Photography research at Aalto is mainly conducted at the doctoral level. In addition, we host a biennial international photography research conference, the Helsinki Photomedia, which was established in 2012.
Our doctoral program prepares respected academic researchers and artist/researchers capable of grasping and analyzing the rapidly changing world with photography at the center of their practice. We have educated doctoral students in the field of photography since early 1990´s.
We focus on three approaches in photography research.
The first is photography as a research object including theoretical and empirical research of photography.
The second approach is photography as a research tool or method where photography is used in social and environmental projects such as, for example, re-photographing landscapes or organizing photography workshops for homeless people.
Thirdly, we examine photography through artistic research where photographs are part of research results.
You may find the list of completed doctoral dissertations and their topics here.
Our doctoral programme is designed to be completed in 3-4 years (full-time) and leads to a Doctor of Arts degree (60 study credits plus doctoral dissertation). The degree includes general research studies, studies in the field and supporting the research work of the candidate. Regular seminars serve as the backbone for students conducting their research which is mainly undertaken independently, but supported by appointed advisors and supervisors. It is possible to include conference presentations, exhibitions and published articles in refereed journals, as parts of the research and degree.
Professor Harri Laakso is responsible for photography research and doctoral studies.