Joette Crosier grew up in West Virginia, USA and always had a passion for nature and the environment. This interest became a career path after getting a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. After a couple of years working in ecological research, she moved to Helsinki and is currently completing a master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While trained and experienced in many aspects of ecology, Joette’s specific field is mycology. She is conducting thesis research on Finnish fungal ecology and works in a mycology laboratory in Mustio, running projects on everything mushroom related. Within mycology, her main focus is mycorestoration, driven by the desire to find ways humans can work with fungi to
restore and maintain healthy ecosystems. Through volunteering and work with various
organizations, she has been involved in mushroom projects to jumpstart forest
regeneration, reintroduce threatened species, efficiently degrade cigarette waste, and
treat polluted water from mines. Motivated from early on by environmental challenges
around coal mining in her home state, she plans to further research on the amazing
potential fungi have to remove toxins from the environment, particularly heavy metals and chemical waste.
Joette is inspired by a movement towards sustainable societies with a foundation of
strong community engagement and a true connection with all life on earth. In her
hometown, she participated in diplomatic gatherings in which citizens from different
political and ideological backgrounds would team up to work on art or other community
improvement projects, in the interest of finding common ground on often contentious
issues related to the environment and natural resource extraction/protection. As an
American living in Finland, it’s easy to find similar types of controversy and
stakeholders and she is interested to foster this same type of social engagement
through artistic projects in a society where there’s even greater conscientiousness
around environmental issues.
Meeri Koutaniemi (1987) is a freelance photographer, journalist and documentary filmmaker born in Kuusamo. Her work as a photographer and journalist spans more than 50 countries. At the heart of Koutaniemi’s work is the human right to define his or her identity and role in society. Koutaniemi was chosen as the Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and has received numerous international awards.
My artwork relates to community-based service design and artistic research. Community-based service design applies the methods of art and design to develop and empower services. The goal of joint design productions is to illustrate the important themes and desired changes in a community and ways to implement them. In artistic research, data is collected and interpreted with the help of artistic practice.
I have a long history of working with local Namibian, South African and Botswanan communities in a number of projects aiming to develop handiwork and design, including Opuwo-Helsinki-Opuwo (2002), Kwaata-Kosketus (2004), Potentials – Design in the Field (2006-2007).
I am a member of Katutura working group. Since 2010, the group has carried out community-based art and design projects, such as Lost in Katutura (2010-2012) and My Dream World (2013-2015). The projects have also involved exhibitions in locations such as the Craft Museum of Finland, Helinä Rautavaara Museum, Museum of Cultures, Arktikum, Library 10, National Art Gallery of Namibia and the exhibition space Attic in the Cape Town City Hall. The exhibitions Lost in Katutura, Kaupungissa vai maalla? and Itsepäinen shakaali seikkailee were part of the official programme of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012. Similarly, the project My Dream World was included in the programme of World Design Capital Cape Town 2014.
I have worked in several community art projects with children and young people. The work Siipiä consisted of a series of four photographs printed on aluminium, which led children into the world of fairy tales. Children were gathered around the photographs to tell stories and think back to the scents, colours and light of summer. The project was part of the urban art exhibition Näkyjä organised by Valmed in January 2015. The artwork My Wings to Fly was created in Michigan in 2016 in collaboration with students from the Finlandia University. It was comprised of feathers made by the students, which were coloured by their life stories. The work was displayed in the Reflection Gallery in Hancock, Michigan for the summer season.
I am also the principal investigator of the artistic research project Women Living on the Edges of the World (2016–2017) funded by the Kone Foundation. With the help of artistic practice, the project explores themes relating to marginality. I am working on some narrative textile pieces in connection with the project.
Raisa Raekallio (1978) is a visual artist, working in the field of drawing, painting, and performance, born in Kittilä. Raisa graduated from Lahti Institute of Fine Arts and from 2013 she has held a working collaboration with Misha del Val creating paintings and performance pieces together on their studio in Sirkka, Lapland. Together they have held several exhibitions in Finland and abroad. Their latest series of paintings ‘Uusi normaali’ will be exhibited in tm-gallery, Helsinki in summer 2020.
In addition to painting and performance, Raisa has her diary-like daily drawing practice, in which she creates intimate and spontaneous works on paper.