Art wit­hin Us – Ac­tion, Ges­tu­res, Emo­tions and Ima­gi­na­tion


8.11.2018 — 9.11.2018

Location: Seminaarinmaki, Yliopiston päärakennus (C)
Research symposium at the University of Jyväskylä, 8–9 November 2018

Art is a part of life in many ways. Someone hums Beethoven when hanging laundry, while poetry verses spontaneously come into another’s mind on certain occasions. Art imagines in us; it provides company, comfort and joy, accompanies life and gives it rhythm, provides models and transforms our ways of being together. The presence of art in life is diverse and includes cultural phenomena from both within and outside the institutional art world. Significant art experiences have a long-lasting impact and we often want to share them with others. In the company of art, whether in words, images, tones, movement or some other form, we shape ourselves, explore the world and our relationships to values, ideas and other people.

To look at art in terms of activity and practice, surpassing the traditional distinction between production and reception, is a novel viewpoint, which however finds support in many fields of science, such as research on the human mind, philosophy, infant research, communication studies and anthropology. To look at art as action means to shift the focus from artworks to the aesthetic and often multimodal processes that occur with art. They include gestures, emotion and imagination, often in shared and intersubjective processes, where we attach to the world and interact with it. This indicates the continuity between art and life, and the open and permeable character of their border. The model opens interesting perspectives on the inseparable and reciprocal relationship of mind and body, on the intersubjective, hybrid or extended mind, as well as on how the arts can support wellbeing, development and learning or communication in multicultural contexts. Understanding these phenomena requires multi- and interdisciplinary cooperation between various scientific approaches.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Helena de Preester, School of Art, University College Ghent (human mind and embodiment, selfhood, technology, imagination and motion)

Tone Roald, Department of psychology, University of Copenhagen (aesthetic experience, consciousness, selfhood, developmental psychology, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology)

Karen Simecek, Department of Philosophy, Univerity of Warwick (philosophy of poetry, aesthetics, moral reasoning and the emotions)


Organizers: The Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, The Finnish Society for Research in Arts Education and The Hollo institute.

More information

Pauline von Bonsdorff


Department of music, art and culture research