ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium 2020

ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium 2020

CFP: ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium for Doctoral Candidates and Art students 

17–18 August 2020, Turku, Finland

With this call, ABOAGORA – Between Arts and Sciences invites you 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?

Water carries with it ongoing natural and cultural histories of journeys, discoveries and invasions. Yet it also holds promise in a world that was never fixed in the first place. The lands on the coasts of Finland are rising, gradually, as they have done since the release of the weight of ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. Half a centimetre a year in the Archipelago Sea, half a metre in a century. Will the seas rise as fast due to the melting glaciers in the future and eventually catch up with the shifting shorelines here?

The Baltic Sea can be seen as an indicator of things to come, a transitional zone where both planetary and local environmental transformations have a rapid observable impact. The Archipelago Research Institute of Turku University, on the island of Seili in the Archipelago Sea, has for decades been gathering data on the changing salinity levels, among other factors. This is the place to slow down and ponder upon these questions, empirically and imaginatively, even in the face of a global emergency.

The Aboagora Pre-Symposium 2020

ABOAGORA – Between Arts and Sciences -symposium invites Doctoral Candidates and Art students to a research retreat directed by curator, researcher and writer 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. 

The Pre-Symposium offers a momentary pause in habitual patterns and processes of practice. This can open up other modes of engagement and sensibilities critically situated in relation to the specific ecosystem and history of the Turku Archipelago. Furthermore, it implies retreat from the conventions of boundary-making between disciplines and epistemologies, in order to nurture an ecology of practices. It is an exceptional opportunity to slow down to discuss and share ideas with artists and researchers from different fields and backgrounds, perhaps even a prospect for new ideas and collaborations. 

The Pre-Symposium retreat in the Turku Archipelago includes and covers transport to the island of Seili and lodging in shared rooms on August 17–18. Participants will also be able to participate and present their work at the ABOAGORA Symposium 19th–21st of August in the Sibelius Museum, Turku. The symposium program will be announced in May. Coffee, snacks and lunches during the Pre-Symposium and ABOAGORA will be provided. ABOAGORA will be able to support the accommodation costs in Turku during the main event as well – if you wish to receive financial support for accommodation please mention this in your application. 

We welcome applications from Doctoral Candidates and Art Students from Finland and other Nordic Countries. Apply by submitting your short CV (max 1 page) and a motivation letter (max 1 page) to aboagora@utu.fi by Thursday, 30 April. The motivation letter is a page long freeform document, which explains how the theme of Water is related to your work and what you hope and expect from the Pre-symposium. Please entitle your email as follows: ABOAGORA Pre-Symposium. Notification of acceptance will be given by the end of May. 

ABOAGORA is a joint effort of the ABOAGORA organizing committee, University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi and Arts Academy of Turku University of Applied Sciences. Pre-Symposium is organized with the collaboration of the multidisciplinary Strategic Research Area Havet/Meri (The Sea) of University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, the Archipelago Research Institute and Contemporary Art Archipelago (CAA). 


ABOAGORA is a symposium bringing together academia, the arts and society. This exciting annual event consists of interdisciplinary discussions, workshops, and diverse artistic interventions. Since its inaugural year 2011, this annual symposium has offered a forum for researchers, artists, and the public to establish new dialogues and new forms of collaboration. In 2020, ABOAGORA is continuing the five-year thematic plan for 2019–2023 under the title The Five rings (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Void). 

For more information, see www.aboagora.fi

In case of any questions pertaining to the Call, Pre-Symposium or ABOAGORA, please do not hesitate to contact aboagora(at)utu.fi

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