The deadline for submitting the abstracts is extended until 5th of May. 

We are also proud to announce our two keynote speakers:

Stuart MacDonald OBE
DA, PhD, FRSA, FNSEAD, Hon FRIBA Emeritus Professor
Gray’s School of Art

Suzie Attiwill PhD MA MDIA
Associate Professor / Interior Design
Deputy Dean / Learning + Teaching
School of Architecture + Design
RMIT University
Executive Editor, IDEA JOURNAL

Call for Abstracts

The Summer School committee invites authors to submit abstracts for presentations or workshops within the theme described below. Deadline for abstract submission is May 5th, 2014.


The first joint Summer School of the doctoral schools of both schools will focus on the issue of human-centeredness within art, design and architecture.

During the last decades the focus on the human as active subject has increased within research in art, design and architecture. On the one hand it has meant a change in the field of design and its development process from production-centred to human-centred. On the other hand it is connected with wider philosophical processes, moving from objective descriptions of the world to the passive object becoming an experiential subject in several disciplines, like hermeneutics, phenomenology or social constructionism. Legitimising the uniqueness and singularity of the human experience has also validated the author’s singular viewpoint in writing, research or interpreting artwork through subjective experience.

Focussing on the human subject leads us to other questions: how is it possible to share and generalise experience? How is the growing tendency to engage communities and the ideals of participation shifting the focus from singular to the shared? How can we treat multiple users as one bigger entity or a person as a fragment of the universe?

Today we can admire the totally networked and globalised world, but it is distinguished by social, environmental and economic problems. These problems are interconnected and complex and have more than direct impact on people’s well-being; these are characteristics of the wider society and ecosystems. By trying to solve wicked problems we recognise that focussing on the singular human may be too narrow and that we haven’t given enough focus to humans, plural.

Therefore it is important to ask where the human-centred paradigm is moving? How can we grasp the huge system, the bigger picture and still keep the personal dimension in focus? By sharing experience what happens to the subject’s singularity?

The aim of the summer school is to:

– map changes within the human-centred paradigm in different disciplines and how these changes are applied in art, design and architecture;

– analyse and discuss new directions in creative work in the era of increasing complexity and wicked problems;

– discuss the changes and new directions above disciplines by asking where are we moving, towards or around human-centeredness?

We invite a wide range of contributions:

– Full-length research papers (max 4000 words)

– Shorter research papers or case studies (max 2000 words)

– Workshop proposals (max 1000 words)

We are seeking papers that critically explore the developments of paradigm of human-centeredness and its role in creative theory and practice. While we expect that papers may be grounded in creative practice, papers should also address theoretical issues of the practices, tools and methods presented, as well as the value and consequences brought to creative research.


The abstracts of max 350 words must be written in English. Please submit your abstract and full contact details as an electronic file (pdf) no later than April 20, 2014. The information requested during abstract submission include:

1) the name(s) of the author(s), the institutional affiliation (both university and department), mailing address and email(s);

2) title of proposed presentation or round-table/workshop;

3) area of presentation;

4) up to 3-5 keywords

5) specification of proposal (presentation or workshop).

Send the abstract by email to Miina Leesment by 27. April 2014!

The accepted proposals’ authors will be invited to make a 20-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute Q&A session or a 120-minutes workshop at the Summer School. The best presentations will be invited to submit a full paper to be published after the symposium in the publications of Aalto Arts and Estonian Academy of Arts.

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