I invite all Finnish colleagues, as one united WE, to acknowledge that hybrid teams are stronger, and that cultural diversity is an opportunity, not a threat.
We – both non-Finn and Finnish cultural workers – need to recognise that there are skill gaps on both sides.
We – as teams, with people from different countries, cultures and disciplines – can be stronger than mono-cultural teams in addressing the global issues of today.
We are capable of breaking through invisible walls with dialogue.
We, as the makers of arts, can generate divergent thinking and innovation.
We need to work with un-likeminded people to foster ”out-of-the-box thinking”.
Together we can change our mindsets; together we can open up to change.
We all should experience the added value of working together.
We need to transform the cultural field and encourage our institutions to challenge themselves.
Together we can break through the invisible walls and discriminative structures, rules and policies of the organisations.
It is time to focus on “what else we could do together” instead of falling back on defensive attitudes.
I would like to share my proposals for unlocking the territorial borders between institutions and foreign-born cultural players in the Finnish art scene by implementing the following:
- Domestic Fellowships: Temporary residencies for international artists, curators and producers living in Finland.
- Cross-Cultural Mutual Mentorships: Giving-and-taking within Finnish arts institutions.
- Dedicated Budgets: Implementing ideas curated by in-house teams and bringing together invited international artists and domestic cultural workers.
- In-House Creative Workshops: Project-based engagements and collaborations between institutions and artists, curators, producers and cultural workers.
- Transforming the Rules: In order to enable every single person working in the cultural field to experience the value of international teams.
- Design Thinking: Collaborating with transition design/service design experts to overcome in-house resistance to cross-national teams.
- Adding Cross-Cultural Thinking to the Curriculum: Making the University of the Arts a platform for cross-national creativity and a democratic and sustainable cultural field. Students who are brought up in such an environment would be inclusive when they become professional artists, producers or decision makers.
As Mahatma Gandhi perfectly said: No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.
Ceyda Berk-Söderblom is a Turkish cultural manager based in Helsinki who has 17 years of international experience. She is the co-founder and CEO of MiklagardArts, a young innovative platform, a facilitator and connector for promoting trans-national collaborations.