The Arts as Public Service: Strategic Steps towards Equality (ArtsEqual)

The research initiative funded by the Academy of Finland's Strategic Research Council (2015 - 2021) explores how the arts can meet the social challenges of the 2020s.

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Introduction

The research initiative (2015-2021), coordinated by the University of the Arts Helsinki, examines the arts as public service, with equality as the starting point, and explores how the arts can meet the social challenges of the 2020s. The intitiative is financed by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council.

Six research groups in the ArtsEqual project reinterpret the traditional position of the arts in Finland by regarding them as a basic service that should be available equally for all and that contributes to well-being across a wide range of life domains.

From the perspectives of equality and well-being, the project produces new knowledge on how already existing arts services can be developed in order to enhance citizen creativity and communal engagement. The research groups will apply systems thinking in order to comprehend the social impacts of the arts, and analyse how participatory artistic and arts-educational interventions in schools, basic arts education and in social and health services impact well-being.

The project will propose policy recommendations to support political decision-making and consolidate new arts services. The project is carried out in close collaboration with ministries, regional state administration, municipalities, and NGOs.

Consortium partners

The consortium partners are University of the Arts Helsinki (the coordinator), Foundation for Cultural Policy Research Cupore, Lappeenranta University of Technology, University of Turku and Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (until August 2019).

The director of the project is professor Heidi Westerlund from the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy.