For my research project I am embedded as a visiting scholar in the Systems of Representation research group in Aalto University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture. With courses at both Aalto’s Otaniemi and Arabia, I get to dive back into everything wonderful about university life at two very different campuses. The Otaniemi campus is home to the School of Engineering, which has its own unique culture and student activities made immediately evident by the swarms of students walking around in colorful coveralls, and my host institution, the Media Lab. The Arabia campus is home to the majority of the School of Arts programs (although there are plans to move more departments to the Otaniemi campus). All of the Arabianranta district is an “Art and Design City” where all building developers are required by the City of Helsinki to donate 1-2% of the construction costs to art. The university is housed in old Arabia factory buildings and the massive building is brimming with galleries, studios, work stations, and design-in-action! Between seminars, events (there’s a Department of Media exhibit opening tomorrow), and staff/student activities I feel like I have been immersed in a grotto of creation where I can ferment and be all deliciously inventive for the next nine months.
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