Seminar & Exhibition in Helsinki

April 26th, 2017
Handmade Wellbeing -seminar program April 26th, 2017

The last seminar of the project was held in Finland at the University of Helsinki. For start all the project partners introduced the work they had done in their respective countries during the project, especially the craft workshops for elderly people in care settings.

First Janine Stedman and Patsy Lang from Superact (UK) presented their organisation and told about the magnificent workshops in several different care settings. For example a lovely collaborative piece of clay art was made in a care setting by people with dementia. This work really shows how important it is to put aside prejudice and be ready to try anything, also demanding tasks, with any group of learners. Read more about the clay work and other artwork here.

handmade Wellbeing seminar Helsinki
Janine Stedman and Patsy Lang from Superact UK introducing their organisation. Photo: Sirpa Kokko

KUNSTLABOR Graz from Austria presented their work in a lively way by showing real photos and asking the audience to imitate knitting movement with eyes closed. Central elements and experiences of the craft workshops for them had been for example realizing that all craft making is movement for the whole body, even if we often think it is just hands. They had also noticed that it is good to start creative work with materials that are familiar to participants, and later on they are more willing to also experiment with new materials.

Read more about the workshops in Austria here.

handmade Wellbeing seminar Helsinki
Edith Draxl from KUNSTLABOR Graz and an auditorium full of audience. Photo: Sirpa Kokko
Handmade Wellbeing seminar Helsinki
Central elements and experiences of the craft workshops in Austria: movement, material, experiment, community & visibility. Photo: Sirpa Kokko

Department of Estonian Native Crafts in Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu introduced their education and study programmes which are unique in the world! For them, making crafts was really in the centre of the workshops. The participants were eager to make things themselves and learn new techniques. Several techniques were tested, even metalwork, which once again proves you can try anything!

Read more about the workshops in Estonia here.

Handmade Wellbeing seminaari Helsinki
Helen Kästik from University of Tartu introducing Viljandi Culture Academy and Department of Native Estonian Crafts. Photo: Sirpa Kokko

The seminar host was the coordinating partner, Craft Teacher Education of the University of Helsinki. One of the central experiences for them was that it is common that the participants actually first reject participating. However, it is also very common that if they can have time and encouragement, they wish to participate later on. All in all it is important that participation is voluntary, but a little sensitive “pushing” is sometimes needed.

Read more about the workshops in Finland here.

Find the presentations of the partners below.

Handmade Wellbeing seminaari Helsinki
Mari Salovaara from Craft Teacher Education of University of Helsinki presenting craft workshops in Finland. Photo: Sirpa Kokko
Experiences from UKsee the slideshow
Experiences from Estoniasee the slideshow
Experiences from FinlandSee the slideshow
Timo Tähkänen, artist: Working as a visual artist in service centre

Timo Tähkänen has completed many art projects with elderly people in care settings. Currently he has an `Art for care settings´ -grant for his artistic work, and he is cooperating with a comprehensive service centre in Helsinki. His artwork, for example paintings, installations and performances, are born from encounters with people, inspired by them and sometimes together with them. The works are tangible and visible memories of these encounters. When he presented his art and the encounters with the people in care homes, it became very obvious he has a very respective and listening way of working with people.

Read more about Timo’s work from his webpage.

Timo also writes a blog (in Finnish).

Handmade Wellbeing seminar Helsinki
Visual artist Timo Tähkänen presents his work in elderly care settings. Photo: Sirpa Kokko
Helena Malmivirta, lecturer (Turku University of Applied Sciences): Art Pedagogy with Older People

Helena Malmivirta talked about art, pedagogy and the framework of art pedagogy with older people. As a starting point for relevant pedagogy is the perception of older people as human beings and learners. Art is a way to experience and explore the world and make sense of past life events. When using art and culture in working with elderly people, the activities provider is in the role of an art educator. The purpose is to emancipate and support human growth.

Helena gave examples of artwork with people over 65 years in her previous project, Art and Culture – Keys for Better Brain Health. She described how art education and pedagogy can be a way of bringing brain health theories into action. According to previous studies, brain health is best nurtured by for example social interaction, mental and physical stimulation – which are all very obviously related to creative action. Brains are also able to reserve and create new cells when engaged with new and complex stimuli – also present in creative action. These are important aspects and highlight the importance of art and creativity for people of any age.

art pedagogy and older peoplesee the slideshow
Handmade Wellbeing seminar Helsinki
Helena Malmivirta talks about art pedagogy with older people. Photo: Sirpa Kokko

April 26th – May 11th, 2017

University of Helsinki Main Library

Kaisa house, Fabianinkatu 30

Handmade Wellbeing exhibition in Finland
Handmade Wellbeing exhibition in Finland

The opening of the exhibition in the University Main Library in Kaisa House was after the seminar. The exhibition presented all the craftwork made in the workshops in elderly care settings in Finland. The craft workshops were guided by craft student teachers and all the works in the exhibition were made by the participants in the workshops. Also some photos from workshops were shown, photographed by Carolina Mobarac.

Handmade Wellbeing näyttely Helsinki
Collaborative felted wall hanging. Photo: Sirpa Kokko
project introduction in exhibitionsee the poster
exhibition introductionsee the poster
workshop experiences of the student teachers and participants see the poster
developing an educational modelsee the poster
Thank You all!
Handmade Wellbeing näyttely exhibition Helsinki
The happiest Handmade Wellbeing team from left: Edith Draxl, Andrea Fischer, Sirpa Kokko, Helen Kästik, Mari Salovaara, Janine Stedman, Patsy Lang. Photo: Handmade Wellbeing.