Summer Seminar: About the Participants


See the seminar programme here.

Cindy Kohtala is a Canadian-born researcher at Aalto University, Department of Design, NODUS Sustainable Design Research Group. Her doctoral research focuses on distributed production and the ecological, economic and cultural opportunities and threats inherent in personal fabrication practices (the ‘Maker Economy’). She is the chair and co-founder of o2 Finland ry, the founder and coordinator of Helsinki Green Drinks, and the working group leader of Helsinki Green Map. She teaches in the Creative Sustainability Master’s Programme in Aalto University.
Her aim with this seminar is to bring questions about open design, personal fabrication, and the Maker Movement to the general public via the World Design Capital Pavilion programme. The seminar is also a platform for the discrete maker communities in Helsinki to meet each other and discuss crucial present and future issues regarding creativity, quality, craftsmanship, ecology, ethics, collaboration, peer production and responsibility.
email cindy (dot) kohtala (at) aalto (dot) fi

Austrian-born Erich Berger is an artist and cultural worker based in Helsinki. His interests lie in information processes and feedback structures which he investigates through installations, situations, performances and interfaces. His work has been shown and produced internationally and has received a number of awards. Currently he is a lecturer at Vienna’s Akademie der bildenden Künste and the director of the of the Finnish Society of Bioart in Helsinki.
The Finnish Society of Bioart (established May 2008 in Kilpisjärvi) is an organisation supporting, producing and creating activities around art and natural sciences, especially biology. It fosters public discussions about biosciences, biotechnologies and bioethics. Additionally it is the Finnish contact node in international networks of bioart and art&science. It has currently 45 members, representing different art and scientific research fields as well as other expertise.



Päivi Raivio is one of the coordinators of Kääntöpöytä / Turntable, an urban garden and a greenhouse situated in Pasila, built on a unused railway turntable and near the site where Dodo’s urban gardening activities started off in 2009. Kääntöpöytä is an urban farming centre that aims to operate as an open test lab and source for learning and inspiration. It also has a cafe, which supports the project towards being self sustaining.

Ramyah is a New Media Designer based in Helsinki, Finland. Her education and work experience are multi-disciplinary in nature and she has worked on projects ranging from visual communication, interaction design, filmmaking, animation and interactive & mobile media.
A recent graduate from the Media Lab Helsinki of the Aalto University, she is currently researching and working in the field of electronic textiles and soft devices as a continuation to her Master’s thesis work. She is interested in exploring the interactions and roles emerging from the integration of traditional textiles and new computational devices where handicrafts meet technology.
Lately she has collaborated with Kati Hyyppä forming a group called “e-crafts collective” that explores open design, traditional knowledge exchange and cultural heritage using the context of e-textiles.
email ramyah (at) narrativize (dot) net

Eco-design with the cool-factor. EDEL City has made it its mission to develop the best eco-luxury design for its customers. Its focus on high-design and stylish urban look is a welcome departure from other green design concepts. Following the slogan “Spoil yourself, without spoiling the environment”, EDEL City offers Finnish design products made from recycled or organic raw materials. Regular recycling-design workshops held at their flagship store are open to all.

Katharina Moebus is a design activist, blogger and independent researcher interested in creating positive societal impacts using dialogue and co-creative bottom-up actions with communities. Currently, she is working at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, exploring Emerging Design Practices. During her studies and work practice in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Laos, she has moved across disciplines with projects ranging between installation art, interior and exhibition design, graphic design, comic art, food activism, urban interventions and environmental art. She believes that design has the potential to inspire and enable positive action and creative self-confidence.

Koelse is an association of experimental electronics and a group of experimental electronics enthusiasts. The group gathers old consumer electronics and transforms them into sound producing devices. With these devices they play concerts, build installations and teach others how to build similar things. Koelse’s projects have been seen and heard around Europe in festivals, museums, galleries and alternative art spaces since 2002.
Trashlab events explore experimental art-design-technology practice between hacker and maker cultures, in the context of re/up-cycling and the increased availability of new fabrication tools. Trashlab’s objective is to build up a community of people (artists, designers, hackers, makers, re/up-cyclers, activists) who are concerned with material and electronic waste in contemporary society, and tackle this problem with creative and tangential approaches.
On a monthly basis in 2012, a multifaceted set of groups (Koelse, Kokomys, local Helsinki makers initiating the process) will bring their practice to Aalto Media Factory, and other locations, Oranssi’s Valvomo, Polymer Cultural Factory (Tallinn), Wasteland Festival (Kouvola) over the year. They (and Pixelversity) aim to encourage a peer-based learning environment related to hacking electronics, appropriate technology for renewable energy production/usage, digital fabrication and re/up-cycling materials.

Harri is a researcher, hackerspace facilitator and DIY culture advocate. Harri is a founding member of Helsinki Hacklab – a shared social workshop with tools to design and tinker all kind of DIY projects. In two years Helsinki Hacklab has gathered active local community and helped other similar workshops to emerge in different parts of Finland. Helsinki Hacklab organizes public events such as electronics workshops and collaborates with many other parties like artists and public organizations.
WÄRK:fest is an urban weekend festival for different Do-It-Yourself communities and people interested in learning new skills and getting new ideas.

Miska Knapek is a graphic information designer interested in and furthering Open Design practice. He spends most his time furthering public access to information about society, learning and government, as well as looking at how making processes and things can be made more collaborative and equal. Miska worked as one of the initiators of the Aalto University Fab Lab and has had his hand in other fab labs and open working spaces.

Kirsi Niinimäki is a textile designer, a teacher and a researcher. She has been working as an industrial textile designer at Finlayson, running her own design entrepreneurship and worked as a Principal Lecture in textile design. She has also influenced in the field of textile art and cultural production. Kirsi Niinimäki’s doctoral dissertation FROM DISPOSABLE TO SUSTAINABLE: The Complex Interplay between Design and Consumption of Textiles and Clothing was completed in 2011. Currently she works as a post doc researcher in Design Research in Aalto University and she also teaches in the Creative Sustainability Master’s Degree Programme.

Artist Blacksmith; Designer (Turku University of Applied Sciences 2009);
 Metal Artisan (Southwest Finland Institute for Art, Crafts and Design 2003)
In Governance of Artist Blacksmith’s Association of Finland 2010-
Exhibitions (selected)
NowHere Finland, Jyväskylä, Finland 2012; Exhibition Project Aalto Executive Education 2011, Helsinki, Finland 2011;
 Næs Smedtreff, Tvedestrand, Norway 2011, 2010; Blowing In The Wind, art festival of Halden, Norway 2010;
 Huomenta afrikka! Villa Karo 10 year anniversary exhibition, Helsinki, Finland 2010; Antracit Blacksmith Conference, Granbergsdal, Sweden 2010, 2009, 2008;
 Rautasulka Blacksmith Festival, Sulkava, Finland 2010;
 Neineperin Metallitaideviikot, Ulvila, Finland 2010;
 Sacred Signs, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine 2010
Projects (selected)
Invisible chair (No-Chair-Design challenge), live performances 2011 – 2012, several locations; Workshop “Forging in Urban Environment”, Helsinki Public School, Finland 2010;
 Oshipala Excavadora BETA forging performance, Sulkava, Finland 2010;
 Craft design and documentary project in Opuwo, Namibia 2008; In collaboration with Eero Yli-Vakkuri, Outi Heiskanen and Boris “The Wacher” in “Ore.e refineries” art project in Grand Popo (Benin), Lome (Togo) and Mynämäki (Finland) 2007
Oshipala Air Hammer Studio,
email info (at) oshipala (dot) com

I was born in Helsinki. In my family we have always made things. I was encouraged to make and re-make my own clothes, accessories, bags and toys. Since completing a master’s degree in acting at the Theatre Academy in Helsinki I have worked as a freelance actor and singer, but I have never stopped creating using recycled materials.
It might be only a drop in the ocean, according to many, but I sincerely believe that changing our consumer habits and attitudes and values, we create change. I am curious and I enjoy sharing and teaching what I know. I also try to learn new skills on the way by attending courses and workshops.
I have recently started a Facebook page where I share my work and plan to do workshops in the near future. I dream and believe in reviving the old sewing circles and knitting groups, as it is such fun to do things together. Today, I host one knitting group every second week.
ninitchi (at) gmail (dot) com

Eero Yli-Vakkuri is an artist and craftsperson living in Helsinki. Under the headline “peer-productions,” Yli-Vakkuri has worked as a telemarketer selling performance-art documentation dvds, produced peer-funded artworks, exported copper from Benin, made commercials for local entrepreneurs, and stole money from audience members of his performances.
In 2011 Yli-Vakkuri and Jesse Sipola launched the NO-CHAIR-DESIGN Campaign which has challenged the designers of the world to NOT design new chairs. “Instead of making new chairs we should focus on repairing broken ones”. The campaign is run by Ore.e Refineries which is a small company lobbying for sustainable crafts culture.
eero (at) storijapan (dot) net