Mari Martin

  • Visiting researcher, Taiteellisen tutkimuksen tk CfAR, Research hub

Job description

I work as a visiting researcher at CFAR (Center for Artistic Research). I am promoting my research project Sensory and Performative Perspectives on the Urban Environment. I am also participating in a discussion about the role and position of artistic research and also post doc research at the University of the Arts Helsinki.


I am a live-artist and researcher, whose background is in theater, dance and art pedagogy. I have always worked in the performing arts in different positions, in different professional roles: director, actor, choreographer, dancer, teacher, researcher. Of all this, I constantly filter my way of thinking about art and existence.

In 2014, I defended my dissertation (in the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki) on an autobiographical performance. I am currently working as a visiting researcher at the University of the Arts Helsinki. I study the relationship of the human being to urban environments and the role and importance of art in that relationship.


Intensive course of autobiographical presentation and substitute for biographical writing (February 9 – April 5, 2016) at Helsinki Workers’ Institute.

Teacher in theatre art in art schools (Espoo School of Performing Arts, Annantalo, DramaStudio / Youth Affairs Center of Helsinki City) and at school (Koivukylä High School, Vantaa).

Teacher-coordinator of Theater and Drama Teaching, basic and subject Studies, at the Open University of the Theater Academy of Helsinki.

Dance teacher in Kuopio, Oulu, Helsinki and Espoo.

Artistic activities

Artistic Research

2018 –

Member of Ajauksia artist group (Minna Heikinaho, Pia Lindy, Mari Martin, Paula Tella). Activities in the research events and art contexts. The first sensory excursion with the group in the Radical Relevances, international conference in the Aalto University, Otaniemi, Espoo, 26.4.2018. Last: Sensory Experiences: An Articulating, Encountering and Perceiving Body (in Urban Space). Lapinlahti hospital area, Helsinki. In the Nordic Summer University’s (NSU) Summer Session Tracing the Spirit: Study Circle 7: Artistic Research / Performing Heterotopia. 27.7.2020.

2018 – 2019

Research Pavilion #3 (RP#3) project in the context of the Venice Biennale, coordinated by the University of the Arts Helsinki. Participation in the project during 1.7.2018 – 17.11.2019:

– As a member of Ajauksia artist group: several sensory excursions in urban environments during the year in Helsinki area and Venice, Italy. As a member of Disruptive Processes group: numerous gatherings in Ajauksia group, Disruptive Processes group and between the members of RP#3 project.

– Research Pavilion #3 Info Lab. Concluding exposition of the RP#3 project in the Exhibition Laboratory, University of the Arts Helsinki, 25.10.-17.11.2019.

– Participation as a member of Ajauksia artist group and a member of Disruptive Processes artist group in the exposition. Research Pavilion #3 Info Lab Universes in Universe website 

– Group installation of Disruptive Processes artist group: I participated in the construction of the wooden structure sketched by Anni Laakso. We attached to the wall the sensory exercises of Ajauksia group written on the sheets. It was possible for the visitor to take training instructions for themselves. In connection with the installation, I brought my article describing our work.

– Realisation of five sensory excursions, participative workshops, as a member of Ajauksia artist group in the exposition, located in the Sala del Camino, on the island of Ciudecca in Venice: 12.6., 13.6., 14.6.,15.6., 16.6. (as part of the Convocation – On Expanded Language-Based Practices event).

– Ajauksia artist group organized public sensory excursions in the different neighborhoods in Helsinki in the spring 2019: Kalasatama 27.5., Lapinlahti hospital area 7.5., Uutela 29.4., Kontula 15.4.

Other artistic work

2017 – 2018

Community artist in a multicultural community art projects in Meri-Rastila suburb, Vuosaari, Helsinki. Collaboration with the resident activists, local residents and communities, the Africa Care society and the city of Helsinki:

– December in Meri-Rastila 1.10.2017 – 22.12.2017. Local people in Meri-Rastila were planning the month of numerous events during December 2017, Christmas threes decoration, choral performances, free Christmas drink – mulled wine – service, candy service, an actor’s monologue performance. I became an organizer of some of these, but my main project became a lantern walk in the woods, together with a local resident.

– Collaborative art work in the African Care Society’s women’s meeting café 1.3. – 15.4.2018. Installation Talk, Hear, Face was on display at the spring party of the society in the Kulkuri resident’s house 12.5.2018:


Sense of Stone. Designer and realizer of the exhibition in Vuotalo gallery in Vuosaari, Helsinki 13 – 23.1.2016. Documentation of Pirkko Ahjo’s, Erja Asikainen’s and Mari Martin’s artistic year in the Blackstone Park. The works in the exhibition:

– Stones, a participative installation. Materials: white pedestal, dark stones by the sea from Vuosaari and the written instruction: “What is your stone still life like? You can build your own from stones. Still lifes are being photographed and the images will be used later in the writings about the exhibition. ”

– Year in the Black Stone Park, a photo collection with the texts. The photos show moments of the dancers working during the year. The texts give a single overall picture and make interpretations of the common year.

– Sound of the Black Stone Park, a soundscape together with a videoartist Roni Tattari. The soundscape included the sounds heard in the park: seagulls, the speech of people passing by, the barking of dogs, cars passing farther past, and subway trains arriving at and departing from the subway station.

– Dancing in the Park, three videos together with a videoartist Roni Tattari. The videos show the change in the park and the activities of the dancers during the year: always the same activities chosen repeatedly, as well as new ideas and experiments created in different situations, from different impulses.

2014 – 2015

On the Rocks. A site-spesific performance in the Black Stone Park in Vuosaari, Helsinki. The work group: Pirkko Ahjo (dancer), Erja Asikainen (dancer) and Mari Martin (director, performer). 5 public performances 3–7.8.2015.

Vuosi Mustankivenpuistossa. (Year in the Black Stone Park.) Artistic work in Vuosaari, Helsinki: improvisation, exercises and performances. The work group: Pirkko Ahjo, Erja Asikainen and Mari Martin. 1.8.2014–7.8.2015.


Minun toinen (My Other). A collaborative performance with the actress Heidi Lindén. The performance was also the artistic part of my  doctoral dissertation. Light backup: Seppo Lampio. Sound backup: Heikki Laakso. Driving light and sound: Osku Ärilä (visitor). Costume backup: Terttu Torkkola. Props: Tarja Hägg. Stage structures: Heli Litmanen. Information: Jaana Forsström. Production: Sanna Suonsyrjä. Video recording: Rauno Malmberg. Theatre Academy of Helsinki, room 535.


Kerroksia (Layers). I convened three dancers to work with me. Pirkko Ahjo (with the backround of contemporary dance), Erja Asikainen (with the backround of ballet and contemporary dance), Erika Alajärvi (with the backround of flamenco dance). We tested the production of autobiographical material as performance material. I worked as a director, the dancers worked as performers and choreographers. Heidi Kouhia (videos), Ilari Suonpää (sound design) and Vinski Viholainen (light design). Valtimonteatteri, Helsinki (4 performances in March.)


Heijastuksia (Reflections). Dramaturgy and direction of the contemporary flamenco performance. Choreographer + dancer: Erika Alajärvi. Other dancers: Emilia Aho, Katja Lundén, Sampsa Peltonen, Annatuuli Saine, Anna Palmio. Videos: Heidi Kouhia. Music for the performance: Ramon Maronier, Cinta Hermo. Production: flamenco group Canela, Helsinki. (Five performances in May at Stoa and Kanneltalo.)


Attic room. Dramatization and directing of Siegfried Lenz’s novel Arnes Nachlass (Bullied, translation from German to Finnish: Oili Suominen) for young people. Scenography: Kanerva Vuorela. Lightning: Hannu Luoto. Photographs: Risto Vuorimies. Production: Annantalo Art Center and the Youth Stage Narri. (5 performances in September – October in Narri.)

2003 – 2008

Directions for the Elämäntaiteilijat (Life Artists) theatre group (a group of adults with CP):
– 2008 Annan seitsemän elämää (Anna’s seven lives). According to Kaarina Helakisa’s story collection. Dramatization and directing.
– 2007 Runon siivet (The wings of the poem). Actors with their favorite poems.
– 2006 Satupolkuja pitkin (Along the fairytale paths). The childhood memories and experiences of the actors.
– 2005 Elämän liekki (The Flame of Life). Scenes from favorite poems and plays.
– 2004 Hykermä. The themes of Anja Kauranen’s novel Autumn Prince mirrored in the actors’ own life stories.

Research and publications

Martin, Mari (submitted for publication) 2021. Aina uudesti syntyvä hetkellinen yhteisö. (An instantaneous community that is always reborn) In Lea Kantonen & Sari Karttunen (eds.) Yhteisötaiteen etiikka. (Working title.) (The ethics of community art). University of the Arts Helsinki. (Peer-reviewed research article.)

Martin, Mari 2020. Sensory Excursion as a Site of Encounter. In Mika Elo, Henk Slager and Tero Heikkinen (eds.) Ecologies of Practice. RUUKKU #14. Publication in artistic research. (Peer-reviewed research exposition.)

Ajauksia artist group 2020. Sensory Experiences – A Perceiving, Encountering and Articulating Body in Urban Space. Edited by Mari Martin. CARPA 6 Conference publication on artistic research. University of the Arts Helsinki and Kiasma. (Research article.) The Artistic Research Performs and Transforms: Bridging Practices, Contexts, Traditions and Futures.

Martin, Mari 2017. Dialogissa kaupunkiympäristön kanssa. (In dialogue with the urban environment.) In Annette Arlander, Laura Gröndahl & Marja Silde (eds.) Tekijä – teos, esitys ja yhteiskunta. Teatterintutkimuksen seuran verkkojulkaisusarja Näyttämö ja tutkimus 6. (Peer-reviewed research article.)

Martin, Mari 2017. Lastenkulttuurikeskukset osallisuutta tuottamassa. – Huoltajien taustat ja kokemukset taide- ja kulttuurikasvatukseen osallistumisen määrittäjinä. Taideyliopiston ArtsEqual-hanke ja Suomen lastenkulttuurikeskusten liitto. (Questionnaire research.)

Anttila, Eeva & Jaakonaho, Liisa & Juntunen, Marja-Leena & Martin, Mari & Nikkanen, Hanna M. & Saastamoinen, Riku & Turpeinen, Isto 2017. School as Finland’s largest cultural centre. ArtsEqual research project, policy brief 2/2017. University of the Arts Helsinki. ArtsEqual policy brief 2/2017:Comprehensive school: Finland’s largest cultural center (PDF)

Anttila, Eeva & Jaakonaho, Liisa & Juntunen, Marja-Leena & Martin, Mari & Nikkanen, Hanna M. & Saastamoinen, Riku & Turpeinen, Isto 2017. Peruskoulu: Suomen suurin kulttuurikeskus. Taideyliopiston ArtsEqual-tutkimushankkeen toimenpidesuositus 2/2017.

Martin, Mari 2016. Taiteen lokeroista kohti tutkivaa monitaide-elämää. Teoksessa Soili Hämäläinen (kirj. ja toim.) Tanssi yliopistossa. Kirjoituksia uuden koulutus- ja tutkimusalan muotoutumisesta. Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulu. Nivel 07. (Research article.)

Lehikoinen, Kai & Pässilä, Anne & Martin, Mari & Pulkki, Maiju 2016 (toim.). Taiteilija kehittäjänä. Taiteelliset interventiot organisaatioissa. (An artist as a developer. Artistic interventions in organizations.) Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulu. (One of four editors in the book of 14 articles.)

Martin, Mari 2015. Selvitys tanssin ja teatterin alan opettajankoulutuksen nykytilanteesta ja tulevaisuudennäkymistä. (A study of the current situation and future prospects of teacher education in the field of dance and theater.) Taideyliopiston Teatterikorkeakoulu. (Internal research conducted at the Theater Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.)

Martin, Mari 2014. Minän esitys. Ohjaajan pohdintaa oman, yksityisen päiväkirjakatkelman työstämisestä näyttämölle. (A Performance of Me/I – A Director’s Reflection on Working a Fragment of a Private Diary onto the Stage) Helsinki: Teatterikorkeakoulu, Esittävien taiteiden tutkimuskeskus. Acta Scenica 35. Doctoral Thesis.

Martin, Mari 2013. Doctoral lecture (in Finnish) 22.11.2013

Martin, Mari 2007. Teatterin kätilö. (As a midwife in the theater.) In Marjatta Bardy & Riikka Haapalainen & Merja Isotalo & Pekka Korhonen (eds.) Taide keskellä elämää. (Art in the middle of life.) Like / Nykytaiteen museo Kiasman julkaisuja 106 / 2007. (Research Article.)

Martin, Mari 2007. Lapsilähtöistä teatteria. Taiteilija-pedagogin työskentely koulun taideprojektissa. (Creating Theatre from a Child’s Point of View. Artist-Pedagogue’s Work in a School Art Project.) (Licentiate’s thesis. Unpublished.)

Martin, Mari 2004. Satu oman elämän heijastuspintana. Lapsen ja aikuisen kerronta. (A fairy tale as a reflection surface of your own life. Child and adult narration.) In Inkeri Sava & Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen (eds.) Taiteeksi tarinoitu oma elämä. (My own life told in art.) Jyväskylä: PS-kustannus, Opetus 2000. (Research article.)

Vesanen-Laukkanen, Virpi & Martin, Mari & Sava, Inkeri 2004. Liite 1. Opettajien taidetyöpajatoiminta 2001–2003. (Appendix 1. Teachers’ art workshop activities 2001–2003.) In Inkeri Sava & Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen (eds.) Taiteeksi tarinoitu oma elämä. (My own life told in art.) Jyväskylä: PS-kustannus, Opetus 2000. (Research article.)

Vesanen-Laukkanen, Virpi & Sava, Inkeri & Martin, Mari 2004. Yhteistyötä ja yhteistä jakamista. In Inkeri Sava & Virpi Vesanen-Laukkanen (eds.) Taiteeksi tarinoitu oma elämä. (My own life told in art.) Jyväskylä: PS-kustannus, Opetus 2000. (Research article.)

Martin, Mari 2003. Katseemme kohtaavat… ja me hymyilemme (Our gazes meet… and we smile). In Mari Krappala & Tarja Pääjoki (eds.) Taide ja toiseus. Syrjästä yhteisöön. (Art and otherness. From the margins to the community.) Stakesin julkaisusarja. (Research article.)

Vesanen-Laukkanen, Virpi & Martin, Mari 2001. Omaelämäkerrallinen taide. Työskentelyn perusteita etsimässä. (Autobiographical art. Looking for the basics of working.) In Inkeri Sava & Marjatta Bardy (eds.) Taiteellinen toiminta, elämäntarinat ja syrjäytyminen. (Artistic activity, life stories and exclusion.) Syreenin Taimi-projekti 2001-2003. Työpaperit. Taideteollisen korkeakoulun julkaisusarja F21. (Research article.)


I created the blog This Also Performance in September 2020. In the blog, I describe my work as an artistic researcher by choosing a theme or title that I would write a few times. The first theme of my blog was Artistic Harvesting, in connection with which I bring my summer activities in my home area in Vuosaari, Helsinki. In this spring my theme is Job of the Artist? (


  • live-art
  • theatre
  • artistic research
  • inter-art
  • artistic dialogue
  • collaboration
  • autobiographical performing
  • arts pedagogy