Co-operation in the cultural sector and sustainability discussed in Suomenlinna

08.10.2019

What role does culture play in the climate crisis? How can Nordic co-operation in the cultural sector contribute to sustainable development? These are just a couple of the questions that were raised at the annual meeting of Nordic Culture Point’s stakeholder groups, which this year was hosted in Suomenlinna on 24 and 25 September. The two days of meetings saw the sharing of information and experience between the secretariat, other Nordic institutions for culture, and the various expert groups for the funding programmes. The event culminated in a workshop on sustainable development.

In a world where the extent and impact of climate change on nature and humanity is difficult to take in, the role of artists and art itself was found to be more important than ever.

The workshop leaders Aura Seikkula and Krista Petäjäjärvi from the Arts Promotion Centre Finland noted how our awakening to climate change and the unsustainable consumption patterns of the western world are also giving rise to changes in how we talk about art.

“Value creation in art is changing. Artists must lead the discussion to where the public’s interests are. The role of art in decision-making and education is also seeing a paradigm shift in which artists increasingly have a dialogic role,” said Petäjäjärvi.

Through art and culture, people can be readied for taking in and processing these revolutionary processes, which is a prerequisite for being able to change their own behaviours. The workshop participants also stated that the role of artists must continue to be free and uncontrolled to ensure that art is not overinstrumentalised, not even for the purpose of improving the world.

Some specific measures were discussed, including more efficient and low-emissions travel, the potential for P2P mentoring, and regular follow-ups and reporting that can set examples in the cultural sector.

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