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Aims of the Culture for All Service at the Finnish parliamentary election 2023


The past years of struggle with the pandemic and cutbacks in the cultural sector have presented serious challenges to the actors in the Finnish field of arts and culture. Actors in the free field, freelancers and professionals belonging to various minorities are now in an especially vulnerable position. The financial distress has also hindered the realization of cultural rights throughout the society. At the same time, the crises of recent years have shown how important the arts and culture are for coping, wellbeing and inclusion.  Moreover, various surveys and research projects have demonstrated the significance of arts and culture, not only to our wellbeing, but also to the national economy.

Finland needs a strong field of arts of culture. In the reconstruction of culture it is important to ensure that the cultural rights of all people are realized and that the position of the artists and cultural actors who are the most hard pressed is strengthened. The field is in dire need of more effective means and support measures for the realization of equality and inclusion as well as operating models to dismantle racist and otherwise discriminatory structures. The decision makers in the next government term need to also make sure that all public recruitments, decision making processes and appointments to positions of trust reflect the diversity of our society. New obligating strategies are moreover needed to guarantee unobstructed access to all cultural spaces (for employees and artists as well!) and that cultural services and basic education in the arts are accessible to all.

1. Equal work opportunities in the field of arts and culture

The Finnish field of arts and culture has to reflect the diversity of society – at every level. The path to becoming an artist starts from childhood. Arts activities and basic education in the arts need to be organized in a way that they are accessible to all. The path of an artist typically advances from childhood hobbies to second and third degree education, and from there to working life. Many studies have shown that minority artists, such as artists of foreign background, racialized artists or artists with disabilities tend to encounter discrimination on that path. Their competencies often go unrecognized, it is challenging for them to enter education in the field of arts and they might be bypassed in recruitment processes. Work facilities aren’t always accessible to all, which excludes a large number of people with disabilities from the cultural field.

The work conditions in the field of arts and culture are also unfortunately often undermined by harassment and inappropriate treatment. Everyone must have the right to work in a safe atmosphere.

What decision makers need to do

2. Equality as a starting point in arts administration

In order for equality and non-discrimination to be realized in the Finnish field of arts and culture, efforts must be made to ensure that all activities in the field are guided by equality plans. The diversity of society must be reflected in the cultural administration, appointment processes, peer reviews, recruitment of managers and all other decision-making processes. Equality can also be enhanced by developing the competences in the cultural administration and practical field with regard to questions concerning equality, diversity and accessibility. This can be achieved by offering training for people working in the field and by hiring, for example, diversity experts in cultural organizations.

What the decision makers need to do

3. Equal rights in arts and culture for everyone

Participation in cultural life is a basic right that belongs to everyone. Research has confirmed that arts and culture increase wellbeing. Equal participation can be realized by removing barriers to participation, seeing to it that cultural services are accessible to all kinds of people and paying attention to the diversity of people and their cultural needs. People’s cultural rights and cultural wellbeing can be advanced through multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation between the social welfare and health sector, the wellbeing and health sector, cultural organizations and the cultural field. Moreover, public support needs to be focused on the kind of cultural activities that are reachable to all people, and not just those who are better off.

 Among the means to advance inclusion in the cultural field are, for example, various cultural companion models, customer panels, cultural outreach services, cultural services customized for particular target groups and solutions for removing barriers to participation. One widespread example of these is the Kaikukortti system developed and maintained by the Culture for All Service. Kaikukortti is a card with which people who are financially hard pressed can obtain free tickets and study places from the cultural service providers and adult education centers that are part of the Kaikukortti network. The Kaikukortti database (Kaikukanta) enhances knowledge management connected to cultural wellbeing, such as the targeting of services as equally as possible. Kaikukortti, supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, is now strengthening cross-sectoral cooperation in the promotion of cultural wellbeing in more than 50 Finnish municipalities and regions, with a total population of over 1.6 million people.

 What the decision makers need to do  

Culture for All Service / Yhdenvertaisen kulttuurin puolesta ry (Association For Culture on Equal Terms)

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