NASS Helsinki 2023

Photo: Helsinki Music Centre

The 13th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies

Feeling – Skill – Knowledge

Helsinki, Finland, 7–9 June 2023

The 13th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies focused on the epistemologies and ontologies of signs and minds and how the processes of signification entail different aspects of feeling, skill, and knowledge. Connecting to the systemic relationality of the subject and the world, these viewpoints on doing and being, discourse and development have been at the heart of semiotics through the diachrony in various contexts. Now, in the rapidly, even brutally changing world, understanding signs, signification and their dynamics seems more crucial than ever, as it may affect securing how the human and their practices, their social systems and societies, cultures and the environment may flourish in whatever way the future will unfold.

The conference focused on how theories and research into meaning and signification address knowledge, skill, and feeling. The theoretical and empirical papers investigating the relations of this trio or any of the three concepts that are central to semiosis.

Keynote speakers:

• Prof. Kristiina Ilmonen, Sibelius Academy of the Uniarts Helsinki
• Prof. emer. Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen
• Prof. Dario Martinelli, Kaunas University of Technology

The final conference program and abstracts can be downloaded here.

Practical information

Arriving at downtown Helsinki and the Helsinki Music Centre

The conference venue is at the heart of the city, within a walking distance from the central railway station, neighboring the modern art museum Kiasma and the city library Oodi. Here, please find a map for the arrival routes from the Helsinki-Vantaa airport and the three ferry terminals serving traffic from Tallinn and Stockholm.

The Helsinki metropolitan area has a well-functioning public transportation system, known by its acronym HSL. The system includes local trains, trams, buses, metro, and even some local ferries. The HSL app is the key to getting tickets, although paper tickets are still available in certain locations. See for tickets, and for route search.

If you fly to Helsinki, you can take a local train from the airport to the railway station. At the airport, train in either direction (local trains P or I, that’s an upper-case i) takes you to the central railway station, in about the same time. For the travel, you need an HSL ticket for zones ABC. There is of course also a taxi option, with a fixed price to city centre.

If you arrive by ferry, you can take a tram from any of the three ferry terminals to the city centre. For that, you will need an HSL ticket for zones AB (there is no ticket only for zone A).

The main street, Mannerheimintie, which runs between the Helsinki Music Centre and Eduskunta, the parliament of Finland, happens to undergo renovation during the conference. This should not cause disturbance inside the conference venue, but be aware of the detours caused by the construction site as some of the pedestrian crossings might not be in use. Due to the construction, there is no tram service running to the stop closest to the venue (Kansallismuseo, The National Museum stop). Instead, currently the closest stops are either Lasipalatsi or Luonnontieteellinen museo (for trams) or the Rautatieasema (Central Railway Station, for trams, metro and local trains), all ca. 300-400 metres from the Music Centre. However, some bus routes do run, but again, the closest stop is either the Central Railway Station, or the Kamppi bus station, at about 400 metres.

Finding the conference location within the Helsinki Music Centre

The architecture of the Music Centre is somewhat unusual. When arriving at the Helsinki Music Centre, you will likely enter either the 3rd floor or the 4th floor. The main conference halls are in the 1st floor. If you arrive from the direction the Kansalaistori square or the railway station area, you will likely spot a statue with a giant pike standing on its tail, singing. Entering from that direction and level takes you to the 3rd floor which is the main public floor in the Centre. If you arrive from the parliament side, crossing the Mannerheimintie, you arrive at the 4th floor, and you can take the stairs (or elevator) to the 3rd floor and main lobby, passing by the ticket office. For the main location of the conference, take staircase (or elevator) from the main lobby all the way down to the 1st floor. There will be signs posted on music stands. See venue maps for halls and Agora. See also .

Finding the location for coffee breaks and the conference room S3101

On Friday, the Anniversary Symposium sessions are located at conference room S3101, as opposed to the Wed. and Thu. hall Organo. Room S3101 is in the 3rd floor of the Sibelius Academy tower, en route from the main conference halls (Sonore, Auditorium, and Organo) to Agora, our space for afternoon coffee breaks.

Agora, the coffee break space, is located in the 1st floor of the Sibelius Academy tower. The tower and the rest of the Music Centre are managed so, that the general audience – such as us – can access the other side only through one door, which is at the 3rd floor. In short, to get to the coffee break from Sonore, Auditorium, or Organo, we take the stairs (or elevator) up from the halls to the 3rd floor, walk across the 3rd floor main lobby (past the ticket office and the staircase to 4th floor) and through the door to the Sibelius Academy side, and enter its main lobby, go past the Sibelius Academy info booth, and take the stairs (or elevator) down to the 1st floor. Again, there will be signs up, on music stands.

At the coffee break, there will be sweet and savory options such as a cinnamon bun or a sandwich, and of course, tea and water as well. (To add: tap water in Finland is generally potable.)

The walk from the main conference halls to Agora gives us a few minutes exercise. The coffee breaks are scheduled for 30 minutes on Wednesday and Thursday, starting at 15.30. On Friday, we will close the conference during the coffee break at 15.30–16.30, followed by the NASS general assembly back in Sonore.

The reception desk

The conference reception desk will be open between 8 and 9 o’clock each morning in the 1st floor, Middle Foyer, between Sonore Hall and Auditorium. The Middle Foyer is behind the Lower Foyer, and there will be signs directing you there. There will also be a book exhibition arranged by the Semiotic Society of Finland. The registration desk will also be attended during the day, but not necessarily throughout the day.

Please check-in and pick up your nametag at the registration desk upon your arrival. The conference booklet is indeed only in electronic format, and the current version of the PDF is downloadable before and during the conference: The final conference program and abstracts can be downloaded here.

Testing of your connections before your presentation

If you are presenting, it would be advisable to try and test your connections before the session. A good time for this could be 

– for the first sessions of the day: the time between 8 and 9 when the registration desk is open,

– for the afternoon sessions: the beginning of the lunch break or the beginning of the coffee break.

The halls are run a bit differently from one another: 

– In each hall, you can use either your own laptop or a house computer for slides, or sound or video examples. The audio-visual connections are mainly HDMI, and there is a sortiment of other connections or adapters.

– If you present at Sonore or Organo, the house computer is a Mac, and there will be a technician to help us.

– If you present at the Auditorium, the house computer is a Windows machine, with an easy-to-use panel for the presentations.

– If you present in S3101 on Friday, we will send a separate message later.

NB! Even though there is WiFi available in the Music Centre, we are advised to minimize any live traffic over the internet during our presentations. This means that if you want to present e.g. sound or video examples as part of your presentations, it would be good to have them downloaded to your (or the house) computer and/or your presentation rather than having them as links.

NB! If you present in Sonore or Organo, and prefer using the house computer, we encourage you to send your presentation file(s) by email to at your earliest convenience. This way, the technicians could have them ready on the house computer for you.


We have scheduled a lunch break of 75 minutes for each day. Unfortunately, the Music Centre and the neighboring Uniarts student restaurants are closed, because of the semester end. The closest restaurant serving lunch is the Music Centre Café at the Main Foyer, 3rd floor. They serve a salad buffet, bread, and main course plus coffee/tea and dessert at 16 €. However, there are many lunch places in the vicinity of the Music Centre. More of these here. While we will mention some as examples, the list will not be complete, nor do we have any conference deal with any lunch place.

Wednesday evening reception at the City Hall

Please note that after the day at the Helsinki Music Centre, the Wednesday evening reception at 19.00 to which many have registered (thank you for that!), we head for the Helsinki City Hall, located downtown at address Pohjoisesplanadi 11-13. The distance from the Music Centre to the City Hall is about 1.4 km by foot, or 3 stops from Lasipalatsi stop till Senaatintori stop on trams 2 or 4 and ca. 700 m walk.  Please be prepared to show your invitation or confirmation of registering at entrance.

Thursday evening get-together and buffet at Botta Ballroom

The Thursday evening get-together at 20.00 is at Botta Ballroom, Museokatu 10, at the Ostrobothnian Student Nations’ building Ostrobotnia. The building within a walking distance from the Music Centre, diagonally across the street from the 4th floor doors. The registration for the get-together has closed – thank you for registering!

Friday evening, closing of conference, conference publication, and the NASS general assembly

As already mentioned, on Friday, we will close the conference during the coffee break at 15.30–16.30, followed by the NASS general assembly back in Sonore. As part of the closing session, we will inform you about the plans on the conference publication. The NASS general assembly follows the NASS constitution and its §4, which you can access at the NASS webpage, .

Help needed?

For questions or help during the conference, there will be members of the organizing committee (e.g. Juha Ojala), conference secretary Gonçalo Cruz, the concert hall attendant in duty, and other staff members to turn to. The preferred contact point is the registration desk. In Sonore and Organo, the technician on site will help with technical issues. Should there be need for audiovisual support in Auditorium or S3101, you can turn to the conference secretary or the concert hall attendant. If they cannot solve the issue, they know how to search for help further.

Conference presentations and sessions of presentations are in line with but not limited to the topics of:

  • Semiotic theories of knowledge, skill, and feeling;
  • Empirical semiotics of feeling, skill, and knowledge;
  • Dynamics of relations of knowledge, skill and feeling with or in the environment;
  • Knowledge, skill, and feeling in human and non-human organisms;
  • Artificial knowledge, artificial skill, and artificial feeling;
  • Knowledge, skill and feeling in the arts and sciences;
  • Learning and growth of knowledge, skill, and feeling;
  • Decay and problems of knowledge, skill, and feeling;
  • Knowledge, memory, cognition, brain, and body;
  • The social in knowledge, skill, and feeling;
  • Relationship of language and non-language with knowledge, skill, and feeling;
  • Cross-, multi-, inter-, trans- and a- in feeling, skill and knowledge of cultures;
  • Mediation of feeling, skill, and knowledge;
  • Feeling, skill, and knowledge in politics and leadership.

The conference was organized by the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies with local collaboration of the Semiotic Society of Finland and researchers from the University of the Arts Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Tallinn University, and Aalto University. The conference will be held at the Sibelius Academy of the Uniarts Helsinki. The facilities are located in the heart of the city, easily accessible, and close to many opportunities for accommodation and restaurants. The Helsinki metropolitan area has a well-functioning public transportation system. The 40th-anniversary symposium of the Semiotic Society of Finland will be held in conjunction with NASS XIII.


Registration 100 € (1 Feb – 15 Mar), 125 € (16 March – 30 Apr 2023)

Registration for the conference is now open, with the early bird fee in effect until 15 March 2023. For registration, please go to . In the registration form, please state if you have any special needs for your presentation, beyond data projection, sound reinforcement and internet connection. The confirmation by email and registration will allow us to make preparations for the conference and its schedule in time.

Graduate student award and grants

Eight graduate students presenting a paper at NASS XIII were supported financially by NASS. Based on reviewing the candidates, the scientific committee has awarded eight graduate student grants. The grant winners were:

Bacigalupi, J. Augustus
Campana Piva, Heidi
Cerutti, Michele
Gallegos González, Héctor Gerardo
Haapaniemi, Riku
Pitkäjärvi, Tiina
Rahmanova, Aynur
Zengiaro, Nicola

Two prizes along with a diploma for the best graduate student presentation were awarded at NASS XIII to Siiri Tarrikas and Hongjin Song.

Abstract submission.

The conference language is English. Abstracts should be submitted as a Word file attachment to, with subject line ”Abstract for NASS XIII”. Each abstract submission should contain: (1) The name of the author(s) (surname, given name); (2) Your affiliation (including country of residence); (3) Your email address; (4) The title of the paper; (5) An abstract of max. 500 words; (6) 3–5 keywords; (7) and a short bionote of max. 100 words. To be considered for the graduate student award and grants, please indicate whether or not you are a graduate student. Notification of acceptance will be given on 7 February 2023 at the latest (instead of 31 January 2023 as announced earlier), after which the registration will open. Kindly submit your abstract of max. 500 words by 31st of December 2022 to

Call for papers can be downloaded in pdf format here.

The organizing team in Finland:

Juha Ojala (Sibelius Academy of Uniarts Helsinki), Merja Bauters (Tallinn University), Lily Diaz-Kommonen (Aalto University), Aleksi Haukka (University of Helsinki), Sari Helkala-Koivisto (secretary, The Semiotic Society of Finland), Vesa Matteo Piludu (University of Helsinki), Samuli Salmi (University of Helsinki)