A report on how to build a sustainable future for the field launches the reconstruction of the arts sector

Uniarts Helsinki carried out a review to map out the most essential sustainability gaps in the independent arts sector and the kinds of resources and skills that could reduce these gaps. The now-published report is the first step in the reconstruction programme of the arts sector, which was launched by Uniarts Helsinki.

Uniarts Helsinki has published a report on the prospects of building a sustainable future for the arts sector. The report outlines the main financial, cultural, social and ecological sustainability gaps in the arts sector and suggests a variety of solutions for them. Sustainability challenges and the measures that solving them would require are examined especially from the perspective of the independent arts sector, i.e. the arts sector that is not part of the state subsidy system.

The report describes four paths that can lead the arts sector to a sustainable future. The paths focus on sustainable earning models, the role of the arts in society, the significance of unprecedented events in terms of renewal in the field, and post-pandemic recovery.

The need to examine various already-identified weaknesses in structures, social security and earning models in further detail arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, which revealed the vulnerability of the field. Based on the report, the structural problems in the field are even more significant than the acute crisis caused by the pandemic. Many people in the independent arts sector found the situation unreasonable during the pandemic, and the structural deficiencies are the root cause of the problems in the field.

“What we need now is substantial actions that will improve the operating environment in the arts, which in turn would help the field recover and take on the role that it should have in society. Concrete actions are also needed in order for arts professionals to restore their trust in society and in the future of the field,” says Rector of Uniarts Helsinki Kaarlo Hildén.

The report provides a foundation for future work in the field

The review was carried out with the help of separate funding allocated by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The aim of the review was to produce information for the “Future of the Cultural Sector” working group set by Minister Antti Kurvinen. The working group will submit its proposal concerning measures that would secure the future of the culture sector to the minister in summer 2022.

The now-finished review work is also the first step in the reconstruction programme of the arts sector, which was launched by Uniarts Helsinki. The goals and measures of the reconstruction programme will be determined with the help of the published report.

“The finished report doesn’t constitute a finish line for the work, and it doesn’t propose any definitive solutions; rather, it opens up the debate and serves as a milestone in a long-term process. Because the premise for the report was to speed up discussions on the topic and the related development work and to open up new perspectives, there has been a conscious effort to reflect on even controversial issues and concerns of more complex nature. We are hoping to spark up a lively debate that leads to action, as well,” Hildén says.

Extensive consultation of the arts sector

Opinions of the arts sector were heard extensively during the process. The material consists of 20 expert interviews, 157 responses to an online questionnaire and two workshops, as well as previously commissioned surveys and background information from various sources. 

A report that was compiled as part of a “future project” carried out by the central organisation for Finnish culture and arts associations KULTA ry was also utilised in Uniarts Helsinki’s review work. Other source material included a summary of research and statistics produced by the Cupore Centre for Cultural Policy Research concerning the effects of the pandemic and support measures in the arts sector.

More information

Mika Virkkala
+358 50 384 3484

Kaarlo Hilden

Jenni Pekkarinen