Photo: Vilja Pursiainen

Tuija Kokkonen new Professor in Artistic Research

On 1 August 2018, Doctor of Arts (Theatre and Drama) Tuija Kokkonen took up her post as Professor in Artistic Research at Uniarts Helsinki's Theatre Academy. Kokkonen’s tenure is five years.

Tuija Kokkonen is a pioneer of contemporary performance, with varied and international experience as an artist, researcher and teacher. She has previously held the role of part-time lecturer on the international MA in Ecology and Contemporary Performance programme at the Theatre Academy of Uniarts Helsinki, as well as served as guest lecturer at several other universities.

– Artistic research is an incredibly inspiring, continuously changing combination of art and research, and I want to be part of developing its preconditions and possibilities. I want to participate in the structuring and defence of Uniarts Helsinki, the Theatre Academy and Performing Arts Research Centre Tutke as strong and critically debating bodies in a time when art, research and the very significance and values of the university as an institution are at risk, states Kokkonen.

Tuija Kokkonen has led her own performance group, Maus & Orlovski, since 1996.

Kokkonen has been active in the fields of ecology and post-humanist performance research and art, in Finland as well as internationally. Her thesis investigated our relation to the non-human, especially other species, in a performance setting. Kokkonen is of the opinion that artistic research plays an important role in social debate.

– Artistic research is given ever more diverse opportunities to participate in the current debate in the art world, the academic world and in society as a whole. The most significant social impact comes from the ways in which artistic research participates in the world – the new questions, methods, forms and courage it gives rise to, and e.g. its ability to create and process shared, transdisciplinary questions. The practical values forming the basis of operations at Tutke/Uniarts Helsinki, both internally and in relation to the rest of society, also constitute part of the social impact of research.

Developing and defending artistic research and the preconditions governing its production also involves operating in a social framework that extends further than research policy battles – where we can now see universities changing into education industries, research into immaterial jobs within the creative industry, and the artist-researcher into an entrepreneur.

Tuija Kokkonen works closely with Theatre Academy Vice Dean Leena Rouhiainen, who also acts as Professor in Artistic Research. Their work distribution is clear.

– Leena is the Vice Dean responsible for research as well as the leader of Tutke, with responsibility especially for post doc research. The doctoral programme is my responsibility. My most important assignments include developing the programme and supporting the doctoral students. This means, for instance, developing different forms of tutoring and mentoring, as well as deepening understanding of performance research and research ethics. I also strive to strengthen the relationship between artistic research and the degree programmes, as well as in an international context. The whole community is constantly collaborating.