Collaboration with University of Auckland has begun


After two intense weeks in New Zealand the return to November darkness felt quite harsh. The contrast between the beautiful island nation, just awakening to spring, and rainy Helsinki was partly eased by the enthusiasm around the ARTSEQUAL project, and also by increasing interest in collaborating with the University of Auckland by others, for instance some of our doctoral students.

The most concrete aspect of this initial stage of collaboration is the student exchange within the field of dance, particularly dance pedagogy, as well as research cooperation through the ARTSEQUAL project. Dance researchers Ralph Buck, Nick Rowe and Rose Martin can challenge and support Finnish researchers in investigating the questions related to diversity and equality from different perspectives. Although New Zealand is a Western society, its roots are also deeply - and sometimes painfully – multicultural. This reality affects education and cultural practice at every level. The living presence of Maori culture in everyday life made a big impression on me, and during my short visit I realized how important it would be to more deeply understand the otherness that indigenous peoples experience; a reality even today.

Nick and Rose have also worked in the Middle East for many years. Rose has a book coming out in the next few weeks titled “Women, dance and revolution: Performance and protest in the Southern Mediterranean”. The book’s message is timelier than ever – it gives a voice to female artists who defy repressive politics in conflict areas.

Rose will return to Finland and the Baltics in February. A new book, “Talking dance” is underway – the fourth book in a series that highlights stories about the significance of dance in different parts of the world, within the context of people who live around a major sea. Next up is the Baltic Sea, coming after the Mediterranean, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Through the book project and our research collaboration we can together develop understanding of how dance and art touches people in different parts of the world.