Border Aesthetics

Border Aesthetics

A transdisciplinary research project (2010-2013) under the Research Council of Norway KULVER programme, initiated by the Border Poetics Research Group at the University of Tromsø.


The Border Aesthetics project investigated how changing perceptions of borders relate to shifting practices of aesthetic evaluation. It drew upon two guiding observations that must inform any notion of a border aesthetics, these being a) that aesthetic theories and practices regularly invoke and engage with notions of the border; and b) that borders are in turn capable of producing aesthetic effects and can themselves be conceived of as aesthetic objects.

It pursued its primary objective both through theoretical reflection and a sequence of interlocking case-studies that focus on the literature, film and video art produced by creative artists working in or imagining border regions and the Barents Region in particular. In the process, it also explicitly addressed the question of how aesthetic activity participates in the processes by which people relate to the real and conceptual geographies in which they live and through which they move. This focus was both socially-engaged and inquisitive about the dynamic ways in which cultural phenomena are ascribed value through aesthetic practice.

At the same time, the project was situated at the vanguard of current thinking about aesthetics. For the concentration on border regions enabled it not only to explore and develop further the, relatively new, field of migratory aesthetics, but it also requires the formulation of what might provisionally be called a zonal aesthetics and an aesthetics of the borderscape. Indeed, one of its principal goals was precisely to establish how a new 'aesthetics of space' of a kind likely to be required by its study of the divergent groups, objects, values and activities that inhabit and pass through the border zones it surveyed could be instantiated, negotiated, evaluated and described.


2010  Internal initial workshop, Kirkenes

2011  Internal case studies and book planning workshop, Rome

2012  "Border Aesthetics" open conference and book workshop, Tromsø

2013  Internal book workshop, Oslo

2014  Special issue of Nordlit

2017 Border Aesthetics book published

Research activities

  • the Barents Region (case study articles)
  • the Mediterranean and other transnational border regions (case study articles)
  • Border Aesthetics (collaborative monograph)

KULVER / Research Council of Norway

The Research Programme on Assigning Cultural Values (KULVER) is the Research Council of Norway's programme for cultural research for the period 2008 to 2012. Border Aesthetics project code: 194581

Internal web site
for project participants only:

Border Aesthetics (2010-2013), et NFR-finansiert forskningsprosjekt (KULVER) koordinert av forskningsgruppa Border Culture/Border Poetics ved HSL-fakultetet.

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Page administrator: Parks, Justin Michael
Last updated: 16.12.2021 08:52