A new MA programme in Ecology and Contemporary Performance

Tuija Kokkonen: "The programme sees performance as an open space."

The Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki has launched an international MA programme called Ecology and Contemporary Performance (MAECP), which explores questions of performance and performing in an era of ecological crisis. 

MA Tuija Kokkonen has been appointed as a part-time lecturer in the programme. She is one of the pioneering practitioners and theorists in the field of ecology, posthumanism and performance. She is finalizing her doctoral research project “The Potential Nature of Performance. The Relationship to the Non-Human on the Performance Event from the Perspective of Duration and Potentiality.”  

How is the programme unique?

There are no other degree programmes of this kind in the fields of performance arts and scholarship. The programme reflects on the posthuman or posthumous turn, which is recognizable in performance arts and in inter-disciplinary scholarship.  

Tuija Kokkonen: “Theatre Academy Helsinki has explored questions of performance and performing in an era of ecological crisis for a long time, using the methods of artistic research. Thus, we already had a framework and a foundation on which to build the teaching, research and questions. We could create a believable degree programme.”  

“The key concept is a trans-disciplinary approach. The degree programme sees performance as an open space, and the border-crossing nature of the question of ecology and performance is its underlying principle. The six students admitted to the programme are critical social subjects who situate their work in various disciplines, such as activism, art-science collaborations and new aesthetics.”  

What new issue does this programme bring to the arts and society?  

As a social critic, Tuija Kokkonen sees how the art-science collaboration could serve as a platform for innovations. Business life is quick to detect and identify new potential. Now, the competition centres around intellectual capital, which is considered to be the most effective driver of economic growth.  

Art and artistic research which focuses on ecological questions generates intellectual capital, but Kokkonen is wary of allowing businesses and the export industry to exploit this potential.  

The Ecology and Contemporary Performance programme provides tools for artistic practices and working methods, which lead to radical re-thinking and inter-connectedness. Kokkonen's first course concentrates on mental ecology and challenges the artists to apply sustainable artistic practices in different environments.  

Learn more about the Ecology and Contemporary Performance MA programme at Theatre Academy in Helsinki.