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CIRRUS Nordplus / Intensive course

Aurora Borealis Workshop – Media Art Production & ECTS 6 cr

Department of Media, Faculty of Art and Design University of Lapland organizes annually for its students a multimedia production course (6 ECTS). The department wishes to share this course with the media students of Cirrus- network institutions as an intensive program focusing on the phenomenon of aurora borealis. The course contains an online preparation phase, 2 week intensive part in Finnish Lapland and documentation of the results of the process which will be published online.

Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon typical for polar areas, yet widely known throughout the whole world. It has fascinated scientists and artists for centuries. Nowadays it is one of the main tourist attractions in Lapland. University of Lapland is situated on the Arctic Circle and this allows us to use this unique phenomenon as a starting point for a course shared with other Nordic colleagues and students, in which the students can explore the possibilities of audio-visual expression and interface design. The skills acquired during the course will assist students in designing interactive installations needed in museums, science centers and exhibitions.

Course eLearning site on Moodle

4.2.2007 – 17.2.2007

Rovaniemi, University's cottage in Pyhätunturi, Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, an independent department of the University of Oulu

12 days

15 students and 4 teachers, Lecturer Tomi Knuutila, Lecturer Teijo Pellinen, Media Artist Bettina Schülke, Supervisor Haraldur Karlsson

Intermediate / Advanced

Working language

Students should confirm that the course can be accepted into their studies at their home university.  

Leading tutors
Tomi Knuutila, Lecturer in Digital Media, University of Lapland and Teijo Pellinen, Lecturer in Interactive Audiovisual Production, Medialab, University of Art and Design Helsinki, Haraldur Karlsson, supervisor and teacher of audiovisual electronic signals, Iceland Academy of the Arts

Students get acquainted with a northern phenomenon Aurora Borealis from the scientific and anthropological point of view learning to deal with challenging scientific issues which are used as a starting point for media art works. Audiovisual material of aurora borealis is collected.  Students learn to create new experimental interfaces using up-to-date sensor technology. In addition students learn to work in a multidisciplinary and international team.  

Content and methods
Before the intensive period there is a preparation phase in Moodle (or Optima) online environment. Students collect material of the myths and beliefs of aurora borealis in different cultures and publish a paper on particular culture on the e-learning message board.  Course continues with exploring scientific explanations of aurora borealis. During the third phase students collect audiovisual data using field recordings and online realtime sources. Finally students experiment with sensor technologies and spatial interaction and different multimedia representations of aurora borealis are realized as physical installations. 

Paper on myths, active participation in the lectures and workshop, independent research and group work finding different solutions for designing physical interfaces.

Grading:  1-5 / fail

Application procedure:

CV and / or (online) digital portfolio + motivation letter max. 1 A4

Studies in media or good skills in media production tools. Applicants must be registered students of Cirrus ( ) member institution. Email applications to by 30 October. The teachers will select the participants and inform them on 3th of November.

30.10.2006              Deadline for applications
3.11.2006                Notice to applicants
15.11. – 31.1.2007  Distance learning period
4.2.2007                  Arrival in Rovaniemi
5. -6.2.2007             Lectures in Rovaniemi, Visit to Artktikum
7.2.2007                  Visit to Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory
7.2. – 11.2.2007      Field research in Pyhätunturi
12. – 16.2.2007       Designing installations
16.2.2007                Presentation of the results
17.2.2007                Departure

Accommodation in Rovaniemi in student flats with four double rooms and shared kitchen, shower and toilet (about 1,5 km from the university). In Pyhatunturi the whole group is accommodated in university's cottage. In addition to six single rooms there is a cosy loft with booths for the rest. There is an Internet connection at the cottage. 

Please bring with you
Bed linen or a sleeping bag & towel & personal toiletries
Warm winter clothes
If possible, a laptop computer and audiovisual equipment (digital camera, video camera, sound recording equipment, etc.)
Ability to work and live in an international group

Workshop organisation will cover accommodation and travel costs according to the cheapest prices in market. Participants have to be prepared to pay for meals or cook on their own.

More information
Workshop coordinator and lecturer

University of Lapland
Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory
Cottage in Pyhätunturi, see a picture