Pre-Symposium 2018




Aboagora 2018: “Burden/Skuld” | 22nd – 24th August


Pre-Symposium for Doctoral Candidates 21st August


 Aboagora is an annual symposium that brings together the arts, humanities and sciences. The event consists of public keynote lectures and dialogues, smaller roundtable workshops as well as artistic programmes. In the years 2016–2018, Aboagora has built a thematic trilogy under the title The Threads of Fate. The title refers to Old Norse mythology and characters called Norns, who rule the destinies of both gods and humans. The three most important Norns were Urðr, Verðandi and Skuld. They have at times been interpreted as past, present and future but, in fact, layers of temporality are unavoidably entangled. For example, the question of fate (Urðr) stretches from the past to the future, and the idea of burden (Skuld) refers both to our heritage and to something we have to confront in the future. Each Norn serves as a point of entrance to the Aboagora events of 2016–2018. In 2016, Aboagora discussed “Urðr/Fate”, in 2017 it was “Verðandi/Becoming”, and Aboagora 2018 will complete the trilogy with the theme “Burden/Skuld”.

Skuld means “need”, “ought to be”, or “shall be” and refers to something that should occur or must happen in the future as a consequence of past events. Skuld was generally regarded as the youngest of the Norns and was associated with the future. In Old Norse mythology, the future was not understood as an independent era ahead of the present day, but rather as a necessity: an aspect of a cyclic process where the world to come, its inhabitants and its circumstances, were conditioned by what had been before. By bringing together past and present in pointing to the future, Skuld evokes the question of the “burden of the past” and its normative consequences for the future of humanity.

Aboagora 2018 will analyse and discuss different perspectives, utopian as well as dystopian, on the future and how the legacies of past generations lay claims on and model the possibilities of coming generations. Relevant topics include ecological and economic concerns for a sustainable future, questions of human development, policy making and normative ideological and religious frames of reference, as well as the power of science to create a better future. Aboagora will also raise the question: Is there really nothing new under sun? Can the future bring only what is entailed in the past or is it possible to change the course of history towards a desired future?


This year’s Aboagora invites Doctoral Candidates to a Pre-Symposium event, which combines training and an academic workshop. The aim is to explore connections between the arts, sciences, and academic thinking. The Pre-Symposium on 21st August comprises (I) a training session, where Prof. Pilvi Porkola (University of the Arts Helsinki) introduces methods of performance arts in research with practical exercises (at 9.00 – 12.30), (II) lunch (at 12.30 – 13.30), and (III) presentation training (by TBA), where the Doctoral Candidates present a pitch-talk on their presentation and will be provided feedback by the trainer and other participants (at 13.30 – 16.00). The Doctoral Candidates will present their work in an academic workshop during the Aboagora Symposium between 22nd – 24th August. The symposium programme will be announced on 26th March.


The workshop will be organized in three Thematic Working Groups:


(1) Climate Change and Ecological Sustainability

(2) Game-Changer Technologies and Inheritance

(3) Cultural Heritage


We welcome proposals for oral presentations (appr. 30 mins including discussion) from Doctoral Candidates in Finland and the Nordic countries. Please find above the list of the Thematic Working Groups and submit your abstract to by Sunday 29th March 2018. Author’s(/-s’) name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and Email address(es) should be included in the abstract proposals. The maximum length of an abstract is 400 words. Please entitle your Email as follows: ABOAGORA Abstract. Notification of acceptance will be given by Sunday 10th April 2018.

The Aboagora Pre-Symposium is organized by the Graduate School at the University of Turku in cooperation with the Aboagora organizing committee and Åbo Akademi University. The location of the Pre-Symposium will be announced later. Aboagora will be held at the Sibelius Museum, which is located in the city center of Turku,

Participation in the Pre-Symposium and presenting at Aboagora equals with 1 ECTS (with the University of Turku/Finnish standards), but the exact substitutability needs to be negotiated with the presenters home university/institution. One can also receive Lecture Pass marks from participating. There is no participation fee, and participants will also have free admission to the Aboagora Symposium. Aboagora does not provide funding for travel expenses, but coffee and lunch will be offered to all participants on 21st–24th August.


Professor Pilvi Porkola: On Artistic Research – Between Practice and Theory


What does artistic research mean? How does it look like?

Why is an artist interested in doing research? What kind of knowledge art produces?

In this lecture, I will talk about artistic research and combining practice and theory. I will also focus on performance studies, so performance as a concept to make observations and a method for a study. Moreover, I will talk about art; empty frames, miniature skeletons reading books, pink balloons and imagined spaces.

The lesson is divided in two parts; first there will be a lecture and a discussion. The second part will be held in Turku City Library, where we will try out the topic in practice.

BIO: Pilvi Porkola is an artist and writer. She is a Professor in Artistic Research at Uniarts, Helsinki. She is also a post doc researcher in Academy of Finland’s funded project “How To Do Things with Performance?”. She is interested about feminism, production of knowledge, libraries, art and life.


In case of any questions pertaining to the Call for Papers, Pre-Symposium and/or Workshop, please do not hesitate to contact Coordinator Marko Ahteensuu (