Workshops and Performances


“Hearing Finnishness in Hymns”

How do Lutheran hymns construct Finnishness? What do Finnish people find valuable in hymns? In what sometimes surprising ways are hymns and Finnishness intertwined? This workshop undertakes to address these questions through a dialogue between music and research. Taking the listeners on a journey through the centuries, the presenters examine the relationship between hymns and folk poetry in early modern Finland, the linkage of Finnish cultural heritage and hymns as illustrated through the study of a single Lutheran hymn, and the significance of hymns in present-day Finland. The workshop welcomes the audience to reflect on the possible roles of hymns in the constitution of Finnish identity. This can be done by writing down memories or reflections related to hymns on the Finnish Literature Society’s online service Muistikko prior to the Aboagora symposium. Muistikko can be found at Please use the key terms ‘virsi’, ‘psalm’, or ‘hymn’ when adding your story to Muistikko.

Presenters: Irmeli Helin, Professor Emerita, German Language and Translation Studies, University of Turku; Kati Kallio, Postdoctoral Researcher, The Finnish Literature Society; Veli-Matti Salminen, Researcher, The Church Research Institute

Musicians: Timo Alakotila & Senni Valtonen

Chair: Minna Opas, Collegium Research Fellow, Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS), Comparative Religion, University of Turku


“Liminal Stages: Artistic Research and Art With(in) Research”

What happens in the liminal state between art and science, and what is the position of artistic research in the discourse of art/science collaborations? What kinds of becomings are actualised in these interactions? The panel addresses these questions from the points of view of mathematics, performance art, and artistic research.

Presenters: Leena Kela, Performance Artist, Co-artistic Director, New Performance Turku Festival; PhD Candidate, Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki; Markus Rissanen, PhD Candidate, Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki; Vadim Kulikov, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Helsinki; Annette Arlander, Artist; Postdoctoral Fellow, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies


“Suomi100 – A Story of Finland in Music”

As independent Finland celebrates its centenary this year, we are being presented a musical celebration on Finnish and Nordic themes. This insightful piano recital consists of music by Sibelius, Palmgren, Grieg, Prokofiev and Englund.

The idea of Finland is first illustrated with improvisatory kantele music, reflecting on the mythical and prehistoric experience of the Northern individual. What follows are impressions on national folk songs and dances. We will also experience the course of the seasons corresponding to the changes of Nordic nature and life.

In the dramatic and determinative years of the Second World War, we will hear reflections from both the Finnish and Russian sides of the front line. A new kind of humanism can be heard again in the works by Englund, which will lead us to the present day. Looking both backwards and forwards, we are left in search of a balance and harmony between our roots and the global world.

Pianist: Henrik Järvi



“Nanoq – Imag(in)ing Climate Change”

The signs and impact of climate change are already here. They are visualized for us, for instance, as pictures of declining sea ice, melting glaciers, and drowning polar bears, and science informs us of further drastic changes in the future. Although some opportunities may also open up, climate change mostly presents threats to people and nature. The Arctic is warming up two to three times faster than the global average.

In accordance with the theme of this year’s Aboagora, “Verðandi/Becoming”, this workshop discusses climate change through concepts such as hope, apocalypse, spirituality, environmental concern, and the Anthropocene. Moreover, the chances of knowing about the unknown future – possible worlds that are yet to come – and the role of art in making the unknown more knowable are explored.

This workshop is named after Ilona Mettiäinen’s travelling photo exhibition (2016–2017), which is displayed in Arken (Tehtaankatu 2) throughout the symposium, from 23 to 25 August.

Presenters: Laura Hollsten, University Teacher, General History, Åbo Akademi University; Pauliina Kainulainen, Independent Researcher, Theology; Ilona Mettiäinen, Photographer; PhD Candidate, Sociology, University of Lapland


“What Became of Them?”

People move, settle and become something new. Moving to a new place creates disruptions in people’s lives and generates novel ideas, hybrids based on the old, the new and the becoming. The initial strangers are the makers of tomorrow. Art often captures the newness of every day, and thereby shows life in transformation. Art also documents the changes and comments on them. This workshop focuses on migrant and refugee lives through art.

Presenters: Marco Martiniello, Director, Centre d’Etudes de l’Ethnicité et des Migrations (CEDEM), University of Liège, Belgium & Research Director, Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS), Belgium; Minna Rainio, Visual Artist; Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Lapland; Ahmed Zaidan, Poet; Journalist

Chair: Pasi Saukkonen, Senior Researcher, City of Helsinki Urban Facts


“Evangeliet enligt LASARUS”

Lazarus of the New Testament was presumably the world’s first documented zombie and Jesus’ greatest publicity stunt. The performance picks up the story where Jesus left it: what happened to Lazarus after he was resurrected? What kind of life is the life after death, and was there ever a life before death?

Evangeliet enligt LASARUS is a performance project where art encounters science to deal with myths and facts of resurrection. It invites us all to look Death in the eye – to look in the mirror.

Death is more than a biological event. People fear it, adore it, grieve it and attempt to overcome it. No one seems to understand what death is about. Grus Grus Theatre combines drama, puppetry and dance with a scientific base in this new piece, to be premiered at Åbo Svenska Teater on 8th September 2017.

Grus Grus Theatre is a bilingual and multidisciplinary professional theatre based in Turku. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the group.


FRIDAY 25.8.

“NGOLGBTIQ – Activism and History”

How have various associations and other forms of advocacy work affected the progress and development of the rights and identities of sexual and gender minorities? What roles have different organisations and civic activism played in bringing forth questions related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression? This panel discusses the history of the LGBTIQ movement in Finland and the relation between social justice movements and societal progress in, for example, legislation and medicine.

Presenters: Panda Eriksson, President of the Board, Trasek; Sandra Hagman, Historian, Social Scientist; Viima Lampinen, Chair of the Board, Seta; Jan Wickman, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, The Swedish School of Social Science at Helsinki University


“The Legend of the Small Bone – Part Three”

The Legend of the Small Bone – Part Three was created in the workshop organised by Kolmas Tila – Third Space in August 2017. It is an independent part in an ensemble of works which will be carried out in stages in the course of two years. The final stage performance will be completed in February 2018. The starting point and working methods of the piece are research-based.

The work consists of several independent parts, brought to life by a dramaturge, two directors and a sound designer together with the performers, who include both actors and dancers. Part One was created for Aboagora last year and Part Two for the Turku Cathedral in October 2016.

What is the small bone?

Jewish and Arabic cultures share an old belief or legend about a small bone that is located in the spinal column and that hides the self of a person as if it were a code or a riddle. This small bone is corporeal, part of our skeletal system – yet indestructible. According to legend, the bone can be used to resurrect a person as they once were, as they once lived. In Hebrew, the bone is called luz, in Arabic ajbu adh-dhanab.

What thing in me would retain my inner humane spark in conditions that seek to destroy me?

Luz is a person’s experience of their perceived uniqueness, their most essential self, their realisation of themselves as a human being. It is an individual Big Bang.

The mythical concept can be compared to knowledge provided by evolutionary genetics and palaeontology: a single piece of bone may preserve unblemished the DNA of a person long deceased.

The political philosophy of Giorgio Agamben has lent a starting point and a conceptual basis for the performance and the work of the group.

The piece is based on the story about humans and the human race as narrated by another species, birds. The birds document events as they fly through time and the history of humans. They stop at various locations at various times, both in the past and in the present, and recount the stories of individual people. Part 3, presented at Aboagora in August, will be concerned with archaeology, islands and sleep.

Kolmas Tila – Third Space is a multi-arts group that has operated in Turku since 2009. To date, it has produced five stage performances, all of which have been premiere performances. Research-orientedness and the dialogue between art and science are the starting points of our working method. The audience becomes a part of the dialogical event: the preparation of each performance involves a series of public events and discussions on topical themes.