Thematic Network on Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD)

Visit the Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD) website ( and ASAD Facebook group.


The network aims to identify and share contemporary and innovative practices in teaching, learning, research and knowledge exchange in the fields of arts, design and visual culture education. The Thematic Network (TN) Arctic Sustainable Arts & Design (ASAD) seeks to:

  • Promote cooperation and collaboration between universities, institutions and communities focused on Northern, Arctic issues in the field of arts, design and visual culture.
  • Improve arts, design and visual culture education amongst the members of the University of the Arctic (UArctic).
  • Identify and share contemporary and innovative practices in teaching, learning, research and knowledge exchange in the fields of arts, design and visual culture education.

The TN consists of three Special Interest Groups (SIG):

  • Arctic Arts and Visual Culture Education (AAVCE)
  • Arctic Sustainable Design (Design)
  • Indigenous Art and Craft

The member institutions may participate in the network activities through one or both SIGs depending on their own interests.

Leader professor

SIG leaders:


To support the realization of the annual goals, ASAD will:

  • Host a biannual symposium on arts, design and visual culture education in the Arctic;
  • Support joint presentations at national and international seminars and congresses
  • Initiate collaborative workshops and seminars for  students, teachers and researchers across the Arctic
  • Promote educational collaboration in the fields of arts, design, visual culture and craft education, for example through joint educational programmes
  • Instigate exhibitions, events and publications
  • Initiate and oversee joint research projects
  • Support the development of context-sensitive research methods and arts & design practices in the Arctic
  • The ASAD Thematic Network will release a number of publications and exhibitions. See this page for the full list of previous and new ones.

Current Activities

  • Call for chapters for Relate North: Possible Future book is open until February  20th  2023 2023.
  • Arctic Design Week (January 20th – 24th 2023) ASAD  TN’s panel will be held on 24th January
  • Living in Landscape  Exhibition will be held in Gallery Kellokas, Finland, April 2023.
  • Relate North, Symposium and Exhibition 2023 will be held in Umeå, Sweden,  November 13th – 17th  in collaboration with Umeå University and Lapland University.
  • EALA engagement, alliance and learning for arts in Scottish and Arctic contexts and commons started in September 2022. In collaboration with University West of Scotland and University of Lapland.  Funded by Scottish Government Arctic Connection Fund 2022-23.
  • Sheiling-bough: exploring the intangible cultural heritage of food in the north through inter-cultural storytelling started in September 2022. In collaboration with The Glasgow School of Art  and University of Lapland. Funded by Scottish Government Arctic Connection Fund 2022-23.
  • New Genre Art Education in the Arctic (AEA) project started in November 2022. In collaboration with Ilisimatusarfik, Greenland University, University of Lapland, Umeå University and Nord University.  Funded by UArctic project grants 2022.
  • Relate North: Possible Futures project started in September 2022. In collaboration with Yukon School of Visual Arts/ Yukon University and University of Lapland and ASAD  Scandinavian partners.  Funded by  UArctic Project Call for Indigenous and Northern Collaborative Research and Education Engagement
  • Living in the Landscape Summer School 2023-2025: Hybrid Development Project for three years started in October 2022 in collaboration with  ASAD Scandinavian partners and regional heritage museums. Funded by Nordplus Horizontal 2022.
  • Living in the Landscape Summer School 2023-2025: Hybrid Development Project for e-learning started in October 2022 in collaboration with  ASAD  partners form Scandinavia, Scotland and North-America. Funded by UArctic Norway.
  • OpenDigiTaito -project (teachers’ digital skills) continues (funded by Ministry of Education, Finland) Coordinated by Oulu University. The University of Lapland is responsible for the cooperation of the ASAD network, where the development target is  hybrid pedagogy in art education.
  • Shifting Ground: Mapping Energy, Geographies and Communities in the North a research creation  project continues with  activities in Canada, Alaska and Finland. (funded by SSHRC). Coordinated by  Emily Carr University of Art+Design.
  • Acting on the Margins – Arts as a Social Sculpture (AMASS) research project continues (funded by H2020). Coordinated by UoL.

Past Activities

  • Relate North: Possible Futures Symposium was held online in  collaboration with Yukon University and University of Lapland,  January  27th -28th ,  2023
  • Relate North: Possible Futures Exhibition opened online. January  27th  
  • ASAD TN’s annual book Relate North # 9   edited by Glen Coutts and Timo Jokela  was published in December 2022
  • Living in the Landscape summer school 2022. Exhibitions and catalogue Dwellers in the Landscape published 28th of November 202
  • Series of short films from Alaska Fairbanks “Stories of Climate Justice “  and outdoor video installation from University of Lapland “ Minun paikkani – Mu Baiki– My Place”,    was show in  AURORA  future event  in Levi, Finland, November 2022.
  • Art Exhibition Changes in the Northern shores. Collaboration with the Nordic group of artist Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi, Opening in December 2022.
  • Timo Jokela, Talk in  Arctic Academy, Korea. Snow and Ice Art, Design and Architecture.   2nd  September 2022
  • Collaboration with Canada Council for the Arts in realization of the Third Arctic Arts Summit in Whitehorse Yukon, Canada 27 to 29, 2022.  Two panels  were arranged by UArctic networks.  Panel 14: Circumpolar Research & Creation projects– artworks grounded in research and historical practices, chair Timo Jokela and Panel 22: Directions of Arts Education, chair Mirja Hiltunen
  • Glen Coutts, Keynote Presentation. Matters of Art Education & Art Education that Matters (citing ASAD aa an example of good practice in international collaboration in the North) to the 2nd International Symposium on Research in Art Education; Taipei, 9 December 2022. Session chair: Li-Yan Wang.
  • Relate North, Project Spotlight: A research network of 26 universities uses art and design to imagine Arctic futures. 2th May 2022.
  • Living in the Landscape (LiLa)Summer School 2022 for MA and Doctor students  was realized  in spring  / summer 2022.
  • Relate North planning meeting was held as a side-event of Arctic Arts Summit 2022 in Whitehorse, Canada in collaboration with Yukon University.
  • Active Witnesses: The voices and faces of participants in socially engaged arts projects AMASS Exhibition. 17.2. – 13.3.2022. Arktikum, Rovaniemi.
  • UArctic Photo Competition "Arctic Polarities" was  arranged and the winners  awarded  27th March, 2022.
  • ASAD leader Professor Timo Jokela from the University of Laplandwas appointed as the UArctic Chair in Arctic Art, Design and Culture for the next five years.
  • Timo Jokela. Talk in Kassel documenta and Museum Fridericianum.  North and the Arctic as a laboratory for sustainable art education:  revitalizing  Indigenous and  Northern knowledge systems, In  Series on Arts - Cultures - Policies - Educational Practices. Concepts and approaches worldwide',    27th  January, 2022
  • Arctic Design Week: Inspiring Awareness was held in Rovaniemi 14th – 27th March, 2022.


  • UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD) has published a book "Relate North: Distances" , edited by Timo Jokela and Glen Coutts. December 2021.
  • Exhibition Living in the Landscape was held as part of Rovaniemi Arctic Spirit 2021: A common Arctic or contested spaces? Perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of the Barents and Arctic cooperation. -17.11. 2021.
  • Online Symposium and Exhibition Relate North: Everyday Extremes was held in November 11-12, 2021. Tomsk University, Russia. Relate North 2021 (
  • ASAD Thematic Networks coordinators annual online meeting was held in November 11, 2021.
  • Exhibition of the Winners of the UArctic Photo Competition "Arctic Polarities", Opened in September 6. 2021 in Arktikum, Rovaniemi.
  • Arctic Art and Design sessions of IASSA X, Arctic Generation: Looking Back and Looking Forwards conference in Archangelsk was realized in  15-19 June 2021.
  • Online Exhibition ARCTIC MAKES II: Observations, Lessons and Solutions from the Geographic Periphery was released   in 15 June 2021 as part of  IASSA X, Arctic Generation: Looking Back and Looking Forwards conference in Archangelsk.
  • The Potential of Art and Design for Renewable Economies in Northern Communities session was realized in UArctic Congress, Reykjavik, Iceland, May 2021.
  • Living in the Landscape spring school virtual Exhibition was opened in May 20, 2021, in Reykjavik, UArctic Congress.
  • Online multidisciplinary Living in the landscape school was realized in  spring 2021.
  • Arctic Design Week, Rovaniemi 22. – 28.3.2021
  • UArctic Photo Competition 2021: Arctic Polarities was realized and the winners awarded in March, 2021 


  • ASAD network’s coordinators online meeting was arranged in November 2020
  • Exhibition  ARCTIC MAKES: Observations, Lessons and Solutions from the Geographic Periphery. The Arctic Design School, Urals State University of Architecture and Art, Ekaterinburg, Russia, 2020.
  • The Russian Scientific Journal Human culture and education published Relate North articles. Syktyvkar State University of Russia, 2020.
  • Arctic Arts Summit panel, side event of Arctic Frontiers, Power of Knowledge, 28-30 January 2020, Tromsø, Norway.
  • Arctic Arts Summit advisory board meeting, January, Tromsö, Norway, 2020.


  • Symposium & Exhibition Relate North 2019: Tradition and Innovation in Art and Design Education, Syktyvkar, Komi Republic of Russia. November, 2019.
  • Master class – Relate North Syktyvkar, Russia, 2019.
  • Relate North: Collaboration in  Art and Design Education book released in December 2019.
  • Arctic Art Summit 2019, Rovaniemi, Finland June 3–5, 2019. 
  • Arctic Arts Summit Workshop (BA, MA). Rovaniemi; Finland, June 2019.
  • Fringe Exhibition, Arctic Art Summit 2019, Arktikum House, Rovaniemi 5.6.2019-11.8.2019.
  • Transactions and Impulsions Exhibition, Arctic Art Summit 2019, University Art Galleries, Rovaniemi 5.6.-15.6.2019. 
  • Arts in Arctic: Contemporary and historical perspectives book, released in the Arctic Art Summit in June 2019.
  • ASAD Panel: MAKING connections between art, research and education across the Circumpolar North, InSEA World Congress, University of British Columbia, Vancouver,  Canada, July 2019.
  • Arctic Design Cluster meeting, Cumulus conference Rovaniemi 2019.
  • Poetic Peripheries exhibition, Port Pirie Regional Gallery, Australia.
  • Pozhva Goes Off-road, 9-22.09.2019, Ural Centre for Design Development, Ekaterinburg, Russia.


  • RELATE NORTH 2018: Collaborative Art, Design and Education symposium and exhibition, Nord University, Nesna campus, Norway. November 2018.
  • New book Jokela, T. & Coutts, G. (Eds.) RELATE NORTH: Art and Design for Education and Sustainability published in December 2018.
  • New book Sinner, A., Irwin, R & Jokela, T. (Eds.) Visually ProvokingDissertations in Art Education published in December 2018.
  • Living in the Landscape Summer School was held in the Komi Republic of Russia, May and September 2018.
  • Living in the Komi Landscape Exhibition was held in Syktyvkar Komi National Library and University Gallery 19 September to 7 October, 2018.
  • Arctic Circle Assembly 2018 19-21 October, 2019 Panel Discussion: The role of arts, culture and creative industries in building sustainablesocieties in the Arctic.
  • Arctic Design Week, It’s time to think outside of the box. February 2018.
  • Circumpolar collaboration in art education and research. Round Table discussion at InSEA Congress 2018, Helsinki.
  • ASAD exhibition and participation in Uarctic Congress 2018 in Oulu, Finland.
  • ASAD partners Concordia University, British Columbia University and Lapland University collaborate in research project: Pedagogical turn. Art-based Education Research Network. Symposium and exhibition in Liverpool Tate Gallery, UK March 2018.
  • Participatory Art Intensive Course for Master students, Nesna, Norway November 2018. The Course arranged concurrent with the RELATE NORTH 2018 symposium.
  • Intensive course for BA and MA students in Kautokeino, Norway. In collaboration with University of Lapland and Sami University College. February 2018.
  • Winter art and architecture intensive course for MA students, Kittilä, Finland, November 2018. In collaboration with University of Lapland, Hokkaido University and ASAD partners.

Other Information

For more information, visit the Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD) website and ASAD Facebook group.

Timo Jokela, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Sustainable Arts and Design (ASAD)