Call for Abstracts: Experiencing Environments – Human Perspectives in the Changing World 2025

Experiencing Environments – Human Perspectives in the Changing World
XVI International Summer Conference of 
the International Institute of Applied Aesthetics
Lahti, Finland, 10–12 June 2025
Call for Abstracts
The International Institute of Applied Aesthetics (IIAA) invites paper and panel proposals for the 16th International Summer Conference, “Experiencing Environments – Human Perspectives in the Changing World.” With this three-day conference, the IIAA aims to bring together scholars from different fields and backgrounds to discuss the experiential side of human existence in relation to the multiplicity of living environments and conditions.
Human habitats are of very different kinds; they vary from vast megalopolises to isolated wilderness areas. Whatever the physical, social, cultural, or digital environment might be, we humans encounter it, first and foremost, with our senses. We see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, and in this way, are engaged with the environment. Clearly, we also try to make sense of our perceptions, place our perceptions into a conceptual setting of some kind, and orient ourselves with the environment.
The ways we encounter environments vary a great deal, for example, depending on our personal and cultural backgrounds. Whether there are any universally human ways to be in the world is an issue that many philosophers have explored. Are there certain interpretive strategies that help us to navigate the complexities of the world? Most importantly, how are we to cope within the constantly changing living conditions? In the foreseeable future, human living conditions are expected to undergo radical changes due to global warming and technological developments, and there are bound to be dramatic environmental changes. What is the role of aesthetic experiences and aesthetic values in all this?
To understand the complexity of these questions, a multidisciplinary approach is needed. Both empirical studies and conceptual analysis can throw light on the ways that humans experience the world and live in it. The IIAA has a long tradition of organizing fruitful multidisciplinary conferences, and “Experiencing Environments – Human Perspectives in the Changing World” will continue this successful tradition. The organizers encourage philosophers working especially in the phenomenological and pragmatist traditions to submit proposals without, however, excluding more analytically oriented approaches or perspectives from non-Western traditions. Moreover, empirical approaches and artistic studies on the ways people experience different environments and their aesthetic qualities are more than welcome.
We are looking for papers of 20 minutes duration, taking an interest in the following topics and questions, which are suggested here to inspire, not to limit, the discussion. After each presentation, 10 minutes will be reserved for discussion. In addition to individual papers, we are looking for interdisciplinary panels of 90 minutes duration (including discussion), focusing transactionally on one of the topics:
  •     Human ways of being in the world
  •     The role of different senses in experiencing environments
  •     Living with humans and other creatures
  •     Experiencing urban and natural environments
  •     Living in landscapes
  •     Empathy for natural landscapes
  •     Experiencing atmospheres
  •     Virgin naturescapes: an occasion to remember the past or to visualize the future?
  •     Habituation, preservation, touristification of environments and places
  •     Globalization and aesthetic diversity
  •     The variety of aesthetic experiences
  •     The aesthetic – one or many?
  •     Aesthetic experiences as sources for human flourishing?
  •     The role of scientific knowledge (e.g., from geology, ecology, biology, natural history) in experiencing and aesthetically appreciating environments
  •     The role of affectivity in forming aesthetic appreciation of nature
  •     Coping with environmental changes
  •     Care as an ethical / political / ecological / aesthetic notion
  •     Experiencing dystopias, imagining utopias, and vice versa
  •     Climate changes and aesthetic environmental transformations
  •     Geo-political and humanitarian crises: is it time for aesthetics?
  •     The temporality of (im)permanence, change, intergenerationality: aesthetic dimensions
  •     How can philosophers / psychologists / social scientists help humans to cope with changes?
  •     What is the role of aesthetic qualities and values in coping with the changes?
  •     Creative practices in the face of changes: are changes catalysts for aesthetic innovation?
  •     The role of aesthetic experience and art in environmental education
  •     The aesthetics of technologically mediated nature
Send your abstract (maximum 300 words) and three to five keywords to by 15 November 2024. Panel proposals should not exceed 500 words. Add information concerning whether you propose to present on-site or online, but do not add notes or a list of references. Communication of acceptance: 15 December 2024. 
Please note that only a limited number of online presentations can be included in the conference program. The conference will be conducted in English and on-site in Lahti, Finland. Information regarding the keynote presentations and the conference will be updated on the congress web page:
The IIAA is organising the conference in collaboration with the Lahti University Campus, the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Society for Aesthetics, and the city of Lahti. 
The registration fee for participants with a presentation is 150 EUR. The fee for students is 100 EUR. Limited online participation is possible for a fee of 50 EUR.
Programme committee: Arto Haapala, University of Helsinki; Fotini Vassiliou, University of Athens; Harri Mäcklin, University of Helsinki; Noora-Helena Korpelainen, University of Helsinki