Collaboration with artist-researchers opens new perspectives on knowledge production – The theme of gifts from the perspectives of art and scolarship showcased at Kaapelitehdas

The final event of the multidisciplinary project exploring the phenomenon of gift consists of a conference and exhibition at Kaapelitehdas from June 6–15, 2024.

The collaboration of three universities on the theme of gift began when Professor Olli Pyyhtinen from the University of Tampere invited the Doctoral Programme of the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki and the Department of Art and Media at Aalto University to join the “Gifts/Presents/Presence – Meanings and Materialities” project (2021–2024).

“Collaborating with artist-researchers has opened new perspectives for my research project on ways and processes of producing knowledge and exploring the world,” says Professor Pyyhtinen.

According to Pyyhtinen, the dialogue between art and scolarship around the theme of gifts has been particularly interesting because the concept of a gift is an integral part of both fields and they can approach it from different angles.

Denise Ziegler responded to Pyyhtinen’s invitation, which led to the organization of the “Gift as an Experiment” course for doctoral researchers.

“I found the theme of the project topical, and the open-ended and experimental starting point of the collaboration seemed an interesting opportunity not only to engage in a dialogue between academic research and the arts but also to exhibit the processes of artistic research. In addition, it was also important for us to bring together doctoral researchers and researchers from both Aalto University and the University of the Arts Helsinki,” says Denise Ziegler, Professor of Artistic Research at the University of the Arts Helsinki.

Excellent Framework for Multidisciplinary Collaboration

The conference-exhibition held at Kaapelitehdas’ Valssaamo from June 6–15 is also the culmination of the doctoral researchers’ course. The event is produced and curated by Niilo Rinne, with doctoral researcher Heidi Hänninen from the University of the Arts Helsinki as the course assistant.

Kaapelitehdas provides an excellent framework for collaboration between art, science, and different institutions.

“The Valssaamo space served as a tabula rasa, where the sharing of space and time was negotiated together during a nine-month process. The goal was to create an enriching multi-sensory environment and event for thinking and encounters between different institutions, networks, and practices,” says event producer Niilo Rinne.

Join us at the conference and the exhibition

The collaboration resulted in an exhibition of 14 site- and situation-specific works created by 18 artist-researchers, and a conference programme curated by the gift project team consisting of Olli Pyyhtinen, Margrit Shildrick, Alexandra Urakova, and Niilo Rinne.

The event begins with a three-day conference from Thursday, June 6 to Saturday, June 8, and the exhibition will be open at Kaapelitehdas’ Valssaamo until Saturday, June 15 every day from 12pm to 6pm. Free entry.

Contact information for the conference-exhibition

Niilo Rinne,