A study package on circular economy, environmental art and cultural change

Ended project: 10/2017 – 9/2019

Aalto University opened a test area promoting circular economy research, experiments and teaching at its campus and developed a multidisciplinary course on the opportunities for fine arts to promote the circular economy.

What was it about?

The project was part of the Circular economy teaching for all levels of education package implemented between 2017 and 2019. Sitra’s vision was that all graduates should understand what the circular economy means from the point of view of their work and day-to-day life, and what decisions and actions they can take to promote the circular economy. The aim was to increase expertise in the circular economy in Finland by extensively developing circular economy training, materials, concepts and co-operation from different points of view for all levels of education. More than 50 educational institutions, organisations and businesses took part in the package.

What was achieved?

Aalto University opened an outdoor test site promoting circular economy research, experiments and teaching at the Otaniemi campus in May 2018. In addition to teaching, it is used as a circular economy research area by different departments at the Aalto University. There are a total of more than 60 active student members and occasional student volunteers working at the test site.

The project also piloted the multidisciplinary Creative Approach to Circular Economy (five credits) course.  The course was organised in spring 2019 for students at all Aalto University schools. The course focused on the opportunities provided by fine arts to solve environmental crises. During the course, the students investigated the phenomena of the circular economy and worked on new and sustainable cultural operating methods using creative methods as part of the material flows and natural cycles of the test site. The course was comprised of lectures, discussions and group work.

Who was involved?

Sitra funded the project, and the people responsible for the project at Sitra were Riitta Silvennoinen and Nani Pajunen. The project was implemented by the Department of Design at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at Aalto University. Close co-operation with Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (ACRE), which manages the campus, was also part of the project.


Nani Pajunen
Senior Lead, Sustainability solutions

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