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As described throughout this Chapter 8, the Finnish Government has big plans to invest in the development of leisure time activities when it comes to aspects of equality and accessibility. The sum mentioned in the Government Programme 2019-2023 exceeds 40 million € to be used over the next two years. The Government was chosen after the parliament elections in spring 2019. Mr Antti Rinne from the Social Democratic Party was chosen to be Prime Minister, and the Government Programme was published in June. In December, a new Prime Minister was elected due to a ‘loss in confidence’ crisis within of the Government: Mrs Sanna Marin, from the same SDP party is to take office from December 2019 onwards. Nonetheless, the Government Programme is to remain the same (See the Current Issues published by the Government 10.12.2019). When it comes to the forthcoming policy developments, it is yet to be seen how the government’s plan will substantiate the processes in the field of culture and creativity.
Several authors of the publication entitled 'Afterimages, Traces of Images – Archiving and Studying Art by Children and Youth' (Jälkikuvia, kuvan jälkiä – Lasten ja nuorten taiteen tallentaminen ja tutkiminen, includes Abstract in English, published 2019) have instigated a genuine discussion about what is to be understood as art and how old power structures and stereotypes have kept society from being aware and perceiving matters differently. The publication takes the reader through the entire landscape: the role of young people in arts education, the level of freedom of their expression, what is understood by the term ‘cultural heritage’ and the questions about what (whose art) is seen to be worth archiving or giving exhibition space to within a cultural institute, such as an art museum. The publication was produced as a project by the Art Centre for Children and Young People, the Finnish Youth Research Society and five Finnish Universities. The project was funded by the Kone Foundation. The Art Centre as such receives funding from, for example, the City of Hyvinkää and Ministry of Education and Culture.
The sub-project ‘Digital Solutions for Digital Generation’ in the ongoing ALL-YOUTH research project (2018-2023) focuses on youth participation and digital services. The project studies young people’s views on digital participation and their experiences of using fast developing digital services, such as social media platforms, survey tools, online collaboration services, and other online platforms. During the funding period the project aims at developing, together with young people, innovative digital models and services that support and promote the societal participation of youth. The study is funded by the Government.
One of the studies in this sub-project focused on the design of societal participation platforms for youth who were active users of digital technology (see Pietilä, Varsaluoma & Väänänen, 2019). The findings indicate that when designing digital services to support youth in societal participation, designers should aim to provide a safe environment for discussions, offer information that entices participation, match digital participation to personal needs and make the participation rewarding, for instance by creating a visual display of the results from the participation.
A practical development process of the digital Virtual Council -service explores the design and evaluation of a societal discussion platform together with youth from various backgrounds and officials from ministries. The aim is to provide a grassroot-level service for youth and officials to take part in societal discussions. The development and evaluation of the prototype version of the Virtual Council service continues in 2020.