Maarit Mäkelä works as an artist and researcher in the context of contemporary ceramics. Her artistic work deals with femininity and her research interests lie in practice-led research and materiality. She conceives craft making as a philosophical space that enables us to think through the ethical and ecological concerns related to the stage of our environment. For her, this is a valuable practice through which to (re)consider the relationship between human and nature profoundly – not only from an individual perspective, but also from a cultural and non-anthropocentric one. Mäkelä works as Associate Professor for Design at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture where she leads the Empirica research group and the Contemporary Design major of the Master’s Programme in Design.


2012– Associate professor for Design, especially Practice-led design research, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design. Espoo, Finland.


2021–2022 Visiting Professor of artistic research, Academic year, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, Estonia
2015 Visiting Professor, AUT University, Art + Design School. Auckland, New Zealand.
2009–2011  Coordinator, Design Connections Doctoral School, University of Art and Design. Helsinki, Finland.
2009 Counselor-Supervisor, IHME production: Clay and the collective body, organised by Pro Arte Foundation. Helsinki, Finland.
2004–2006 Postdoctoral Research Fellow,  School of Design, University of Art and Design. Helsinki, Finland.
2000–2004 Teacher in workshops in ceramics, University of Art and Design Helsinki, Department of Art Education. Helsinki, Finland.
1998–2001 Teacher in Visual Arts, The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. Helsinki, Finland.
1999 Researcher, funded by Academy of Finland, University of Art and Design Helsinki, Department of Ceramics and Glass Design. Helsinki, Finland.
1984–1989 Class Teacher, City of Helsinki Educational Department. Helsinki, Finland.


2010 Docent of Artistic research and Material-based art, Aalto University School of Art and Design. Helsinki, Finland.
2003 Doctor of Arts, University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH, School of Design. Helsinki, Finland.
1994 Master of Arts, University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH. Helsinki, Finland.
1992–1993 Department of Ceramics and Glass Design Erasmus scholarship, The National College of Art and Design, Dublin / Faculty of Fine Art, painting. Dublin, Ireland.
1986 Artisan, Kuopio Academy of Design / Department of Ceramics. Kuopio, Finland.
1984 Master of Education, University of Helsinki. Helsinki, Finland.
1980 Matriculation, Helsingin II Normaalikoulu. Helsinki, Finland.


2020 Aalto University, Department of Design
2015 AUT University
2007 Kordelin Foundation
1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 University of Art and Design Helsinki
2003 Finnish state art scholaship, 1/2-year artist grant
1985, 2001, 2002 Finnish Cultural Foundation
2009, 1998 Finnish state art scholarship, project grant
1997 University of Art and Design Helsinki foundation
1997 Cultural Foundation for Sweden and Finland, travel grant to Stockholm
1997 Finnish state art scholarship, travel grant to Tallinn
1995 Finnish state art scholarship
1992 Erasmus scholarship, for studies at Dublin NCAD
1992 Maj and Tor Nessling foundation


2022–2026 Academy of Finland, Unfolding Sense of Water: care across boundaries. In collaboration with Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Finnish Environment Institute (Aalto University takes care of the artistic contribution of the project.)
2022–2024 Aalto University / Radical Creativity funding, Radical Ceramics: rethinking geopolymers, Consortium partner Jussi Leveinen (Aalto ENG)
2020–2021 Erasmus+, An Open Educational Resource to facilitate transparency, internationalisation and evidence of excellence for the European doctorate in design, Consortium partners from 4 European countries
2020–2024 Academy of Finland, Materiality, maker practices and design studio pedagogy at the digital age, Consortium partner Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, University of Helsinki
2019–2020 Business Finland / Co-Creation funding, Keramiikan 3D tulostuksen liiketoimintamahdollisuudet, Consortium partner Jouni Partanen (Aalto ENG)
2015–2018 EU / Creative Europe, ‘Ceramics and its Dimensions’ Consortium partners from 11 European countries
2013–2016 Academy of Finland, ‘Handling mind: Embodiment, Creativity and Design’ Consortium partner Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, University of Helsinki


2020 Design Club Open Call by Design Museum, Helsinki, Finland, winner with the ‘Soil Matters’ concept, in collaboration with Riikka Latva-Somppi
2019 Whitegold International Ceramics Prize, St Austell, Cornwall, UK (Finalist), in collaboration with the ‘Working with Soil’ group
2004 Suomen kirjataiteen toimikunta, doctoral dissertation awarded in the non-fiction category
2000 Lappeenranta I. international pottery competition, Käsityömuseo/Honourable Mention
1992 Teachers cultural event, 1st prize in ceramics, Finlandia Hall, Helsinki


Finnish Painters’ Union
Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo / Artists O
International Academy of Ceramics


2018 2nd International Black Pottery Symposium, The Museu la Terrissa de Quart, Spain
2018 International Ceramics Symposium ‘Dialogue’, Zvartava castle, Latvia
2016 1st International Black Pottery Symposium, The Museu la Terrissa de Quart, Spain
2015 University of Tasmania, Tasmanian College of Arts, Hobart, Australia
2010 46th International Ceramic and Sculpture Symposium. Boleslawies, Poland
2008 FuLe Residence Programme, Fuping, China
 ‘Glaze Storm in Finland’, Voipaalan taidekeskus, Valkeakoski, Finland
 ‘Glaze Storm in Tallinn’, Art Academy of Estonia, Ceramics Department, Estonia
1999 IV. International Ceramic Symposium of Suvalova, St. Petersburg, Russia
1998 I. International Ceramics Symposium of Somero, Finland


2013-2022 [Editor-in-chief 2020-2022] Editorial board of RUUKKU – Studies in Artistic Research (National Journal)