Aesthetics in the Age of Environmental Crises

14th International Summer Conference
“Aesthetics in the Age of Environmental Crises”.
June 3–5, 2021, ONLINE/ Lahti, Finland.

Environments and human living conditions are undergoing drastic changes both locally and globally due to human activity. We face challenges that make it difficult to live meaningful and ecologically sustainable lives. We build our identities and pursue experiences in numerous, ecologically harmful ways. In this situation, feelings of helplessness, distress, and fear are common. It seems we do not have practices for constructively sharing the burden of encountering global environmental change.

At the same time, the effects of climate change have not fully reached environmental aesthetics. Philosophers have written very little on aesthetics and climate change. Aesthetic values, sensibility, and imagination are important factors for mitigating environmental problems. We need these perspectives to be able to redefine the everyday, enrich our perception, and to look for new ways of being and doing.

In the conference, scholars, artists, and other professionals working with environmental issues explore the role of aesthetic values and aesthetic experiences in the age of environmental crises. The discussion considers the function of the aesthetic appreciation of natural and urban environments in the contemporary world. For example, the following questions will be addressed: What does aesthetic sustainability mean and how does it manifest itself? How does climate change influence our aesthetic appreciation of nature and built environments?

The congress exhibits an interactive artwork produced by the religiously unaffiliated performing arts collective Ilmastokirkko (The Climate Church). The collective seeks to find new ways to cope in the time of the looming ecological collapse and artistically explores the relationship between ecological crises and the sacred. The creation of the work can be followed in Finnish in a blog ( from September 2020 onwards.

The conference is organized by the International Institute of Applied Aesthetics (IIAA), the research project Environmental Aesthetics in Turmoil, and the performing arts project Ilmastokirkko (The Climate Church). The conference is supported by Lahti – European Green Capital 2021, the Lahti University Campus, and the Arts Promotion Center Finland (Taike).

Programme committee:

Jukka Mikkonen, University of Helsinki

Sanna Lehtinen, Aalto University

Arto Haapala, University of Helsinki

Noora-Helena Korpelainen, University of Helsinki


Noora-Helena Korpelainen, University of Helsinki,