International Cooperation in Art and Design

The Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Lapland has created the Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD) Thematic Network that operates within the University of the Arctic (UArctic). The network consists of 26 circumpolar universities and art education institutes in eight Arctic countries and countries in northern Europe. Its main aim is to develop working methods to improve environmental and cultural sustainable development, psychosocial and economic wellbeing through art and design-based research and activities. The blending of indigenous cultures and other lifestyles of the people in the Arctic is typical to the whole circumpolar area. This multinational and multicultural composition creates elusive socio-cultural challenges that are sometimes politicised in the neo-colonial settings of the North and the Arctic. Finding solutions to these challenges requires regional expertise, co-research, communality and international cooperation.

Arctic design has been recognized as an approach that supports innovation and development. Lapland´s Regional Program (in progress for years 2014-2017) recognizes the potential of service design in creating new ways and methods for producing and providing services and products. The Finnish Design policy (2013) recognizes Rovaniemi as an innovation hub for Arctic design and service design. The Finnish Arctic strategy (2013) identifies Arctic design as an important solution to enhance innovation development and three centres of excellence with Arctic design as an area of expertise. EU (2012) has identified design as an innovative approach for growth and prosperity.

The Faculty of Art and Design is active in several international associations and organisations, such as UArctic, CUMULUS, InSEA and Icograda. In addition, the faculty is an active partner in cooperation networks for mobility: in Nordic-Baltic countries through CIRRUS (art and design), EDDA (art education), NordFo (arts & crafts) and DAMA (media and dance); in Russian cooperation through FIRST-ARTSMO; and in Southern Africa through North-South-South program’s User-Centred Design for Innovative Services and Applications UFISA network. Cooperation in Europe is carried out through the Erasmus+ program together with more than 40 partner universities. All the networks and partner agreements support cooperation in international education through various forms (usually joint workshops, intensive programs, or international student and teacher exchange). The University of Lapland has also numerous bilateral agreements through all continents. The mobility in the circumpolar area is organised through the north2north program.