Anniversary logo Anniversary logo animation

Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

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.

Rock-yhtye pinkkiä taustaa vasten
Janne Mikkilä


The research initiative, 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.

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.

Contact information for the project

    • Heidi Westerlund

    • Professor, music education, doctoral education, MuTri Doctoral School, Sibelius Academy
    • +358505015622
    • Kai Lehikoinen

    • University Researcher, Tutkimusinstituutti, Research and doctoral education
    • +358504390517

Project name

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




Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council.


Foundation for Cultural Policy Research Cupore

Lappeenranta University of Technology

University of Turku

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (until August 2019).

Lead organisation

University of the Arts Helsinki

Find out more

You can find more about the research initiative on ArtsEqual website.