Present – A series of discussions on the future of culture

Present – A series of discussions on the future of culture

Present is a series of online discussions focusing on the future of cultural events and activities. We live in a time of big changes. Coronavirus, climate change and societal movements challenge us to rethink our practices. What kind of future are we creating?

These topics are explored by prominent Finnish, British and Irish professionals. The conversations are documented by business illustrator Virpi Oinonen.

Coming up:

25.11. 17.00-18.15 (UK time) Equality in arts education: Arts and culture as children’s rights

Past events:

11.11. Choreographing intimacy: Trust and boundaries in acting

Recently #metoo movement has raised awareness of issues related to intimate scenes in films and theatre. A new profession has emerged in this field, intimacy coordinators. What do they do, and why is their work important? How is the film industry changing in relation to intimate scenes? What does this all mean from an actor’s perspective?

We invited Lyndsay Duthie, CEO of The Production Guild of Great Britain, intimacy coordinators Pia Rickman and Enric Ortuño, and the award-winning Finnish actor Mimosa Willamo to discuss the work and impact of intimacy coordinators.

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

28.10. Finntopia – British perspectives on the world’s happiest country

In 2018, 2019 and 2020, the UN’s World Happiness Report ranked Finland the world’s happiest country. What is it about Finland that makes the country so successful and seemingly such a great place to live?  In their new book Finntopia, Danny Dorling and Annika Koljonen explore what we might learn from Finnish success. The world’s happiest country was also the subject of a recent project by Brighton-based photography collective MAP6. Nine photographers visited Finland focusing on themes around happiness.

The Finnish Institute and Embassy of Finland in London invited Dorling and MAP6 photographers Rich Cutler and Paul Walsh to discuss their findings on Finnish happiness. The London correspondent of Helsingin Sanomat, Annamari Sipilä was also invited to comment from the perspective of a UK-based Finn.

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

14.10. The future of artist residencies: Sustainable travel, presence and practice

What could an artist residency programme that prioritises sustainability and environmental concerns look like? The corona pandemic brought almost all travel to a halt, and also artist residencies have had to deal with a situation where mobility is no longer possible. At the same time, the climate crisis calls for a systemic reconfiguration of the whole artist residency system. How do artist residencies navigate this complex situation? What could an artist residency programme that prioritises sustainability and environmental concerns look like?

We discussed the future of residencies with director Sam Trotman at Scottish Sculpture Workshop, media artist and film director Timo Wright at Artist Residency Swap and coordinator of ecological activities Jaana Eskola at the Saari Residence.

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

 

30.9. Together Alone: Artists share experiences from the Finnish Institutes’ virtual open call projects 

In March The Finnish Institutes’ network launched an open call for artists who had lost work opportunities because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project called Together Alone looked into international art projects that didn’t require physical contact. Working in a new situation required artists to bravely develop new skills and try out new digital approaches.

Choreographer–artistic director Sonya Lindfors brought her communal workshops online. Choreographer Emrecan Tanis directed a dance video through Skype. Circus artist Sakari Männistö made a performance for 360 degrees camera. We invited them to share their experiences and learnings!

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

16.9. Accessible orchestras: Connecting with audiences beyond the hall

Many traditional classical music enthusiasts have strived to diversify classical music audiences long before the Covid-19 crisis. Now their work is facing a new sense of urgency. What if traditional audiences are unable to come to our venues? Are digital and virtual performances the answer? Can the crisis help us reevaluate our approaches to connecting with audiences, old and new?

Jacqui Cameron, education director at Opera North, Sarah Derbyshire, CEO of Orchestras Live and Annika Kukkonen, education producer at Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra shared their insights on future of audience work.

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

9.9. Expanding live-experiences: The digital future of theatre

This spring the corona pandemic forced theatres and performance venues to close their doors. Little by little venues are opening their doors again, but do audiences dare to come back and is it safe? Are digital and virtual performances the answer? What are we actually talking about when we talk about digital theatre?

Matt Adams from Blast Theory, Amy Letman from Transform, Kris Nelson from LIFT Festival and Maria Oiva from the Finnish #digiteatteri digital theatre collective shared their insights and thoughts on the future of digital in theatre and the performing arts. 

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

2.9. Making your festival virtual: No portable toilets needed

This year, many festival organisers have been forced to take their festivals online. How to do this in an exciting and sustainable way?

Last spring Hangö Teaterträff had to quickly take their traditional theatre festival online, and they did it well! Around the same time Lakes International Comic Arts Festival decided that instead of hoping for the Covid-19 statistics to go down, they would build an ambitious digital event for October. DEMO Moving Image Festival is a digital-born festival that took place for the first time this summer.

Heidi Backström from Hangö TeaterträffJulie Tait from Lakes International Comic Arts Festival and Pekka Airaxin from DEMO festival shared their insights on the art of organising online festivals.

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

26.8. How will festival cities survive Covid-19? Lessons from Edinburgh, Galway and Helsinki

Cultural leaders from Helsinki, Edinburgh and Galway gathered on Wednesday 26 August for a discussion on festival cities’ pandemic-proof strategies organised by the Finnish Institute in London. 

Edinburgh and Helsinki are renowned as summertime capitals of culture and Galway, in turn, is the current European Capital of Culture. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has caused most events to be cancelled over the past months. How has the crisis impacted these cities’ identities? How have local communities been taken into account? How do you establish a sense of place in a virtual environment? 

The inaugural edition of the Finnish Institute in London’s Present-series featured panelists Julia Amour, Festivals Edinburgh Director,  Marilyn Gaughan Reddan, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture’s Head of Programme, and Sanna Forsström, the City of Helsinki’s Head of Events. The event was hosted by the Director of the Finnish Institute, Emilie Gardberg

Here’s a visual summary of the discussion by Virpi Oinonen:

 

 


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