Asthildur Jonsdottir

I am artist, researcher, curator and art teacher living in Helsinki.  I have worked as a university lecturer at the Iceland University of the Arts, since 2009, where I worked as assistant professor before moving from Iceland. I  studied artistic actions for sustainability, community based art and participatory art practices when finding a balance between well-being and the integrity of nature. Concepts from critical, place-based education for sustainability, participatory pedagogy, collective efficacy and places /spaces are fundamental to my research interests.

My interests include arts and cultural movements that support sustainability at all levels. For a number of years I  have been involved with issues concerning the ecology of the planet. In my work I am concerned about places/ environment, memories, recollection and identity through authorship and collaboration, questioning individuality, exploring what is unique and what is common.

With my works, I want to bring attention to how human interaction can further both the understanding and practice of wellbeing with respect to the integrity of nature. In later years, participation has played an essential role in my works. With participation, I create settings for people to experience significance through actions performed in close connection with the spirits of nature. I often work with installations in contemporary context and with voices of participants from a selected place.

I am the curator of the exhibition Resistance that will be open from  3.2.2023 — 26.3.2028 at the Iceland National Gallery.

Resistance is an interdisciplinary exhibition for children of all ages, that bridges the gap between visual arts and science. The works in the exhibition are all in the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland. The word resistance refers to opposition in general, but it may also be read in the context of physics: the measure of a conductive material’s opposition to current flow. Resistance also signifies opposition to consumption, which we must all learn to take onboard. And resistance references essential action which must be taken by the inhabitants of this planet, against climate change.

Key words: participatory art, transformative learning, sustainability, inclusion






Doctor of Arts and PhD



astajons (at)

  • Jonsdottir, A. (2020). With Ellen Gunnarsdóttir and Guðbjörg Lind Jónsdóttir. Stories from the Sea: working with the SDGs in a community-based art workshop. In: Ferro, L., Wagner, E., Veloso, L., IJdens, T., Teixeira Lopes, J. (Eds.) Arts and Cultural Education in a world of Diversity. ENO Yearbook 2: Arts Education and Sustainable Development. Springer.

  • Jonsdottir, A. (2019). Critical thinking and Community Engagement through Artistic Actions. International Journal of Art & Design Education.

  • Jonsdottir, A. (2018). Critical Thinking and Community Engagement through Artistic Actions. The International Journal of Art and Design Education. 38. Special Issue: Visual Art-Based Education Research, 700-709.

  • Jonsdottir, A. (2017). Artistic Actions for Sustainability: Potential of art in education for sustainability. Finland: Lapland University Press.

  • Jonsdottir, A. (2015).  Teaching and learning for sustainability: An Icelandic practice- based research. International Journal of Education through Art, 11(3), 391-406.

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