Daria Akimenko, Melanie Sarantou & Satu Miettinen
Artists and makers who live and conduct their creative practices in the geographical margins tend to face social, economic, environmental and historical challenges conditioned by the location of such regions. The condition of relative isolation may impact on the quality of artistic processes and such subjective criteria as motivation, inspiration and self-reflection of the maker. When artist communities and individuals come together in collective making processes and share knowledge through narrative practices, it may enable connectivity that spreads beyond geographical limitations and contributes to knowledge transfer and dissemination. In this case study, artistic practices such as collaborative textile art and individual making processes are used to discuss life histories and personal positions towards living and working in the Arctic. Artistic practices serve as a means to discuss and share this positioning in narrative and visual formats.
This paper considers the processes and outcomes of two workshops that took place in the cities of Rovaniemi, Finland, and Murmansk, Russia, in December 2016 with local and international artists. The paper analyses the stories and narratives shared by the artists in relation to their making processes and respective contexts. These narratives reveal how the qualities of life and work environments impact on art practices and identity construction and how creating temporal contexts for collective making and sharing may contribute to knowledge dissemination and transfer from one remote community to another. Even though the margins may be objectively defined through quantifiable means, there are also subjective, personal ways of viewing margins or the absence thereof. The research discusses and provides examples of how the creation of collaborative and individual art pieces in the localities in question communicates personal reflections on the margin as a concept, and how the capturing of personal narratives promotes a better understanding of and between different contexts.