As was discussed in chapter 1.2.6, the current government (2015-2019) programme’s main cultural policy priority (so called key project) addresses facilitating access to and participation in arts and culture, especially for children and young people.
The two main strands of policy are children’s culture and the basic arts education and expanding the one percent rule to the social welfare and healthcare sector.
The objective of supporting children’s access to culture is to incorporate it into children’s daily lives, support the creativity of children and young people, and make art and culture easily accessible to all. Cooperation will be expanded between basic and early education providers and those providing basic art education, art and culture professionals, institutions and other actors, libraries and third-sector parties. One of the main actions so far has been a country-wide hearing on children hobby wishes. The hearing was executed in early 2016 as a questionnaire, sent to Finnish schools via email. All in all 1107 schools in 230 municipalities and 118 160 pupils participated in the survey. The survey results will be used in targeting actions in the key project of arts, culture and sport. The Finnish pupils named photography and parkour/street/showdance as the most interesting hobbies within arts and culture. For girls, photography, dance and visual arts were most important, while for boys named most often parkour, cinema, animation and video- and media arts. Accoding to the questionnaire, Finnish children wanted more hobbies, arts and culture related activities integrated within the school day. Following the hearing and questionnaire, 1 060 400 euros were granted to supporting arts and culture related hobbies in schools, with additional 800 000 euros to promote access to basic arts education.
The second of the central government cultural aims is to extend the current principle of investing up to 1% of the construction costs of public buildings in the acquisition of works of art in cooperation with the social welfare and healthcare sector in order to support the welfare impacts of the arts. A new approach linked to the current one-percent rule will be created to facilitate the acquisition of art- and culture-based wellbeing services in the social welfare and healthcare sector. The appropriation could be used for assisting municipalities in piloting the model and thereby expanding the provision of various fields of art and cultural services and improving access to art in institutions.
A cross-administrative working group will also draft a proposal to establish an operating model consistent with the one-percent rule and to improve access to art and culture in the social welfare and healthcare sector.
Currently, the Finnish cultural policy field is in the midst of strategic renewal. A new strategy for cultural policy is under way (as discussed in chapter 1.1. Cultural Policy Objectives), a new festival strategy was launched in December 2016, new museum policy programme is being developed (see chapter 3.1 Heritage Issues and Policies) and the man system of public funding for the arts and culture, the statutory state funding for professional museum, orchestras and theatres is going through a possibly significant renewal (for more info, see chapter 7, Financing).
In 2016 the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture started a process towards a new strategy for cultural policy. The strategy is expected to be launched in 2017. In the draft strategy, the three main priorities for cultural policy for 2025 are defined as:
- Creative labour and production: The prerequisites of artistic and creative labour are stronger and the forms of production and distribution have diversified.
- Participation in culture: Participation in culture has increased and the discrepancies in participation between different groups of people has decreased.
- Foundations and continuity of culture: the foundations of culture are strong and vital.
The strategy updates the earlier strategy from year 2009 (until 2020) and as it transcends government reign, represents civil servants’ visions for the development challenges and objectives of Finnish cultural policy. The policy areas in the strategy include arts and artists policy, cultural heritage, library, copyright and audiovisual policy, mirroring the remit of the Department for Art and Cultural Policy at the Ministry.
A working group was appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture on 15 October 2015 to prepare a proposal for an action plan for arts and cultural events. The working group used the term arts and cultural festival, with main focus on regular events held in a certain location at a given time. While supporting arts and cultural festivals is not a new departure for the Finnish central government, a separate plan that sets targets for the long-term promotion of festivals has not been previously prepared.
The working group final report, named Arts and cultural festivals – a cultural resource growing in strength; Proposal for an action plan 2017–2025 was published in December 2016. The working group’s proposal contains seven sets of objectives. They are related to strengthening the appreciation and position of arts and cultural festivals in the arts and cultural policy, financial resources, increasing participation and inclusion in culture, promoting sustainable development, encouraging internationalisation and upskilling, research and statistical data as well as developing systematic cooperation.
According to the working group, when developing the policy of central government transfers for arts and cultural festivals, the varying support needs of the festivals should be taken into consideration. Attention should be paid to providing funding over a longer time span. Start-up support would enable the creation of festival concepts of a new type. Financial resources should also be allocated to developing new artistic contents and innovative activities.
In a separate report, the working group analysed regulation on the organisation of cultural events. Safeguarding the preconditions for voluntary activities emerged as a key issue. According to the working group, the current situation and impacts of voluntary work should be investigated, and the requisite measures should be launched on this basis.
The centenary of Finland’s independence in 2017 is a centrally important chain of events in 2017, where arts and culture are in the very center of the programme. The theme of the centenary celebration year is “Together”. The “Finland 100 Years” project organization, established in the Prime Minister’s Office, is responsible for the centenary year. The outlines for the year are approved by a broad-based Centenary Commission that represents 70 key organisations and convenes once a year. The Commission is chaired by the Prime Minister and co-chaired by the Minister of Finance.
The project secretariat at the Prime Minister’s Office is in charge of creating the programme as a whole under the supervision of the General Secretary. Responsibility for the regional arrangements across Finland rests with the Finland 100 regional network that comprises the regional councils and Finland’s six largest cities (http://suomifinland100.fi/?lang=en).
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