New Expertise at the intersection of applied visual art and service design: The Master of Arts Program in Applied Visual Arts (2011-2013) and Arctic Art and Design

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The two-year Master of Arts program in Applied Visual Arts was carried out at 2011-2013. The second program will start in the autumn 2015 with a focus combining applied visuals arts and service design. The majority of the study projects in the first training program in Applied Visual Arts were associated with community art, environmental art, both in the spaces between nature and built-up environment and in nature tourism destinations, as well as with exhibit design, the development of art’s operational models to support the well-being of the elderly and arts-based service design.

One of the aims of the Master of Arts program in Applied Visual Arts was to increase the employment opportunities of artists with new forms of collaboration, in which the artists can take advantage of their special knowledge as specialists or designers of art and visual culture. On the other hand, the starting point was based on the idea that applied visual arts can also have a significant impact on other business life and society. Expectations were focused especially on social and health care sector collaboration, as well as on the tourism industry. The training included an extensive project studies module where students worked on development projects with other professionals from other fields. The training also contained workshop studies, such as snow and ice sculpting and lighting design, which were integrated as a part of the university's cooperation with business field and its art and cultural events. Thus, the studies were tightly connected to working life.

In the student application process, visual artists and art industry professionals were searched for the Master of Arts program in Applied Visual Arts. Four of the sixteen students who started their studies had a basic training in visual arts and one in art education, whereas the other selected students were industrial art designers and designers. In the study project, students worked together supporting collaboration between visual arts and design. The training program’s mandatory courses in the field of design were Sustainable Design and Graphic Design and Corporate Communication. The artistic studies contained, for example, the Space, Time, Place workshop where students carried out spatial installations and performance events. In some study projects, students very obviously used methods of both visual arts and of design. For example, Juha Pekka Ryynänen and Johanna Ruotsalainen designed rest areas along the hiking trails in the Fell Lapland. Some student, such as Reetta Keronen and Salla-Mari Koistinen, developed arts-based service design tools.

In the new international Arctic Art and Design master’s program, starting in autumn 2015, students will be at the intersection of art and design, gaining knowledge and skills based in applied visual arts and service design. They will develop expertise in the themes of art and design for extreme affordability, focusing on need-finding of the users, user empathy, user-centred design, and collaborative dynamics and issues of social design, as well as expertise in emerging methods in visual arts, such as participatory approach. Further, they will learn in-depth skills and competencies in community-centred design and community and environment-based art in the context of the Arctic and the circumpolar north. The students who have been selected to the program come from Europe and Asia. Some of them are designers and some artists with and interest to applied visuals arts.

The programs have got funding from the European Union granted by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY). The European Social Fund (ESF) program supports initiatives that promote employment and expertise. First financing was based on the perceived need to increase artists’ means to earn a living and prevent social exclusion. Second funding is based on positive influence on business and regional livelihoods.
Translated title of the contributionUutta osaamista soveltavan kuvataiteen ja palvelumuotoilun kohdatessa
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2015
EventIn the Spirit of the Rovaniemi Process - Connecting Local and Global in the Arctic - Arktikum, Rovaniemi, Finland
Duration: 24 Nov 201526 Nov 2015


ConferenceIn the Spirit of the Rovaniemi Process - Connecting Local and Global in the Arctic


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