What is ABOAGORA?
ABOAGORA is a symposium that brings together the arts, humanities and sciences. The event consists of public keynote lectures and dialogues, as well as various performative sessions that combine artistic and scholarly approaches. The AGORA (keynote) talks and some performative sessions are documented. The project started in 2011 during Turku’s year as the European Capital of Culture. After its inaugural year, ABOAGORA has been continued under new thematic strands as a permanent forum for reassessing and challenging the relations between arts and sciences.
The aim of ABOAGORA is to question and re-envision the juxtapositions between the arts and sciences, to establish new kinds of dialogical connections and to develop experimental models for academic and artistic expression. ABOAGORA promotes dialogue between the arts, humanities and sciences by bringing scholarly debates together with the arts and also by combining artistic expression with scholarly events.
The name ‘Aboagora’ refers to both Turku (in Latin Aboa) and agora, a meeting place or marketplace. The idea of ABOAGORA is to create an open forum for thinking and debate and to challenge and break boundaries between the arts and the scholarly world. The Symposium aims at encouraging new research, new art and new kinds of encounters between the two. ABOAGORA is a marketplace of open codes: it provides a common forum for academics, artists and the public. This forum is based on openness and open-minded crossing over of different levels.
In addition to the main event, the three-day symposium held in late August, ABOAGORA’s annual activities include an open one-day Avant Aboagora event and a Pre-symposium retreat for doctoral researchers and MA Art Students.
The gap between the arts and sciences is a product of history, not an inherent given. In the early modern period scientific and artistic activities were not quarantined from each other, but during the past two centuries, the separation between the two has been very sharp.
Today it is especially important to rethink the role of research also in terms of artistic expression and, at the same time, to consider cross-disciplinary approaches to artistic activities. Contemporary research often emphasises the need for current social challenges to involve cooperation between academic fields. The idea of ABOAGORA is based on a conviction that comprehensive problem-solving requires not only interdisciplinary elaboration but also acknowledgment of artistic approaches in more concrete and imaginative ways.
Significant innovations often arise in the interface of disciplines. New ideas emerge from unexpected encounters: for this reason scientific or artistic innovations cannot easily be predicted. The purpose of ABOAGORA is to encourage these kinds of encounters and to promote scholarly dialogue which takes into account also artistic forms of expression.
The Symposium is organized by the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, the Arts Academy of Turku University of Applied Sciences and The Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Culture, which is attached to the Åbo Akademi University Foundation.