Working group: The growing diversity of the Finnish population needs to be taken into account in the planning and decision-making procedures in arts and cultural policy
The working group set up by the Ministry of Education and Culture proposes policies and measures to enable Finland's arts and culture policy to take better account of cultural diversity based on immigration and to make arts and cultural life a more equitable and equal in the future. The working group was commissioned to focus especially on using arts and culture to strengthen the inclusion and participation of those with a foreign background in arts and cultural life, and to promote intercultural dialogue by means of arts and culture. The working group submitted its final report to State Secretary Tuomo Puumala on Wednesday 20 January.
The increasing diversity of the Finnish population needs to be mainstreamed into the planning and decision-making procedures in arts and cultural policy. Key cross-cutting principles in promoting cultural diversity include the realisation of equity and equality, increasing intercultural interaction and enabling broad-based inclusion and participation.
The working group's proposals for measures relate to aspects such as public funding for arts and culture, skills development, employment and career prospects, and the content of arts and culture. Most of the proposals were discussed in workshops and web brainstorming organised by the working group, and in various networks.
The working group's final report underscores that, to achieve both the cross-cutting and sectoral and thematic cultural policy objectives, all actors will need to develop their competence. By increasing competence, it is possible to identify the opportunities offered by cultural diversity and related cultural development needs in all activities.
“I would like to thank the working group for its meaningful and far-reaching work. The actors in arts and cultural life play an important role in promoting cultural diversity and strengthening equity. We can all increase our own competence in matters related to cultural diversity,” said State Secretary Tuomo Puumala.
Cultural actors need to make a conscious effort to diversify their programmes and foster contents arising from different cultural heritages and aesthetic concepts. Art and cultural services need to be more easily accessible by lowering the threshold for participation in the planning, communication and implementation of activities.
It is also a joint task to create conditions for those with a foreign background to improve the knowledge and skills they need for working in Finland and advancing their careers. This can be done, for example, by providing more opportunities to learn Finnish and Swedish, by supporting the creation of professional networks and by providing information on Finnish cultural life and cultural policy.
The working group proposes that more attention should be paid to the opportunities offered by arts and cultural life in the integration services offered to immigrants. Arts and cultural life can be used to provide information about Finland and Finns, to increase people-to-people encounters and to promote intercultural dialogue. This will increase understanding of the new country of residence, reduce the emergence of racism and build a more equitable and equal Finland.
Pasi Saukkonen, chair of the working group, deems it important to have reliable information available on cultural diversity and on ways to implement and promote it. “We need to boost our knowledge base systematically on a broad base. The diversity barometer for arts and culture proposed by the working group is one good tool for monitoring and evaluating how well the objectives are met.”
The working group proposes that a programme be drawn up at the Ministry of Education and Culture to take account of the working group's policies and proposals for action, which, through concrete measures, promote cultural diversity from the point of view of immigration in cultural policy and in Finnish arts and cultural life. We will use indicators, studies and analysis to monitor the implementation of the programme as part of the guidance and management processes.
The working group consisted of experts whose host organisations included Ateneum Art Gallery, the Finnish National Gallery, Globe Art Point ry, Luckan Integration, Cultura Foundation, Tuglas Society, the Association of Finnish Theatres, Art and Culture Professionals’ Trade Union TAKU, Helsinki City Executive Office, Espoo Library Services and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, as well as independent artists and cultural professionals as well as experts from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Justice.
Art, culture and a diverse Finland. Final report of the Working Group for Cultural Policy, Immigrants and Promotion of Cultural Diversity
Pasi Saukkonen, Working Group Chair, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 9 310 36405, [email protected]
Maija Lummepuro, Senior Ministerial Adviser and working group secretary, Cultural Affairs, tel. +358 295 330 198, [email protected]