Kirsi Manninen

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Artistic and research interests

Kirsi Manninen, MA, is a Helsinki-based costume designer, teacher of digital drawing and a doctoral candidate at the Department of Film, Television and Scenography, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The topic of her research is Creating a Character – Thinking and Communication through Analogue and Digital Costume Sketching fromthepoint of view of the costume designer. She has specialized in costume design and rendering, and is one of the pioneers of teaching digital drawing and its techniques on the touch screen in Finland and abroad.

Kirsi’s current activities moves fluently between research, costume design and research-ledteaching. Her career as a costume designer includes over one hundred productions in television, theatre and film as well as circus, dance, shadow theatre, black theatre, puppetry, Beijing opera, ice dance, mask theatre and multimedia. She worked over thirty years as scenographer for Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth, contributing the visual identity of the organization at an international level.

Her methodology as a costume designer has been the subject of other academic research, Master’s Thesis: ‘The Many Dimensions of Circus Costume – Kirsi Manninen as a costume designer in Winter Circus’, Author of the Master’s Thesis: Elisa Avikainen, University of Helsinki2016,  

She has had a solo exhibition celebrating her 25-years career as an artist at the Theatre Museum in Helsinki and has received a one-year artist grand from theArts Promotion Centre Finland

Artistic and research interests

Creating a Character – Thinking and Communication through Analogue and Digital Costume Sketching

My research investigates the creative process of costume designers by analyzing the ways in which designers utilise digital sketching in the process of character creation. The use of a touchscreen tablet as a sketchbook in the costume sketching process - drawing directly on a touch screen differs from traditional modes of drawing. What does it mean to draw costume sketches with the digital tools? The interaction with a screen creates a new potentiality for the costume sketching process. My research analyses the new choices, benefits and limitations of digital costume sketching on the touchscreen This is conducted in order to better understand what effects the digital sketching has on the aesthetic outcomes of the costume sketch and what influence the new technological process has on communication/s with the creative team. My project draws upon theories of creativity, artistic and designerly process, drawing as knowledge creation and aesthetics. It contributes to the burgeoning field of costume research by focussing on how the costume sketching is generated with digital tools.


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