Empathy within Biodiverse

Empathy within Biodiverse is a programme aiming at deepening the understanding of the interdependence of humans in the ecosystems our species lives within. The programme consists of different kinds of processes (workshops, discussions, exercises and their combinations) modified for several types of target groups. The aim of the programme is to open new perspectives for the participants to see their relations within the environment in the context of eg. worklife, politics or forestry and agriculture. The question that the programme wants to raise is: Is it possible to experience empathy in new ways towards entities that humans wouldn not necessarily empathise with when considering the biological basis of empathy as a human feature. Skills of empathy can be found through imagination and intuition as well as artistic means. Thus, Empathy within Biodiverse collaborates with individual artists, activists, researchers and organisations who work in the realm of ecological questions.

Examples of activities by EwB

Think like a Forest 18.-27.5.2018, Helsinki, Finland

‘Think Like a Forest was a project integrating art, science and activism to find new ways to address the climate crisis. In May during a 10-day camp in Vallisaari the students of University of the Arts Helsinki and University of Helsinki explored and share approaches from art and science in order to identify and then work with synergies. Course facilitators were John Jordan ja Isabelle Fremeux (

John and Isa together with Kira O’Reilly (MAECP) invited Mari Keski-Korsu to run a workshop for the students to strengthen their empathic relationships in between each other, to understand relations with the location and the forest there as well as how it relates to current situation with Finnish bio-economy.

Vekara Varkaus 11.-13.6.2018, Finland

Vekara Varkaus is a children’s’ arts & culture festival that has been organised every summer for 24 years in Varkaus, Finland. Interfaces for Empathy / Mari Keski-Korsu had an honor to be the artist patron of the festival; take part in designing the theme for the festival (environmental connection and empathy) and leading several empathy cultivating workshops for the children.

Tree Portrait workshop was a study of the linden trees in Kosulanniemi historical setting. Vastavoimaa workshop also happened in Kosulanniemi and took over the old sauna. The participants learnt what kind of affects different tree species have in sauna and how they increase our well-being.

Myötätuntokävelyt (empathy walks) were organised in Tyyskänniemi, a narrow cape reaching to the water where the urban and industrial soundscape mixes with birds singing and wind in the treetops. The participants did some breathing exercise, tasted birch sap, called the water entities and relaxed in hammocks in the small forest.

See also

Inter-Format Symposium 20.-24.6.2018, Nida Art Colony, Lithuania

The 8th Inter-format Symposium on Rites & Terrabytes at Nida Art Colony throughout 20th-24th of June brought together over 50 artists, researchers, philosophers, scientists, ritualists, musicians, and other kinds of practitioners to critically reflect on notions of indigenous culture today as well as reinvent traditional knowledges through Rites & Terrabytes.

Interfaces for Empathy was represented by Mari Keski-Korsu, contributing an additional discussion event to the programme. In this discussion Keski-Korsu use Patricia Hill Collins’ matrix of power analysing in order to create an empathy exercise for the participants to study colonialism and indignity.

See more at

(Un)Common Worlds - Human-Animal Studies Conference 7.-9.8.2018, Turku, Finland

The Finnish Society for Human-Animal Studies (YKES) organized the first international Human-Animal Studies conference held in Finland. The theme for the conference was (Un)common worlds: Contesting the limits of human-animal communities. The conference’s keynote speakers were Professor Erica Fudge,  Associate Professor Jamie Lorimer and the zoologist Helena Telkänranta. Interfaces for Empathy was represented by Mari Keski-Korsu who gave a talk about empathy in interspecies communication and how to develope emphatic skill together with other animals.

More at

Action Tank Working Towards Empathic Ecologies