International Socially Engaged Art Symposium

ISEAS International Socially Engaged Art Symposium

Katja Juhola has organized four international symposiums on social art in Finland annually.

The 2020 Symposium will look at the art of dialogue in conflict mediation. The International Socially Engaged Art Symposium (ISEAS) will take place in August in Western Lapland.

The symposium will invite artists, researchers and documenters to work with local communities in August 2020. The event will take place in the municipalities of Muonio and Kolari and Äkäslomopola. The project will be exhibited at the Rovaniemi Art Museum in summer 2021.

The project explores possibilities and methods for mediating environmental conflicts in activities that are artistic, interdisciplinary and community-related. The activities are divided into three working groups focusing on different themes. They are the northern nature-religion, the Hannukainen mining conflict and the forest disputes in Lapland. Teacher and students of Muonio natural resources wilderness guide training, people from fostering natural values responsibly across generations and Natural Resources Institute Finland as well as villagers in Muonio, Muodoslompolo, Hannukainen and Äkäslompolo are called as local partners.


In 2019, ISEAS explores relationships between man and nature. It produces community-based events in which an international artist and environmental researcher working with nature, communities, lake, mussels, mushrooms and trees interacting with each other. ISEAS raises the impression that we are part of a larger entity. Community-based work has three goals: to bring environmental research into communities’ worldview, to cope with the local natural conditions and to ask people how to live in an equal relationship with elements of nature, animals, plants, and non-living objects.

2018 ISEAS tried another approach; just by requesting the performances of some of Raseborg’s public outdoor and indoor spaces. The Artists’ Group discussed the upcoming artistic activities for three days. Thereafter, they conducted three impromptu experimental interventions, each of which contacted the audience or invited them into action in different ways. Juhola’s goal has been to develop the methodology of artistic work with communities all over the world. The Symposium has spread social art messages with artists in more than 20 countries.

In 2017, Juhola had agreed on institutions, communities and artists working with them in advance. The artists had been in touch with the target groups before the symposium began, and the artistic work was already well planned when the communities met their artist.

ISEAS is supported by:

Cultural foundations of Finland,  Kone Foundation, the Town of Raseborg, Karis – Pojo Sparbank Foundation, Osuuskunta Kanslia, Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse sr Foundation

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