Tietämisen viivoilla: Piirros tietäjänä ja piirtäminen tutkimusmetodologiana

Translated title of the contribution: Lines of knowledge. Drawing as a knower and as research methodology

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


This doctoral thesis studies drawing as a method and methodology by asking what it means to know by drawing, and what kind of knowledge can be reached by drawing. The work focuses on the philosophical assumptions related to drawing; drawing in relation to scientific methods; as well as the processes of artistic research. The research is characteristically epistemological, as the ways drawing outlines, forms, and justifies knowledge is explored. In particular, researcher’s relationship and understanding of D/drawing as an act, a form of knowledge and understanding as well as a subject in research is studied.

Whilst the thesis research began as ethnographic and autoethnographic research, the research is most strongly located in the field of art education, and conceived as artistic research with special alignment with a posthumanist approach. As visual autoethnography, both the Drawing and the researcher are autoethnographers and they carry out research by drawing. Inseparable from one another, drawing is perceived as a method, a research material, and a co-researcher. One of the main themes is to critically evaluate and define new types of publishing formats.

The doctoral thesis consists of four peer-reviewed articles, three of which have been published and the fourth is in the process of publication. The central concept of the first article is participation and the article deals with the use of art-based methods in elementary schools. It is founded on interview materials and drawn ethnographic observations (Kiilakoski & Tervahartiala 2015). In this thesis, the article is presented in its peer-reviewed form alongside previously unpublished illustrations that were created during the researched project. The second research article included in this thesis (Tervahartiala 2020) explores the materiality of the abstract entity, the Drawing (Piirros) as well as its conditions of existence and epistemology. The article, which composes drawings alongside the text, provides background and theorizing on drawing aims while aiming to avoid classifications and juxtapositions of text and visuals. The images also run alongside the text of the third article (Tervahartiala 2021), which focuses on care for the D/drawing and redefining its agency.

Throughout the thesis, the peer-reviewed text and images are presented differently than was possiblewith the constraints of their original publication formats. In the thesis presentation format, the composition and rhythm is different, further emphasizing Drawing’s agency. The fourth article,which is still in the publication process, mimics a deck of cards. This mixing of the deck of cardsgave the idea for the final presentation format of this thesis: The picture sides of the cards are presentedon the left-side of the two-part dissertation, while the research text runs on the right whichwas seen to allow a dialogical relationship between the two.

A total of 26 sketchbooks and more than 1,500 drawings were scanned and included in the materials for this artistic research. Most of these drawings were created during the research process in various contexts, and were previously unpublished. In addition to the claimed scientific contributions, by contributing to the development of methods and methodological knowledge of D/drawing, this research has wider social significance in promoting more accessible and approachable research. The significance of applied, usable, and comprehensible drawing lies in the knowledge that stretches, expands and challenges existing ways of knowing.
Translated title of the contributionLines of knowledge. Drawing as a knower and as research methodology
Original languageFinnish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Suominen, Anniina, Supervising Professor
Award date16 Dec 2022
Place of PublicationEspoo
Print ISBNs978-952-64-1048-7
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-1049-4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2022
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


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