Research Group in Interdisciplinary Improvisation

Institution: University of the Arts Helsinki

Years: 2012 - present

Organisers: James Andean, Alejandro Olarte


Core group (University of the Arts): Marek Pluciennik, Dom Schlienger, Jasmiina Sipilä, Hannu Tuisku, Ilpo Heikkinen, Johannes Vartola, Rania Khalil

Advisors: Andrew Bentley, Kalev Tiits, Marianne Decoster-Taivalkoski, Juusi Liimatainen.

Other Participants (incl. Aalto University, Metropolia, etc.): Megan Snowe, Girilal Baars, Ninel Çam van Chapull, John Dunn, Marie Kaige, Kaisa Kukkonen, Chi-Hsia Lai, Sampo Pyhälä, Timo Pyhälä, Anna Ypyä



The Research Group in Interdisciplinary  Improvisation  began work in 2012, bringing together students and practitioners from a number of fields of artistic practice, including sound, theatre, music, studio art (drawing, painting, etc.), performance art, dance, film/video, etc., to explore improvisation  as a cross- disciplinary practice: Where do we find common ground? Where do we find significant differences in perspective, or challenges in improvised communication?  How can these be explained? Are there any broader implications, extending beyond the scope of improvisation practice?

For the first year, the group’s work was based around weekly meetings of a core group of participants; for the second year, the focus was on regular weekend workshops, particularly focusing on shifting perspectives on time and space in performance.

Themes have included:

  • spatial vs. temporal organization in performance (for example between dance and theatre on the one hand, and music and sound on the other);
  • forms of spatial organization that combine or shift between perspectives drawn from scenography, dance, performance art, etc.;
  • spatial and temporal challenges in integrating time-based performance – dance, music, theatre, etc. –with typically  ‘non-performative’ arts, such as painting, drawing, and so on, or in integrating mobile performance practices with spatially-locked art forms.



  • Book Chapter: Andean, James, “Research Group in Interdisciplinary Improvisation: Goals, Perspectives, and Practice”. In A. Arlander (Ed.) This and That - Essays on Live Art and Performance Studies. Helsinki: Theatre Academy. 174-191. 2014.
  • Article: Andean, James, “Electroacoustic Performance Practice in Interdisciplinary Improvisation”. Emille: Journal of the Korean Electroacoustic Music Society. Vol.11. 2014.
  • Newspaper article: Andean, James, “Research Group in Interdisciplinary Improvisation”. Kolmetoistataide, 1/2013 #3.
  • Conference presentation: “Electroacoustic Performance Practice in Interdisciplinary Improvisation” Korean Electro-Acoustic Music Society Conference, Seoul, South Korea. 2013.
  • Conference presentation: “Electroacoustic Performance Practice in Interdisciplinary Improvisation”, EMS 13: Electroacoustic Approaches in the Context of Interactive Approaches and Networks, Lisbon, Portugal. 2013.
  • Conference presentation: “Research Group in Interdisciplinary Improvisation:
  • Performance/Presentation”, LAPSody 2013, Theatre Academy/University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland.
  • Conference panel: “Sounding Motion: Time and Space in Cross-Disciplinary Improvisation”, Cultural Memory of Sound & Space - 17th Finnish Music Researchers’ Symposium, University of Turku, Finland. 2013.
  • Conference presentation: “Research Group in Interdisciplinary Improvisation: Performance/Presentation”, CARPA 3: Third Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts, Theatre Academy/ University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland. 2013.
  • Performances: Esitystaiteen Keskus; Pasila railway station and the Musiikitalo foyer, as part of the University of the Arts opening celebrations in January and September; Carpa 3; LAPSody 2013; Kontaining13; Art Häme; and Vapaan Taiteen Tila.