ART AND ACTIVISM : Artivism on Edges – Art, Activism and Gendered Violence (2022-2026)

An art work of Spanish artist Sara Batuecas. Photograph by: Jonna Tolonen

Artivism on Edges – Art, Activism and Gendered Violence, funded by Kone Foundation 2022-2026


According to WHO (2017), “Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women – are major public health problems and violations of women’s human rights”. The aim of this research is to develop arts-based approaches to explore women’s art, activism and experiences of gendered violence in Finland and Spain. The study focuses on women artists and their activist art projects that express the themes of gendered violence, including researcher-artists working on the study. The aim is to understand the dynamics, visualisations and expressions of gendered violence and develop arts-based methods to increase awareness of violence against women in southern and northern European communities. By combining art and activism, the research focuses on how art in its creative forms incorporates political intention and how political action becomes creative. Artivism seeks expressive ways of political intervention, initiating new forms of action that lie beyond traditional paradigms of research. The project intends to not only raise awareness, mobilise people and redefine traditional political or societal issues and agendas but also reinvent art and transform existing concepts and distinctions.

The empirical research questions are as follows:

1)     What kinds of visual expressions and political actions can be created on gendered violence in Finland and Spain?

2)     What kinds of artivism (art and activism) are included in different communities facing violence against women?

3)     How can arts-based approaches be utilised in improving social change?

4)     What kinds of arts-based approaches can be developed to decrease gendered violence?

The research explores how artists and activists actively seek to oppose the various forms of violence against women, such as the use of force, fear, exploitation, control and anger, in their artworks. The societal impact of this research is to use art as a means of affective responses and visualising alternative futures. This will be realised by organising workshops, events and gallery exhibitions that visualise options and resistance. By producing affective spaces in galleries, public spaces and within communities, the research generates resilience and critical thinking related to violence against women. The outcomes are documented and the methods are modelled in such a way that they can be applied for wider use in disciplines and locations.

Researchers-artist in the project: Mari Mäkiranta (PI), Jonna Tolonen (post-doc researcher) & Simi Ruotsalainen (Doctoral student, visual artist)