Susanna Suurla

Susanna Suurla

AALTO PhD Student

Research Summary: My artistic research examines how meaning is negotiated in dialogue with materiality in costume designer’s creative work, and explores how this process influences the inner world of the designer. With this research I seek to shed new light on costumes material agency by examining the processes of ideation, embodied cognition, and material engagement in the creative practice of costume. Alongside my personal artistic investigation, my research employs collaborative workshops with other costume designers. Through these workshops, I explore and develop immersive and observational material-led approaches for costume practice that offer alternative ways of experiencing and understanding costume materiality and lead to new approaches/methods for costume designers’ creative work.    


Biography: Susanna Suurla is a costume designer, a part-time lecturer in costume design and a doctoral candidate at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Her recent artistic work and research explore the relationship between material agency and meaning-making employing different mediums of material engagement, including costume design, installation and video art. Since 2019, she has worked as a part-time lecturer for the Costume Design major at Aalto University. Her teaching includes theory-based artistic workshops focusing on corresponsive approaches to material creativity and advising students on collaborative methods in costume design in courses focusing on devised performance. She also advises MA students in their thesis works and artistic projects. Susanna’s educational background is in costume design (MA, Aalto University, 2017), virtual fashion design (BA, EVTEK University of Applied Science, 2007) and dressmaking (Artisan, Vantaa Vocational School, 2002). 

Supervising Professor: Sofia Pantouvaki 

Thesis Advisors: Sofia Pantouvaki, Liesbeth W. Groot Nibbelink (external)