Think like a forest – Course information

Course registration is closed.

University of Helsinki master and doctoral students in atmospheric sciences have an opportunity to do the Project course in atmospheric sciences (ATM303, 5 ECTS) in a very special environment and company this spring. We are organising a climate change camp in Vallisaari island together with Uniarts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy in May 2018. See more details below. Welcome to challenge yourself, apply your expertise in a new environment, and make friends across disciplines!

Vallisaari island. Photo: Marianne Santala

Think like a forest
Integrating art, science and activism in a time of climate crisis

What happens when you put a bunch of scientists, artist and activists together on an island to face the climate crisis together? We don’t know, which is exactly why we are inviting you to join this transdisciplinary experiment in May 2018.

All the scientific predictions around the climate crisis are shooting off the charts, whether it is rising sea temperatures, species extinction or deforestation… Everything is speeding up and yet our attempts as a society to deal with the problems are not at all at the scale of the crisis itself. We all know that business as usual is not an option and that we need revolutionary action in all our disciplines to avert the worst. This requires us to step out of our set roles, go beyond our fixed identities and to prepare to jump out of our comfort zones together.

This residential experiment on the island of Vallisaari will explore how the research techniques of artists, theatre makers, climate scientists and activists can learn from each other and create synergies. How can science integrate the subjectivity and sensitivity of art into its practices? How can art become a useful tool of social transformation rather than be purely symbolic? How can activism go beyond mobilising with facts and figures and embody the poetic?

Seascape on the Vallisaari island. Photo: Marianne Santala

The workshop is residential, the accommodation will be in tents, you will need a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, pillow etc. Taking part in building, maintaining and taking down of the camp is part of the workshop, participants can expect to be working mostly outdoors in Vallisaari. You do not need to own a tent. Food service might be a combination of catering and cooking.

Course work includes:
– Writing a project plan before and a report after the camp.
– Attending the starting seminar at TeaK on Wed 16.5. 17.30-20.30, and the camp in Vallisaari during 18.-27.5.
– University of Helsinki students have an introductory meeting in Kumpula before the starting seminar. Time and place will be announced later.

Course code for University of Helsinki students:
ATM303 (Project course in atmospheric sciences, 5 cr)

Course Page:

See the course page.

Person in Charge:
Laura Riuttanen (

Target group:
1. Master and Doctoral students in atmospheric sciences of Helsinki University
2. BA and MA students from the University of Arts, Theatre Academy (separate application process via University of Arts weboodi, course code: T-XY205)

Costs for students:
The majority of your costs will be covered, however there might be a requirement of cost towards food for each student: max. 5-10 euros per day.

How to apply:
Course registration closed on 19.3.2018.

Decisions will be made and informed to all applicants at the latest on Wed March 29th.

Team of facilitators/teachers:
• Isabelle Frémeaux and John Jordan, co-founders of the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination
• University of Helsinki, Institute of Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)
Lectures by Laura Riuttanen, Taina Ruuskanen, Kourosh Kabiri Koupaei, Hanna Vehkamäki, Timo Vesala
• University of Arts of Helsinki, Theatre Academy
Lectures by Paavo Järvensivu
• In collaboration with Metsähallitus