ABOAGORA Pre-symposium IV: Burning Questions 

16–17 August 2021

Archipelago Centre Korpoström, Turku archipelago, Finland

The ABOAGORA Pre-symposium invites Doctoral Candidates in the arts, humanities, and sciences and MA Art Students to gather around burning questions of the world on fire today. The Pre-symposium takes place on 1617 August at the Archipelago Centre Korpoström on Korpo island in the Turku archipelago. Aboagora – Between Arts and Sciences is an annual symposium that brings together academia, the arts, and society. This year’s main event, ABOAGORA 2021: “Fire” will be held on 18–20 August in Turku.

ABOAGORA Pre-symposium 2020 on the island of Seili. Photo: Jannica Grönroos

The Pre-symposium will be structured around talks, walks and workshops addressing the impacts of global warming on the Archipelago Sea Biosphere area, its marine ecosystem and cultural contexts. Through the prism offered by the site itself, a plurality of perspectives, and multisensory approaches, we will discuss a range of ecological and societal phenomena, such as heat waves, migrations, photosynthesis, metabolism, combustion, and composting.

The aim is to reflect together also on what fuels our journeys, research, and conversations. How to draw together diverse knowledges, skills and wisdoms needed to feed the flame of sustainable transformations? What kinds of narratives for alternative futures might arise out of the ashes of past fires? What might be the fires needed as sign posts and beacons for a safe route?

The Pre-symposium offers a momentary pause in habitual patterns and processes of practice. It implies also retreat from the conventions of boundary-making between disciplines and epistemologies, in order to nurture an ecology of practices attentive to the multispecies communities affected by the raging fires – literal and metaphorical – in the present. It is a great opportunity to share ideas with artists and researchers from different fields and backgrounds, perhaps even a prospect for new collaborations!

The 2021 call for applications has now closed and the participants have been selected. 


Pre-symposium participants presenting their work at ABOAGORA 2020: “Water”. Photo: Pekko Vasantola.

The Pre-symposium research retreat is directed by curator and researcher Taru Elfving (CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago) and organised in collaboration with the Archipelago Centre Korpoström. The programme includes presentations and workshops that offer scientific and artistic insights into the Archipelago Sea area, including Christian Pansch-Hattich (ÅA) on heat waves in the marine environment, Katja Bonnevier on the work of Biosphere Reserve with the local community, Heidi Arponen on the conservation of biodiversity hotspots in the National Park, and visits with artists based in the Archipelago. These will form a shared ground for discussions as well as embedded observations in the environment. The selected participants are also invited to contribute their own burning questions to the programme.

Participants will discuss their work in a joint panel session on August 19 at the ABOAGORA Symposium at the Sibelius Museum in Turku. The Symposium brings together viewpoints from social sciences, cultural studies, natural sciences, and the arts to explore fire as both a literal and a metaphorical element.

Health and safety are at the heart of everything we do! The Pre-symposium is a small event with at most 10 participants and organised in a peaceful environment. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and follow the guidelines laid by official authorities and health experts.


With any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

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You can read last year’s participants’ reflections on the 2020 Pre-symposium on the websites of CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago (Selina Oakes) and the research project PUTSPACE (Aleksandra Ianchenko)