Pre-Symposium II, 2019

ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium II: Earth

19–20 August 2019 

Turku, Finland 

Pre-symposium participants presenting their work at the ABOAGORA 2019 main event “Earth”. Photo: Pekko Vasantola.

The Earth – Planet Tellus, on which we live – is the centre of human life. For the Ancient Greeks, Gaia represented a personification of the Earth, the caring Mother who ended the primordial Chaos. Similar depictions of the Earth as a caring parent are found in numerous mythologies from around the world. Today our relationship to earth has renewed its relevance and urgence as exploitation, indifference and greed over past centuries have driven Gaia to the brink of collapse.

The element of Earth and human-earth interaction are dealt with in numerous scientific disciplines, e.g. biology, archaeology and geology and engaging fields such as eco-theology, environmental history, literature, geography and political sciences to illuminate the fundamental groundedness of humanity in soil and dust. Minerals, clay and soil are used as raw materials for artists in different fields, but the earth can also work as inspiration and a metaphor within the arts, a concrete evolutionary process – and as something that demands our care and indebtedness.

ABOAGORA invited doctoral candidates and art students to discuss and develop ideas about the earth – its past, present and future. What kinds of views are there in the history of the earth and between earth and humans? What are our hopes and dreams for the future of the earth – or our worst fears? How the Anthropocene – in which we live – has come to this and where is it going? How is climate change affecting the earth and us humans and animals? And how do humans, especially youth, deal with climate anxiety – the incapacity and unwillingness of older generations to make changes or the sorrow of lost species, nature and way of living?


The Pre-Symposium event combined presentation training, a lecture and discussion on ethics for artists and scientists, and a visualization workshop. The aim was to explore connections between the arts, sciences, and academic thinking, and to learn engaging ways to present scientific and artistic work and knowledge. 

The ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium comprised:

– “Ethics for Artists and Scientists,” a lecture by Postdoctoral Researcher, PhD Hemmo Laiho (Philosophy, Turku Institute for Advanced Studies). Participants learned and examined ways in which ethical issues arise in science and art and how scientific and artistic work might differ and coincide in this respect.

– Presentation training by Rasmus Basilier (Boost Turku), where participants pitched their research or art project. Each participant crafted and delivered a pitch (a brief, persuasive talk) and received feedback from the trainer and other participants.

– A full day workshop on Visualizing Knowledge, by principal lecturer, PhD Pirita Juppi (Arts Academy, Turku University of Applied Sciences). Participants learned how to visualize their research or artistic work, data and research results. The primary focus of the workshop was on presenting information with infographics, but participants also learned about using videos to illustrate, explain and demonstrate scientific knowledge.

– Time and space for participants to share ideas, thoughts, problems and solutions.

Participants presented their work in the ABOAGORA: Earth Symposium on August 22.

The ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium 2019 was a joint effort of ABOAGORA organizing committee, Arts Academy of Turku University of Applied Sciences, University of Turku Graduate School (UTUGS), Åbo Akademi University and Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS).

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