Research Summary: In her doctoral dissertation, Tua Helve explores elements central to current practices of costume design within contemporary dance by analyzing performances premiered in Finland from 2000 to 2015. These elements include the intertwining of processes and outcomes as experienced by Finnish costume designers and the ways in which production structures influence costume practices, and thereby shape the costume designer’s agency. To provide an in-depth understanding of these interrelationships, the research focuses particularly on the work of three renowned practitioners – Marja Uusitalo, Erika Turunen, and Karoliina Koiso-Kanttila. By identifying the distinctive features, visions and viewpoints that are specific to costume designers in Finland, this research maintains that the Finnish perspective on design processes offers insights of relevance and interest to the international community of costume practitioners and scholars.
The following articles have been published from the project: Helve (2018) “Political by Design: Costume Design Strategies within the Finnish Contemporary Dance Productions AmazinGRace, Noir? and The Earth Song” in Nordic Journal of Dance (9:1); Helve and Pantouvaki (2016) “Sharing ‘untamed ideas’: Process-based costume design in Finnish contemporary dance through the work of Marja Uusitalo” in Scene (4:2).
Biography: Tua Helve is a doctoral candidate at Aalto University, Department of Film, Television and Scenography, an active member of Costume in Focus research group, and a costume designer specialized in contemporary, process-based working methods. Tua’s research interest in the costume designer’s processes in the field of dance expands beyond her doctoral thesis. She lectures on this topic from various perspectives in Finland and abroad and supervises BA and MA students at Aalto University. Furthermore, she is a member of several associations in the field and a board member in the Theater Research Society in Finland. Her long-term collaborations as a costume designer include work with the Helsinki-based international performance group Oblivia.
Supervising Professor: Sofia Pantouvaki
Thesis Advisors: Sofia Pantouvaki, Johanna Laakkonen (external)