The Hjelt Lecture Series

The main initiative of the lecture series is to offer an international approach to the Finnish art scene by presenting speakers with various views on the topic of art. The lecture series are open to the public, from art enthusiasts, students and professors, to collectors, gallerists and other professionals within the field.

Amateur, Autodidact, and Beginner’s Luck: The Making of an Aesthete

 Wed, Nov 20th 2019 at 4 pm – 5.30 pm
Venue: Design Museum Helsinki, Korkeavuorenkatu 23 Högbergsgatan
Lecture in English.
 Free entry. No registrations.
 Please note, that the seats are limited.

Renowned journalist and Decorative Arts Editor of Architectural Digest (AD) Mitchell Owens will be speaking at the Design Museum on Wednesday, November 20th. Owens is an editor, reporter, curator, and scholar whose subjects range from architecture and design to social history and popular culture.

In his talk at Design Museum Helsinki he will address his relationship with Finnish design and architecture, and how it has impacted him over the years.

Scandinavian design has been a passion of Owens’s for many years. The very first design piece he ever owned was Alvar Aalto’s Savoy vase, which he describes to be ’brilliant, yet so very, very modest design’.

In his lecture Amateur, Autodidact, and Beginner’s Luck: The Making of an Aesthete Owens also gives insight into his career: how he became interested in design and became a design writer.

The lecture is organized in collaboration with Design Museum Helsinki and the Museum of Finnish Architecture, courtesy of Allan and Bo Hjelt Art Foundation.

Mitchell Owens:
Owens is currently working as the Decorative Arts Editor of Architectural Digest. In addition, he has written to other publications, among them The New York Times, The New York Times Style Magazine, Travel + Leisure, House Beautiful and The World of Interiors. Up until 2012 also wrote a blog called An Aesthete’s Lament, which was called “charmingly bizarre” by The New York Times Book Review and “one of the best style blogs on the web” by ELLE Decoration. In 2017, Mitchell Owens received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the New York School of Interior Design.

Mitchell Owens lives in Cooperstown, New York, with his husband and two daughters. His next book, A More Interesting Life, is a biography of style icon Pauline de Rothschild.

The End (and Ends) of Photo Criticism

Photographer: Harris Fogel


Time: 9 and 10 April 2019
Venues: Turun Taidehalli and Yrkeshögskolan Arcada

Titled “The End (and Ends) of Photo Criticism”, the lecture addressed Coleman’s professional experiences over the past half-century, changes in the field of photography during that period, and the shifting situation of photography criticism across those decades.

Celebrating his 50th year as a critic, historian and curator

Currently celebrating his 50th year as a critic, historian, and curator of photography and photo-based art, Allan Douglass Coleman has published 8 books and more than 2 500 essays on photography and related subjects. Formerly a columnist for the Village Voice, the New York Times, and the New York Observer, Coleman has contributed to ARTnews, Art On Paper, Technology Review, Juliet Art Magazine (Italy), European Photography (Germany), La Fotografia (Spain), and Art Today (China). His work has been translated into 21 languages and published in 31 countries.

Coleman received the Culture Prize of the German Photographic Society in 2002, the first critic of photography ever so honored. In 2010 he received the J Dudley Johnston Award from the Royal Photographic Society (U.K.) for “sustained excellence in writing about photography.” And in 2014 he received the Society for Photographic Education’s Insight Award for lifetime contribution to the field.

His widely-read blog “Photocritic International” appears at Since 2005, exhibitions that he has curated have opened at museums, galleries, and festivals in Canada, China, Finland, Hong Kong, Italy, Rumania, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan, and the U.S.

The talks were organised by Smidiga övergångar i Svenskfinland Development Project at Yrkesinstitutet Prakticum, in co-operation with Arcada University of Applied Sciences, The Museum of Finnish Photography, Photographic Centre Peri, Arts Academy – Turku University of Applied Sciences and Allan and Bo Hjelt Art Foundation.

Alternate History and Poetry Performance
Coleman’s presentation “Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day”, was followed by a poetry performance at Club F5.6 Lavaklubi at The Finnish National Theatre in Helsinki on April 9, 2019.


Humanitarian Architecture – Disasters, Development and Design Responsibility

Time: 21 and 22 November 2018
Venues: Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki and Migration Institute of Finland, Turku

Esther Charlesworth is a Professor in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University and Director of the Humanitarian Architecture Research Lab [HARB].

‘Humanitarian Architecture ’ is a collective belief that through a consultative process of spatial problem solving, the design profession can contribute in a significant way to the complex challenge of rebuilding a city and its community, following the event of a natural disaster.

Esther Charlesworth’s lecture explored her journey into humanitarian architecture over the last two decades and explored how she has merged theory and practice during her career in the establishment of Australia’s first design not for profit agency – Architects Without Frontiers.

Professor Charlesworth is the founding Director of Architects without Frontiers (AWF). Since 2002, AWF has undertaken over 42 health, education and social infrastructure projects in 12 countries for vulnerable communities, and has been described by ABC radio broadcaster Phillip Adams as ‘destined to develop into one of the greater forces of good on this battered planet ’.

At RMIT, Charlesworth is the Academic Director of Master of Disaster, Design and Development degree [MoDDD]. Since 1990 she has worked in the public and private sectors of architecture and urban design in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Boston and has published seven books on the theme of social justice and architecture, including: ‘Divided Cities ‘ (2009), ‘Humanitarian Architecture ’ (2014) and ‘Sustainable Housing Reconstruction ’ (2015).

The lectures were organised by the Department of Architecture at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture and the Museum of Finnish Architecture as part of the Interplay of Cultures program, and in collaboration with the Migration Institute of Finland and the Allan and Bo Hjelt Art Foundation.

Can architecture build a better world?

Interplay of Cultures – the Museum of Finnish Architecture’s leading autumn exhibition – celebrates the 25th anniversary of education in global sustainability and humanitarian development at Aalto University, while also raising concern regarding the current state of world affairs.

The exhibition 
Interplay of Cultures is on until February 24, 2019 at the Museum of Finnish Architecture.