finland-wide, and touches the professional field of art education and art practitioners. Through the identification of current needs in art education and the development of operating models, the impact will extend directly to future artists, through art educatiors, and on to art education.


Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts (Art and Design), Uniarts Helsinki

Award Date: 3 Jun 2016

University Diploma in Theatre and Drama, Teatteri-ilmaisun ohjaaja

Award Date: 30 May 2008

External positions

Visiting lecturer, Uniarts Helsinki

14 Nov 20238 Dec 2023

Field of science

  • Theatre, dance, music, other performing arts
  • Visual arts and design
  • Gender studies
  • Adult education
  • Philosophy


  • Art
  • Art education
  • pedagogics
  • Gender
  • Ethics
  • art-based research


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