Making Sense

Part of the foundations program of the MA Program in Environmental Art, University of Art and Design, Helsinki (TaiK), now Aalto University  –  2004-2008

Making Sense I: Artist Writing Seminar (2004, 2005, 2006)

Making Sense II: Critical Writing and Research Seminar (2005, 2006, 2007)


A writing and critical thinking workshop for first-year MA students

Artists and design professionals must regularly make two kinds of statements: in their work, and about their work. At the same time, they are regularly challenged to make sense of the works of others, and of the larger issues facing the world in which art is made.

This course will challenge you to sharpen the writing and critical thinking skills required for each of these tasks. You will write critical essays on the works and theory of environmental art. You will produce a series of artist statements describing your own work, creative process and inspirations, assembling a portfolio of materials on which to build as your career develops. And in the final portion of the course, you will develop a plan for researching, writing and presenting your MA diploma project.

The course is intended to support your artistic work in whatever medium, and so will emphasize the creative, expressive potentials of language as much as the technical principles behind successful communication.


Making Sense (Artist Writing) (2cr)

Objectives:             To engage students in a creative and critical writing practice that supports their development and professionalization as artists. To improve basic writing skills for both native and non-native speakers of English.

Content:            Journaling, artist’s statements, project descriptions, articulations of conceptual interest, creative process, theoretical position and aesthetic experience.


Making Sense cont’d (Critical Writing/Research) (2cr)

Objectives:            To develop writing, thinking, oral presentation and research skills directly relevant to the MA diploma work. To decide and clarify the subject of the diploma work. To prepare a detailed research plan.

Content:             Journaling, essay writing, oral presentations, proposal writing, web portfolio design, basic research techniques and planning.