Improvisation as a sustainable approach in Service Design for Sensitive Contexts

Mari Eveliina Suoheimo, Melanie Sarantou

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


Margin to Margin: Women living on the edges of the world is an art and research project that took place in 2016-2017 between four geographical margins: outback South Australia, Finnish Lapland, Russian Kola Peninsula and Namibia. The project is an art and research collaboration between artist communities with the goal to explore the relationship between art-making and empowerment of artefact makers living and working ‘on the edges’. The aims of the project include the understanding of realities marginalised communities face whilst giving voice to these communities by exhibiting their art in various formats. This paper explores the role of improvisation in art-based processes with Indigenous communities in Fowlers Bay, South Australia where one of the project’s workshops were conducted in 2016. Similar to the improvised processes used in going about everyday activities, the connective function of improvisation allows art makers to negotiate, take risks, unmake and remake artwork so that they are able to flow from one moment in a process to the next, thus negotiating the ways they work. The methodological approach of this paper will draw on art-based methods, ethnographic observations and visual documentation (photo and video). The value of this paper is that although the role of improvisation’s connective function in art making processes is highlighted, this connective role also enables Indigenous artists to connect with other Indigenous and cross-cultural groups as was demonstrated in the Margin to Margin project. Therefore, the paper present a practical framework for the enabling of flexible improvisatory methods that ensures connectivity in complex contexts during fieldwork.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoEC publication typeNot Eligible
EventPAD, Participatory Development through Art -conference 15.-17. elokuuta 2018 - Lapin yliopisto, taiteiden tiedekunta, Rovaniemi, Finland
Duration: 15 Aug 201817 Aug 2018


ConferencePAD, Participatory Development through Art -conference 15.-17. elokuuta 2018
Abbreviated titlePAD
Internet address

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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