Venue: Fabianinkatu 24, seminar room 135, University of Helsinki (entrance through the court yard; the seminar room is on the ground floor and to the left from the entrance)
Date and time: 18 November 2016, 13.00-18.00
Commons, or resources accessible to all members of a community, provide a democratic and equitable model of sharing and benefiting from valuable resources, but they are also sites of conflict, as it might be difficult to determine who has the right to use them and to what ends. While the public and academic discussions on commons tend to centre on natural resources such as land, water and air, similar issues arise in the fields of culture and art. The ideas of cultural heritage and cultural appropriation presuppose a cultural commons and a community that governs and controls it, which in turn brings about the possibility of violating against the practices maintained by that community. The significance of commons often becomes visible through conflicts over the control of the resources.
Commons are thus challenging in many different ways. Cutting across cultural borders and notions of sharing and ownership, they force us to rethink the fundamental processes in which culture is produced or transmitted, individually and collectively. The rise of convergence culture and the figure of the prosumer (producer-consumer) in the digital age are currently shaping our understanding of ownership and appropriation, as cultural materials are increasingly available for use and adaptation.
The aim of the Challenging Commons seminar is to bring the concept of commons to bear on debates of cultural ownership and appropriation, thereby also challenging the notions of commons itself. In his keynote presentation, Martin Fredriksson, Marie Curie Fellow and Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies from Linköping University, addresses the tensions that arise from applying Western legal frameworks to cultural and intellectual commons, in relation to both indigenous and digital communities. The other presentations of the seminar concentrate on case studies of forms of contemporary cultural appropriation that use and transform folklore materials such as the Kalevalaic runo songs, Sámi music and Nenets folklore, and discuss issues of authorship in relation to social media and experimentalist poetry that recycles existing texts.
13.00-13.15 Welcome / Sanna Nyqvist (University of Helsinki)
13.15-14.15 Martin Fredriksson (Linköping University, Sweden)
Traditional cultural expressions and intellectual commons
14.15-14.45 Heidi Haapoja (University of Helsinki)
“Author Unknown”: Traditional Kalevalaic Runo Songs, Authorship and Contemporary Folk Music in Finland
14.45-15.15 Thomas R. Hilder (Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, Norway)
Sámi Music and the Politics of Authorship: Indigenous Subjectivities and Collectivities
15.40-16.10 Karina Lukin (University of Helsinki)
Our or mine? When Folklore Became Literature. A Soviet Nenets Case
16.10-17.10 Outi Oja (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Contemporary Finnish conceptual poetry and the problem of authorship
17.10-17.40 Anne Heimo (University of Turku)
Who owns my memories? The public use of private memories
17.40-18.00 Seminar conclusion
The seminar is organised by the Art, Copyright and the Transformation of Authorship project (Taide, tekijyyden muutos ja tekijänoikeus -projekti), funded by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation.
The seminar is open to all, but please register by November 8th at:
For more information, please contact Sanna Nyqvist (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358-50-2941 24327).