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Summer Tip: Herring Day in Seili

Summer Tip: Herring Day in Seili

8 August 2024

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Open for public, free of charge

At the Archipelago Sea Research Institute in Seili, you will get to explore the Baltic Sea from a herring’s perspective – welcome! You will learn about marine research and herring, get a glimpse of the underwater world, and enjoy guided tours of the exhibitions.

Herring is a key species in the Baltic Sea ecosystem. Along these Northern shores it has also fed the development of human cultures. Baltic herring has fueled maritime travel and cultural exchange already for thousands of years. Thanks to herring the coastal communities survived even the hunger years.

These days, however, the environmental changes caused by human activities are severely affecting the herring population. Industrial waste has blinded the herring and now their hearing seems to be suffering. The herring in the Archipelago Sea is growing ever thinner as it adapts to the impacts of climate change.

”Herring is truly a political animal, our companion species in the natural-cultural history of the Baltic Sea region. Similarly our futures go fin in hand”, says curator Taru Elfving, the co-founder and director of CAA (Contemporary Art Archipelago).

The Intersection of Science and Art in Seili

The Archipelago Sea Research Institute of the University of Turku has been monitoring changes in herring and its habitat since the 1980s. The Archipelago Sea Research Institute is part of the Finnish University Research Stations Network and is one of the three marine research institutes in Finland located in maritime environments. As the institute celebrates its 60th anniversary, its long-term herring research also marks its 40th anniversary.

Known for its interdisciplinary collaboration at the intersection of art and science, CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago has been operating in the Turku Archipelago since 2009, bringing together international and local artists and researchers.

The Herring Day is co-organised by Archipelago Research Institute (Turku University) and CAA Contemporary Art Archipelago in collaboration with Imagining Godzilla and John Nurminen Foundation. The event is part of a long-term collaboration between art and science in Seili, which is presented in the exhibition At The Edges of Knowledge this summer at the Archipelago Research Institute in celebration of its 60th anniversary. The exhibition and the public event are supported by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Photo: Visit Seili
Arja Renell’s artwork Stressed Herring combines art and science. It was first seen in the Unknown Baltic Sea exhibition of John Nurminen Foundation in the summer of 2023. Photo: Petri Anttila

Stressed Herring returns to its home island

”How should we live in relation to our environment in an ever-changing global ecosystem, and as a cause of that change?“, asks artist and architect Arja Renell.

Arja Renell’s artwork Stressed Herring was seen at the exhibition Unknown Baltic Sea of John Nurminen Foundation, in Suomenlinnan island in the summer of 2023. The herring artwork returns this summer to its home island at the Archipelago Sea Research Institute of the University of Turku in Seili, once again renewed and still relevant as an art installation.

”We are in the midst of celebrating the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which prominently involves enhancing ocean literacy among people. The more people who gain an understanding of the ocean’s significance to our planet’s well-being, the greater the hope for a better future for our ocean and planet. This understanding translates into action”, says the John Nurminen Foundation’s Cultural Producer Elina Tuomarila.


12.30–13.00 60 Years of Research on the Changing Sea: guided tour of the Archipelago Research Institute

13.00-14.00 What’s up Herring?: how to read the otoliths (hearing bones) of herring and the food web of the sea, guided by biologist Katja Mäkinen at the Seawater Laboratory.

14.00–15.00 Below the Surface: view the seashore through water binoculars, snorkeling, swimming or floating, guided by biologists

15.00–15.30 Music performance organized by Imagining Godzilla and guests

15.30–16.00 At the Edges of Knowledge: exhibition tour with the curator Taru Elfving

16.00–16.30 60 Years of Research on the Changing Sea: guided tour of the Archipelago Research Institute

The program is open to the public, and participants can join any parts they wish. The event will be in Finnish and English

Transport to Seili

M/S Norrskär
Turku-Seili 9.30–11.15
Seili-Turku 16.30–18.15

M/S Östern
Nauvo-Seili 12.10–12.40
Seili-Nauvo 17.25–17.55

Photo: Visit Seili