Staff’s choice: a toast to the Thames

Staff’s choice: a toast to the Thames

The Finnish Institute’s staff shares their recommendations for an adventurous start to autumn.


Annika’s pick: Totally Thames festival

The time for the annual month-long celebration of The River Thames has arrived, although in a slightly smaller format, comprising half live events and half digital experiences. The festival is all about unique, diverse and accessible arts and culture, not to forget about the emphasis on heritage and education work. The events take place along the whole 43 miles of the Thames riverfront. Instead of usual big live concerts and other mass events, this year there will be social distanced guided walks, workshops and exhibitions. I’m looking forward to seeing the hazy paintings in Anna Keen’s exhibition ‘London the Metamorphosis’ either live or through a virtual tour.

From 1st to 30th September, more info and digital events


Jaakko’s pick: London Design Festival

London Design Festival takes place in a hybrid form this year. One of the most interesting online programmes is the Virtual Design Destination by Adorno, which presents fourteen virtual country pavilions with new work by more than 100 independent designers and studios. The curators of the participating countries were asked to reflect on the time of lockdown. They each worked with local designers to develop narratives on how this time resonates with topics like gender, urbanisation, climate, isolation, and healing, among others. Each day during the festival different collections will be highlighted with guided virtual tours by the curators. Tune in for Finland’s turn on Wednesday 16 September at 10AM UK time, curated and hosted by Suvi Saloniemi.


Ninni’s pick: Mushrooms at Somerset House

My autumns in Finland are filled with  a slight mushroom picking mania. Because of travel restrictions my impeccable mushroom radar will be of little use this year. To comfort myself I’m planning to spend another kind of afternoon surrounded by mushrooms at Somerset House’s Mushrooms exhibition. The exhibition showcases mushroom inspired art and experimental design that utilises fungi as material. In the evening I will make soup out of dried funnel chanterelles I still have left from last year. I will probably look at them in a whole new way. 

Mushrooms – The art, design and future of fungi. Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA, until 13th September, free entrance, booking required


Sara’s pick: Public art pieces around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

As I recently came back to London, I’m up for exploring some local areas again. Next up on my to-do list is a stroll to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and checking out the public art pieces there, particularly The Slide (2016) by Carsten Höller, the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide. You can book tickets to slide it down  all the 178 metres but due to the pandemic I will skip it this time. Another public art piece available in September is London Design Festival’s glasshouse installation The Hothouse by architecture practice Studio Weave. The Victorian Glasshouse installation will grow edible, exotic and rare plant species and seeks to open a discussion about climate change.

The Slide, ArcelorMittal Orbit, 3 Thornton Street, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 2AD


Volter’s pick: Among the Trees at the Hayward Gallery 

Galleries are gradually emerging, in new forms, from their Covid hibernation. One new exhibition that piqued my interest is Among the Trees at the Hayward Gallery. Among the Trees is a group exhibition showcasing 37 artists from across the globe. The exhibition explores how trees ‘challenge how we think about time, and consider how intimately entangled they are with human affairs’. In many ways, it seems strangely appropriate, in the current climate, to explore nature’s complexity indoors…  The exhibition features Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s work Horizontal – Vaakasuora. 

Among the Trees. Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, Bishop’s, London SE1 8XX, until 31 Oct 2020, standard ticket: £12, pre-booking essential:


Emilie’s pick: Inside Out at Southbank Centre

After months of closure many organizations are finding new ways to reach their audiences. Southbank Centre presents a series of high quality live on-line content this fall as part of their Inside Out programming. The first live concert in the series will feature the London Philharmonic Orchestra performing a moving programme including the momentous Faith symphony by Beethoven and seven songs by Sibelius, arranged by Rautavaara. The songs, which give a strong feel of the relation between Finnish nature and Sibelius music,  were orchestrated by Rautavaara for acclaimed bass-baritone Gerald Finley who also will perform them at the concert. 

Inside Out, 17/9–30/12, more information:


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