Meet the AGORA-speakers of ABOAGORA: Water!

Let us introduce the AGORA-sessions and amazing keynote-speakers of this year’s ABOAGORA!


“Sharkmania: A Cultural History”

Wednesday, 19 August, 18:00 – 19:30

Janet M. Davis, Professor of American Studies and History (University of Texas at Austin), will explore the historical roots of the relationship between humans and sharks through “Sharkmania”, a longstanding transnational American barometer of social upheaval, fear, and sometimes, veneration.

Human/shark entanglements are tied to war, empire building, colonialism, pop culture, and sea pollution. These encounters were connected to the whaling industry and its demise; the rise of beach vacation economies in old whaling centers; and the ascendency of physical culture and new codes of bodily display framed intersectionally by class, gender, and race.  Human/shark interactions have been technologically mediated over time—from the Age of Sail to the Age of Internet Sharks.


“The Eternal Circulation of Water. A Visual Journey into the Arctic Waters, Myths and Facts”

Thursday, 20 August, 10:00 – 11:30

The Finnish film producer, director, and writer Marko Röhr will take the audience on a visual journey into the Arctic Waters. 

Marko Röhr has a wide experience on international co-productions, drama series, and documentaries. His films have won awards in festivals around the world, e.g. in the USA, France, Germany, Japan, China, Spain, and Scandinavia. In 1997 Röhr was elected as a voting member in the European Film Academy. Röhr has directed numerous award-winning underwater and nature films, e.g. “Underwater Iceland” (1997) and “Tale of a Lake” (2016), the latter being the best-selling documentary in the Finnish cinemas.



“Historical Waterscapes: adaptive Strategies between Technology and Art”

Friday, 21 August, 10:00-11:30

Professor Carola Hein (Delft University of Technology) accompanied by the architect, educator and researcher Negar Sanaan Bensi (TU Delft) and the urban designer, teacher and researcher Jens Jorritsma, will explore the idiosyncratic historical water systems and infrastructures.

How has water has served and sustained societies throughout human history? People have actively shaped its course, form, and function for human settlement and the development of civilizations. Around water, they have created socioeconomic structures, policies, and cultures; a rich world of narratives, laws, and practices; and an extensive tangible network of infrastructure, buildings, and urban form. It’s a story of health, wealth and beauty. It is the story of often common knowledge with wondrous infrastructures and architectural objects which are not only functional, but also beautiful to behold. They are cultural objects, which can inform us about our relationship to ‘nature’. Such research and artistic investigation can invite policy makers and designers to work together to recognize and build on the traditional knowledge and skills that old structures embody.


“Stormy Waters: Secrets Inherited and the Creation of a Family. David Grossman in conversation with translator Natalie Lantz on his new novel”

Friday, 21 August, 15:00 – 16:30

The internationally awarded Israeli author David Grossman will discuss his new novel “Med mig leker livet” with the Swedish translator and doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible Natalie Lantz (Uppsala University).

The novel explores the awful power of secrets and wounds passed from one generation to the next. The story revolves around three women, Vera, her daughter Nina and her granddaughter Gili. A bitter secret pits them against each other for decades, leading them finally to embark on an odyssey over stormy waters to Goli Otok, “The naked island” off the coast of Croatia. There, Vera had been imprisoned, enslaved and tortured for three years, having refused to betray her husband and denounce him as an enemy of the people.

David Grossman himself travelled to Croatia last year, and with him came ten translators. Now, the author is reunited with the Swedish translator Natalie Lantz, to discuss the novel and the translation journey.

Registration for ABOAGORA 2020: Water is now open!

The science and art event ABOAGORA adopting a new form in August!

ABOAGORA – Between Arts and Sciences is an annual symposium, bringing together various aspects of academia, the arts, and society. This year, ABOAGORA dives into the world of water! The Symposium will be held both at the Sibelius Museum as well as online on 19–21 August, 2020. Registration opens on 15 June.

This year, because of COVID-19, the tenth ABOAGORA Symposium at the Sibelius Museum on 19–21 August is going to adopt a new, hybrid form: parts of the programme at the museum will be conducted online.

 “The whole event will be live streamed and recorded so it is safe to follow the Symposium from your office, sofa, or even from the pier, surrounded by water,” describes Liisa Lalu, coordinator of ABOAGORA.

Between land and sea

ABOAGORA continues the five-year thematic plan “The Five Rings”, referring to The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin no Sho) written by Japanese philosopher Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, c. 1584–June 13, 1645). Musashi’s book about the art of swordmanship, kenjutsu, extends towards a philosophy of life. It is divided into five parts, each examining a different element of battle: Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, and the Void – elements also represented in various Eastern religions.

 “The aim of the conference series is to trigger new ideas about sciences, natural sciences, and the arts, through elemental thinking,” explains Kimi Kärki, member of the Aboagora team and Research Fellow at the International Institute for Popular Culture (IIPC).

Moving on from the concrete and heavy element of Earth, ABOAGORA 2020 wishes to examine the liquid element of Water. This year’s presentations will explore underwater ecosystems, human/shark entanglements, historical water systems and infrastructures as well as ancient sea sprites and mythologies – and much more.

Keynote speakers from around the globe, workshops and music

ABOAGORA consists of keynote lectures, workshops, and artistic interventions. The first keynote speaker of 2020 is Professor Janet M. Davis (University of Texas at Austin), who examines the relationship between humans and sharks under the title “Sharkmania: A Cultural History”The second keynote speaker, director and producer Marko Röhr, will take the the audience on a visual journey into the Arctic Waters. 

The final Symposium day will begin with Professor Carola Hein (Delft University of Technology) accompanied by the architect, educator, and researcher Negar Sanaan Bensi (TU Delf) and the urban designer, teacher, and researcher Jens Jorritsma, who will explore how water has served and sustained societies throughout human history. The Symposium culminates in a conversation between David Grossman, an internationally awarded Israeli author, and Natalie Lantz, a translator and doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible (Uppsala University), about Grossman’s new novel “Med mig leker livet” (אתי החיים משחק הרבה), “Life Plays with Me”.

During the workshops, the audience gets closer acquainted with the Aura river of Turku and the Baltic Sea as well as with the Island of Seili from an archaeobiological, historical, and artistic perspective. The audience will also be treated to water-inspired music and an abridged digital version of the piece “The Art of Swimming” by the playwright and dramaturg Lynda Radley, specially created for the Symposium. The piece narrates the life of Mercedes Gleitze, who was the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1927, at the age of only 26.

There will be no registration fee this year, but advance registration is mandatory. Please register at:

Registration runs until Friday, 14 August!

The programme for ABOAGORA Symposium can be found at

Aboagora is a joint effort by the Department of Cultural History at the University of Turku, Donner institute (Åbo Akademi Foundation), Åbo Akademi University and Arts Academy of Turku University of Applied Sciences. In 2020, ABOAGORA is supported by Kone Foundation and The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.

Additional information: Project coordinator Liisa Lalu, / 050 570 4017

Registration for ABOAGORA 2020: Water will open in June!

Exciting news! ABOAGORA 2020: Water will take place on August 19–21, 2020, at the Sibelius Museum in Turku. The preliminary program will be published in the first weeks of June, and registration will open on Monday, June 15.  

The whole event will be live-streamed and recorded, so it will be safe to follow Aboagora from your office, living room, or even from the pier of your summer cottage! At the moment, we hope that we will be able to have some live audience at the Sibelius Museum as well. We are monitoring the situation closely and working out the best ways for Aboagora to take place safely.  

There will be no registration fee this year, but advance registration will be mandatory so we can keep the audience informed about everything that is going on with Aboagora in these uncertain times. We want to secure the health and safety of our audience and our staff, and will adhere to the orders and guidelines of the Government and the health authorities regarding physical distance and other relevant matters. 

More information will follow soon. Stay tuned!

Coronavirus update: ABOAGORA 2020: Water

COVID-19 crisis and the exceptional circumstances caused by it are felt globally. However, the preparations for ABOAGORA 2020 are proceeding with hopeful wishes that the Symposium could be held this summer for the 10th time between August 19th and 21st. We are considering and discussing different options concerning the event. Health and safety are at the very heart of everything we do.

We think it is important to have something inspiring and exciting in the future, and it can also provide support in this difficult situation. So, we continue to work hard on the preparations of ABOAGORA 2020: Water. Hopefully, we will see you all in August in the Sibelius Museum!

Aboagora is sending best wishes and calming thoughts to everyone! Let’s take care of each other!

CFP: ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium for Doctoral researchers and Art students 17–18 August 2020, Turku, Finland

ABOAGORA – Between Arts and Sciences invites doctoral candidates and art students from Finland and other Nordic countries to investigate the shifting borders of water and land in the Pre-Symposium event in Turku Archipelago. The theme of ABOAGORA in 2020 is Water, while the Pre-Symposium focuses on the significance of place in research and artistic practices. What are the different senses of place in the work of a researcher or an artist? What do we bring with us, take away and leave behind? How are our practices making their mark on the environment, and how does the environment affect our practices?

In 2020, ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium is a research retreat directed by curator and researcher Taru Elfving (CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago), organized in collaboration with the Archipelago Research Institute of Turku on the island of Seili, a 2-hour boat ride from Turku in the Archipelago Sea. 

Read more about the Pre-Symposium and how to apply:

Pre-Symposium participants in ABOAGORA 2019: Earth.

Save the date: Aboagora: Water on 19-21 August 2020!

Save the date: On 19–21 August 2020 Aboagora will dive into the element of Water! 

In 2020, Aboagora continues the thematic plan “The Five Rings” and moves from the heavy and concrete Earth to the more liquid and flowing element, water. Water is the beginning of life according to numerous mythological and religious cosmologies. God “made from water every living thing,” as this nomadic conception is formulated in the Qur’an. This is a point where scientific theories of evolution and religious narratives agree: water is the primordial element. Up to 60 % of the adult human body is water, which makes it a vital aspect of medical and physiological research. However, water is rapidly becoming one of the most contested natural resources of our time. Will the basic human need for water cause wars and conflicts in the future, or will it serve as a uniting element that opens our eyes to our common humanity and the need to work together across borders of states, creeds, and ideologies to secure clean water supplies for all in the future? Will water, in the end, prove to be thicker than blood?

In 2020, Aboagora cooperates closely with the multidisciplinary Strategic Research Area Havet/Meri (The Sea), which is carried out as a collaborative effort between the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. This opens up aspects to water relating not only to ecology and maritime biology but also to the sea as a lived environment and a site of governance, commerce, international relations, philosophy and ethics.

Aboagora söker en praktikant för kommunikation och evenemangsproduktion! Aboagora etsii tuotanto- ja viestintäharjoittelijaa!

(Suomeksi alla)

Aboagora är ett internationellt, mångvetenskapligt och mångkonstnärligt symposium som skapar nya slags samarbetsmöjligheter mellan forskare och konstnärer. Evenemanget ordnas årligen under tre dagar i slutet av augusti i Åbo. Första Aboagora ordnades år 2011 då Åbo var kulturhuvudstad. Arrangörer är ämnet kulturhistoria vid Åbo universitet, Åbo Akademi, Donnerska institutet vid Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi, och Konstakademin vid Åbo yrkeshögskola. Därtill samarbetar Aboagora med flera konstnärliga aktörer intresserade av utforskande arbetssätt, såsom den mångkonstnärliga gruppen Tredje rummet och ArtTeatro. Varje år medverkar både finländska och utländska högt profilerade forskare, konstnärer och samhällspåverkare, bland dem filosofen Gianni Vattimo, filmregissören Peter Greenaway, journalisten Umayya Abu-Hanna, samt psykiatern, politikern och musikern Claes Andersson och senast film- och teaterregissören, manusförfattaren Pauliina Feodoroff.

År 2020 fortsätter Aboagora på den femåriga tematiska helheten The Five Rings (Jord, Vatten, Eld, Vind och Tomhet). Temat för årets Aboagora den 19–21.8.2020 är Vatten – Vesi – Water, då vi dyker ner i vattnet både symboliskt och konkret. Vatten utgör livets början i många sagor och trosföreställningar, men även inom vetenskapen har man konstaterat att vattnet är ett grundläggande villkor för allt liv man känner till. I Aboagora reflekterar vi över hav och sjöar, livet under vatten, och gränsen mellan land och jord med perspektiv ur marinbiologi, performanskonst, miljöhistoria, litteratur och arkeologi. Läs mer om Aboagora här:

Aboagora söker en praktikant som hjälper till med kommunikation och evenemangsproduktion fr.o.m. juni för 2 till 3 månader. I valet av praktikant betonas språkkunskaper (finska, svenska, engelska), erfarenhet av kommunikation i sociala medier, samt intresse för dialog och samverkan mellan vetenskaper och konst.

Praktikantens arbetsuppgifter kan anpassas enligt praktikantens önskemål och kunnande. Till praktikantens huvudsakliga uppgifter hör att hjälpa till med Aboagoras kommunikation, särskilt i sociala medier (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram och Youtube) samt kring evenemangsproduktion. 

Praktikantens lön är 1300 € i månaden. 

Om du blev intresserad av praktik för Aboagora, fyll i ansökan och skicka din meritförteckning (en sida) och ett fritt formulerat motivationsbrev (en sida) där du berättar om ditt kunnande och varför du är intresserad av Aboagora. Ansökan skickas in senast 27.2. via Åbo universitets eRekry-ansökningssystem: Valet av praktikant meddelas innan slutet av april.

För mer information kan du vända dig till Aboagoras projektkoordinator Liisa Lalu, /+358 50 570 4017

Aboagora on vuosittain elokuun lopussa Turussa järjestettävä kansainvälinen, monitieteinen ja -taiteinen kolmipäiväinen symposium, joka luo uudenlaisia yhteistyömahdollisuuksia tieteen- taiteentekijöiden välille. Aboagora käynnistettiin Turun kulttuuripää-kaupunkivuonna 2011, ja sen ytimen muodostavat Turun yliopiston kulttuurihistorian oppiaine, Åbo Akademi ja Åbo Akademin säätiön yhteydessä toimiva uskontotieteellinen Donner-instituutti sekä Turun Taideakatemia. Lisäksi Aboagora tekee yhteistyötä useiden tutkimuksellisista lähestymistavoista kiinnostuneiden taiteen toimijoiden, kuten monitaiteisen Kolmas Tila -ryhmän sekä ArtTeatron kanssa. Symposiumissa on vuosittain esiintynyt korkean profiilin tutkijoita, taiteilijoita ja yhteiskunnallisia vaikuttajia sekä Suomesta että ulkomailta, kuten filosofi Gianni Vattimo, elokuvaohjaaja Peter Greenaway, journalisti Umayya Abu-Hanna, psykiatri, poliitikko ja muusikko Claes Andersson sekä viimeisimpänä elokuva- ja teatteriohjaaja, käsikirjoittaja Pauliina Feodoroff. 

Vuonna 2020 Aboagora jatkaa viisivuotista The Five Rings -teemakokonaisuutta (Maa, Vesi, Tuli, Tuuli ja Tyhjyys) ja elokuussa 2020 Aboagoran teemana on Vesi – Water – Vatten. 19.–21.8.2020 Aboagorassa uppoudutaankin veteen sekä kuvainnollisesti että konkreettisesti. Vesi on elämän alku lukuisissa taruissa ja uskomuksissa, mutta myös tiede on todennut veden olevan kaiken tunnetun elämän perusehto. Aboagorassa merta ja järviä, vedenalaista maailmaa sekä maan ja veden rajaa pohditaan muun muassa meribiologian, performanssitaiteen, ympäristöhistorian, kirjallisuuden ja arkeologian keinoin. Lisätietoa löytää Aboagoran kotisivuilta  

Aboagora etsii harjoittelijaa kesäkuusta alkaen 2-3 kuukaudeksi avustamaan viestinnässä sekä tuotannollisissa tehtävissä. Harjoittelijaa valitessa painotetaan kielitaitoa (suomi, ruotsi, englanti), kokemusta sosiaalisen median viestinnästä sekä kiinnostusta tieteiden ja taiteiden väliseen dialogiin ja yhteistyöhön. 

Harjoittelijan tehtäväkuvaa voidaan osittain sovittaa harjoittelijan toiveiden ja osaamiseen mukaan. Harjoittelija pääasiallisiin tehtäviin kuuluu Aboagoran viestinnässä avustaminen erityisesti sosiaalisessa mediassa (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ja Youtube) sekä erilaisia tuotannollisia tehtäviä.

Harjoittelijan palkka on 1300 euroa kuukaudessa. 

Jos kiinnostuit harjoittelusta Aboagorassa, täytä hakemus ja lähetä ansioluettelosi (1 sivu) sekä vapaamuotoinen motivaatiokirje (1 sivu), jossa kerrot osaamisestasi sekä miksi ja mistä erityisesti olet kiinnostunut Aboagorasta. Hakemukset tulee lähettää 27.2. mennessä Turun yliopiston eRekry järjestelmässä. Ks. harjoittelijan valinnasta huhtikuun loppuun mennessä. 

Lisätietoja tehtävästä antaa Aboagoran projektikoordinaattori Liisa Lalu, /+358 50 570 4017

Aboagora 2019 is here!

It is Aboagora-time again and this time Aboagora will be streamed live!

This year Arts Academy at Turku University of Applied Sciences is offering a chance to follow Aboagora’s program even if you are not able to make it to Sibelius Museum, Turku. Most of the AGORA-lectures and workshops (excluding Third Space: The Romantic Mind, the performance-lecture of mirko nikolić and the concert of E-musikgruppe Lux Ohr) are streamed on Aboagora’s YouTube-channel.

Please note that Aboagora is photographed and filmed. If you don’t want to be filmed or photographed, please consult the staff.

Also please note that there is a construction work going on in front of the Sibelius Museum. Be aware that there is limited parking space for cars in the streets.



Aboagora’s registration deadline has been extended to Thursday, August 15, 2019!

Registration fee (40 €, students 25 €) covers all presentations, performances and workshops.

All Agora Keynote Lectures are free. Also Thursday night concert (Fern Orchestra: Vox Herbārium – Plant Series) is free of charge and open to public.

The registration can be done here!

Read more on this year’s intriguing AGORA-lectures and fascinating workshops and performances! The full program can be found here: Aboagora_programme

Registration for Aboagora 2019 is open!


The Five Rings: Earth

August 21-23, 2019

Sibelius Museum, Turku, Finland

Registration Deadline on  August 9!

We are excited to announce that registration for Aboagora 2019: “Earth” is now open and the preliminary programme available at !

Registered participants will have admission to all keynote lectures and workshops, and will be offered coffee/tea with small snacks during breaks and the Closing Reception on Friday, August 23.

Registration fee is 40€ (25€ for students and doctoral candidates).

The keynote lectures (“AGORA”) are free of charge and open to the public, as well as the concert of Fern Orchestra on Thursday evening, August 22.