The Doctoral Studies Programme is the home of doctoral training and research in the Academy of Fine Arts at University of the Arts Helsinki. It delineates and implements the research-oriented basic function of the Academy, which is to train artists and artist-researchers working in the field of art, and to conduct research in the field of the fine arts. The term ‘fine arts’ here refers to the areas of contemporary art that are represented in the Academy of Fine Arts. The research community in the Academy of Fine Arts is an academic community that comprises the doctoral students, teachers and researchers involved in the programme, along with administrative personnel. The Academy of Fine Arts conducts artistic research as well as research of contemporary art.
Research in the Academy of Fine Arts has art and the artist at its core. Research subjects – whether embodied in the research question or the method, material or objective of research – cover the meaning, practices, techniques and methods of art, as well as the principles and institutional arrangements that determine the production, reception, training and application of art. Research in the Academy of Fine Arts aims to assess and reflect critically upon the above themes and to produce new knowledge.
Research in the academy produces new kind of art, new kinds of methods and applications for the production of art, and fosters new understanding on the meaning of art and artistic agency. Through art, it affects our way of being in the world as observing and social creatures. Research in the academy produces experience-based analytic articulations that can be assessed and argued using academic criteria and which engage in a critical dialogue with existing research in the field while also augmenting and renewing it. The experiential foundation of research can consist of practical experience gained by the artist of operational environments and their material and conceptual frameworks. The criteria used for justifying and evaluating the results of research embrace the method of research, its coherence and logic, communicability, critical thinking, originality, ethicality, freedom as well as its standing relative to other similar research and to art and society.
Research in the Academy of Fine Arts is part of the multidimensional field of contemporary art. It is therefore multidisciplinary at the very outset, involving several disciplines of science as well as art. It relies on the experience of art, which can arise in all kinds of contexts regardless of traditional cognitive or artistic categories. The community aspect of research in the Academy of Fine Arts arises from the fundamental nature of the fine arts, the human desire to perceive, experience and act collectively. The experience of art is fundamentally social, and so is any research that is applied to it. The community aspect of research builds upon multidisciplinary peer groups and audiences. Collegial cooperation and feedback across disciplinary boundaries are indispensable for the practical conduct of research. The evaluation of research is in the hands of relevant national and international academic communities of which the Academy of Fine Arts and the University of the Arts are both members. In this community, in which artistic and research activities meet on an equal footing, the Academy of Fine Arts produces highquality doctoral degrees and high-quality research in the fine arts, thereby promoting research in the field of art and the active role of art in society.
Academy of Fine Arts as a research community
The Academy of Fine Arts seeks to create and provide the necessary framework for conducting and developing research in the fine arts that follows the above aims and principles. It offers doctoral students and researchers a network that supports their research and career in many ways. It creates conditions for discussing, comparing and interaction between different research configurations. The Academy of Fine Arts is an international artistic and academic expert community that enables critical evaluation and unbiased development of artistic research. It is a community of discourse in which divergent informational, social and artistic frameworks can be developed to respond to the challenges and problems arising in the field of contemporary art. The Academy of Fine Arts is a collegial community of artists and researchers, the operating principles of which are transparency, critical thinking, democracy, equality, pedagogy, and respect and support of the work of others.
In 2020, the Academy of Fine Arts is a leading center for international artistic research and doctoral training. The combination of operating principles, values and functions described above has become established due to research activities at the Academy, and the combination is acclaimed internationally. The Academy has consolidated the position of postdoc research and has integrated it successfully with doctoral training, basic education and alumni activities. The Academy plays an active role in the redefinition of the fine arts, artisthood and art education in response to the ecological, societal and humanitarian challenges of our age. The Academy is also active in international research networks where it promotes multidisciplinary interaction and responsible internationality.
Research at the Academy of Fine Arts has by 2020 come to enjoy broad social recognition and has proved to be instrumental in securing external funding. Research at the Academy of Fine Arts aims to implement these objectives in the selection of doctoral students, of academy staff and visiting researchers, in its curriculum, doctoral research supervision, preparation of research projects, organisation of events, publishing policy, communications, and national and international cooperation. Detailed strategic guidelines and actions are presented in the action plan of the academy, which is in line with the strategy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.
Tohtorikoulutuksen ja tutkimuksen jaos, hyväksytty 17.5.2017