Accessibility and diversity of culture

Pistekirjoituskirjain. KUVA: RodeoThe Ministry of Education and Culture aims to provide linguistic and cultural minorities, persons with disabilities and other special groups with opportunities to participate in culture and express their creativity on an equal basis with the rest of the population.

Arts and culture must be accessible to all. The realisation of equality and non-discrimination requires often that the special needs of the different minority groups are taken into account when designing services and support forms.

Action plan to promote diversity in the arts and culture

The Ministry of Education and Culture has drawn up an action plan to promote diversity in the arts and culture. The action plan aims to take into account the diversity of the Finnish population in all planning and decision-making in the arts and cultural policy.

The action plan aims to promote equity and gender equality, to recognise the diversity of cultural heritage, to strengthen intercultural dialogue, and to enable the development and utilisation of the knowledge and skills of everyone living in Finland, in work and leisure.

The action plan contains six sets of measures that promote cultural diversity, equity and integration in cultural policy, in the agencies of the Ministry's branch of government, in the national art institutions, and in the cooperation carried out with cultural communities.

Arts and culture policy to take account of diversification of population

The Ministry of Education and Culture’s working group 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 more equitable and equal in the future. The working group submitted its final report, ‘Art, Culture and Diverse Finland’, in January 2021. 

The working group's proposals relate to aspects such as public funding for arts and culture, skills development, employment and career prospects, and the content of arts and culture. (Press release, Ministry of Education and Culture, 20 January 2021)

Dialogue cards promote cultural diversity and sustainable development

Dialogue cards are a tool developed by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland. The cards enable organisations in the arts and cultural sector make their activities more equal and sustainable. The dialogue cards are available free of charge.

The dialogue cards are used in three-hour workshops to discuss how cultural diversity and sustainable development become visible in work communities and in the sector and how the organisation can take better account of them in its activities.

The dialogue cards are a response to the Ministry's working group's proposal for a cultural policy measure and to ‘An Equal Finland’, the Government’s action plan for combatting structural racism and promoting good relations between population groups through the tasks and objectives assigned to branches of government.

To find out more and order the dialogue cards, visit Dialogue cards (Taike).

Previous working groups on migration issues

The Access to Art and Culture committee set as a goal in its final report (2014) that the cultural rights of especially the linguistic and cultural minorities and persons with disabilities shall be reinforced.  

In the Meaningful in Finland action plan (2016), the Ministry determined measures to be undertaken to enhance multiculturalism, inclusion and equality and to combat hate speech and racism.  

The Arts Promotion Centre grants subsidies for the promotion of accessibility of arts and culture and the promotion of multiculturalism.

Accessibility library Celia serves print disabled people and functions under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Accessibility of culture

Cultural supply is accessible when different groups and communities are able to use it and participate in it easily and without obstacles.

Accessibility of culture may be improved through removing obstacles for participation. These obstacles may have to do with sensory difficulties, communication, difficulties in understanding, attitudes, physical or economic factors, or shortcomings in the decision-making.

Lack of means may also constitute an obstacle. The project Kulttuuripassi and its follow-up project Kaikukortti, both supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, aim to improve the possibilities for financially hard-pressed young people, adults and families to participate in the cultural life and to do art as a hobby.

These activities are coordinated by the service Culture for all.

Promotion of languages and cultures of cultural minorities

There are strong minorities with long traditions in Finland, such as the Swedish-speaking Finns and the Saami people. Other linguistic and cultural minorities include sign language users, the Roma, Old Russians, Tatars, and various immigrant groups. Immigration continues to increase multiculturalism in Finland. The various groups of persons with disabilities, members of different religious communities, sexual minorities, and different age groups also have their own cultural special features.

Of the national cultural minorities, the Saami, as an indigenous people, as well as the Roma and certain other groups have a statutory right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. The Saami have a cultural autonomy, which the Saami Parliament is responsible for.

An action programme to revive the use of Skolt Saami, Inari Saami and Northern Saami was adopted by government resolution in 2014. The programme aims to reinforce early childhood education and care and language nest activities in Saami as well as to develop the instruction of the Saami language.  Language planning, recording and research as well as the Saami culture are being promoted within the programme. The objective of the programme is to increase the number of Saami speakers, to promote the provision of services in Saami, and to enhance the respect for the use of the Saami languages.

Subsidies granted by the Ministry are also used to support the publication of newspapers and online publications in Swedish, Saami, Karelian, Romani and the sign language, and to support the production and publication of other materials in Saami and Karelian.