The challenges facing Northern and Arctic communities—particularly climate change, globalization, urbanization, unemployment and shifting demographics—demand sustainable solutions and a paradigm shift in the way that art and design education and research are conducted in order to meet such challenges. The ASAD network is one proactive response to those challenges, and many of the concerns, known from research-collaborations, are shared by the network’s colleagues; artists, designers, creative facilitators, academics and students.
Research in the North and the Arctic suggests that the environments and sociocultural settings of the region could work as a “laboratory” for innovative research in art and design education. We believe that the special circumstances of the region can act as an effective arena in which to develop context-sensitive and practice-based methods in contemporary art and art education. Further, methods that have been developed and tested in the North may be of interest to a wider constituency, for example researchers that share similar concerns.
The ASAD network has been encouraged by the developments that have taken place and the tenacity and creativity of its colleagues and students, but does not underestimate the extent of the challenges facing Northern and Arctic communities with regard to harnessing the power of art and design to help address sustainability issues. We suggest that the developments taking place at the University of Lapland and in the ASAD network may amount to a new genre of art and design education worthy of further research, development and testing in the field.
Recent Relate North publications are available here.