8.4 Promoting culture and cultural participation
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One of the cornerstones of cultural policy is to improve the accessibility of arts and culture. As mentioned above (Youth Wiki/Finland 8.3 National strategy on creativity and culture for young people), there is a strong strategical base for incorporating culture into children’s and young people's daily lives, support the creativity of children and young people, and make art and culture easily accessible to all, regardless of for example location, financial barriers and disabilities. The government has planned to use about 40 million euros in 2020-2022 so as to guarantee that every child and young people can have a leisure activity of their choice — whether from the culture, sport or other sectors.
The working group set by the Ministry of Education and Culture in called “Working group on ensuring possibilities for recreational activities for every child and young person” (Report of the working group was published in 2017 in Finnish) made mention of what kind of such a good practices can be when improving the accessibility of arts and culture:
- Youth Pass system offering free visits to young people to culture and sport activities, events and also in public transport.
- Individual economical support related to recreational time.
- Recreational time after school hours for pupils with the purpose aspect of combining different kind of forms of art, sport and culture.
- Motivation and support given by youth workers in the schools to whole classes in order to test different kind of recreational activity.
- Assistant Pass allowing free entrance to assisting persons.
- Possibility to borrow recreational equipment, for example in public libraries.
The Ministry of Culture and Education has a long tradition of supporting the establishment of The Children’s Cultural Centres in the areas where such services are not yet available for under 18 year olds. The network of the centres was registered as an association in 2015. The Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centres offers networking days for the centres and other organisations working with children’s cultural activities and art. It is also involved in several national co-operative projects, including for example:
- Art Testers, where all 15 year olds (grade 8th) are invited to visit a local and national art institution as part of the cultural education given in the schools. The opportunity is equal and free for all regardless of which part of the country the pupils are living. Project leader: The Finnish Cultural Foundation.
- School Cinema Week where the main idea is to produce an educational scheme on how such a week can be organised in every school. Project leader: Cultural Centre Valve, Oulu
- ArtsEqual (The Arts as Public Service: Strategic Steps towards Equality) -research project where art and art education are elaborated from the perspective of what it means to be a basic service the society should be able to offer to all. Project leader: Uniarts Helsinki.
About the Culture for All Service see Youth Wiki/Finland 8.9 Enhancing social inclusion through culture.
At the local level the municipalities (see: the Glossary), cultural institutions and NGOs offer information on cultural opportunities to young people. Youth Passes and the collective visits to art and culture institutions can also be seen as one dissemination channel for information.
Based on the previous government’s programme (2014-2019), the Ministry of Education and Culture launched a project in 2017 whereby a new, nationwide Activity ePass targeting all young people in grades 7–9 was designed. In autumn 2019, it was already taken into use by the first municipalities. The idea is that young people can download the ePass application onto their smartphones. With the application, youngsters can see what kinds of activities are being offered to young people nearby by their municipalities, by companies, foundations, social services and associations. The same system also allows young people the possibility to a variety of facilities and events. "The purpose of the Activity ePass is to promote equality of opportunity: young people should be able to choose their hobbies and leisure activities based on their interests and time available, and the financial situation of their families should not be an issue," stated the previous Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport, Mr Sampo Terho, in summarising the idea of the application. (For more information, see Ministry of Culture and Education, Press Release 23.5.2018; information in Finnish about the application developed in co-operation by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the City of Helsinki.
As mentioned in the Cultural Environment Strategy 2014–2020, one of the goals is that “children, young people and adults have acquired good skills and competence in recognising and understanding special features of the cultural environment and know how to work actively for it. Museums act as regional and local centres of lifelong learning of the cultural environment. Associations working with the cultural environment are active and disseminate information on the cultural environment, thereby strengthening the appreciation of the cultural environment.”
The strategy, for example, mentions that cultivating knowledge of the cultural heritage in preschool and basic education and in upper secondary education is under the curriculum, and is a basic part of vocational upper secondary qualifications (more information see Youth Wiki/Finland 8.5). (See also Cultural Environment Commitment, Implementation Plan of the Cultural Environment Strategy/Kulttuuriympäristöstrategian toimeenpanosuunnitelma, National World Heritage Strategy/Yhteinen perintömme – Kansallinen maailmaperintöstrategia)
The Association of Cultural Heritage Education in Finland promotes education in cultural heritage and cultural environment. It serves as an expert, influencer, promoter, developer, and communicator of cultural heritage education and education of culturally sustainable development. The target is to strengthen the cultural competence of especially children and youth – information, skills, and experiences regarding diverse cultural heritage – and to support identity building, involvement in culture and society, and the fulfilment of cultural rights.
The association provides educators and other professionals with information, material, expertise, ideas for activities, operating models, and new networks. The association co-operates with actors of education, culture, environment, and youth sectors. The partners of the association include the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of the Environment, the Finnish National Agency for Education, and the Finnish Heritage Agency as well as different organizations and associations, schools and educational establishments, museums, archives, World Heritage Sites, and many professionals and experts in different fields.