Lead partner: Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Artform: Visual arts
Year funded: 2012
Funding strand: Strand 1.2.1. Cooperation projects
Amount awarded: €200,000 (50% of the budget)
Project start date: Sept 2012
Project end date: August 2014 


National College of Art and Design (NCAD) (Ireland); Association ISSP (Biedrība ISSP) (Latvia); Bildmuseet, Umeå Universitet (Sweden); The Estonian Academy of Arts (Estonia).


The Contemporary Self-Portraits (CSP) project focuses on giving individuals, local communities and different European regions ways of expressing their personal, local and European identity through self-portraits. Participants will gain an experience of being important, seen and heard as they are.

Other objectives of CSP are:

  • Developing workshop methods and ways of making self-portraits and communal art;
  • Encouraging international dialogue and cross-border cooperation of community art professionals, artists and students, in order to create regional self-portraits of different areas;
  • Producing period pieces of local and regional self-portraits and communicating local and regional identities through them.

The partner consortium has long-term experience in self-portrayal, method development, communal arts, curating, organising exhibitions and cooperation on a European level. CSP partners have defined their primary workshop target groups: disadvantaged communities, elderly, immigrants, school classes, students and work communities. However, the artists and other professionals who lead the workshops are also expected to gain new perspectives and bring ideas to their profession, as are the arts students and lecturers from the participating higher education institutions.

Main outputs:

  • Over 20 self-portrait workshops led by artists;
  • Experience of the importance and being seen and heard for many groups of people in several countries;
  • Exhibitions in each partner country presenting workshop results;
  • Compiled digital presentation of the selected workshop outputs from each partner country;
  • Exhibition during the final symposium presenting outputs from all workshops;
  • Printed publication about the project results and developed methodologies.
Further information


From the NCAD perspective, this project built on a pre-existing relationship with the communities in Fatima/Rialto, Dublin, which are close to the College campus. The notion of the Expanded Academy is one which we have been fostering over the last several years in the Fine Art Faculty in particular. This project gave our students and the participants from the community an opportunity to express their identity through the medium of self-portraiture. The international networking that has been a by-product of this project has led to an exciting future project in Finland for a group of our Media students. 

Irish organisation profile 

The National College of Art and Design, based in Dublin, has long been the most important art and design educational institution in Ireland. It offers the largest range of art and design degrees in the state at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In the past, many of the most important Irish artists, designers and art teachers have studied or taught in the College.