Co-operation Enlivens an Institution

The role of creativity has grown increasingly important in the debate on people’s wellbeing. In artistic activity, creativity is a self-evident element. In today’s society, institutions must also be able to operate creatively, whether it is a question of art, co-operation or finances.

One of the key themes in ARS 06 – Sense of the Real exhibition is the relationship of good and evil in human action. People of today may be ambivalent towards right and wrong, and everything is more complicated than before and nothing is absolute. The same relativity applies to art, too; it is neither good nor bad, it is both. Creativity in art means its ability to help people see things differently, through and beyond the boundaries created by prevailing conceptions. Art breaks down the thought patterns we have adopted, learnt and settled for, while helping us fathom the world. This paradox manifests creativity in art at its best.

It is no longer enough for art museums to create new content, exhibitions and programmes. Creativity also has to be evident in the development of the institutional operations. A crucial observation in this sense is to understand that we cannot work alone. A networking museum will actively seek co-operation partners and thereby create new operative culture for itself.

Financial challenges

The financial targets are set high. Facing increasing competition over people’s free time at the same time when the financial resources are being cut back is a fact. The state demands that cultural institutions take an active initiative in seeking funding. The relationship between art museum and the market economy is a paramount topic in the art museum circles. Funding needs to be acquired from different sources.

This, in turn, means that cultural institutions, Kiasma included, will have to succeed in active and visible marketing. Without efficient means of gaining sponsorship and professional marketing, developing art museum activities, or even maintaining their current standard, is impossible. Were it only up to state funding, many large-scale art projects would never have seen the light of day. By securing financial resources we will also secure the high artistic standard and independence of our artistic endeavours. Creativity must guide the use of money, not the other way around.

Fundraising and improving marketing requires an incredible amount of work and new skills from art museums and their staff. The tightening economy leads to collaboration projects between various national and international operators. Partners should be sought not only in the cultural but also the business sector.

Innovative collaboration

In the case of Kiasma, collaboration has clearly proved a fruitful ground for new ideas, views and innovative encounters. Creatively thinking partners have been discovered from amongst other cultural actors as well as other sectors of society and business.

The “Creativity Lab” of Kiasma will develop new projects, one of which is a seminar Art and the reform of welfare society organised as part of ARS 06. Organised jointly with the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES), it launches a programme that aims at facilitating encounters between the spheres of art and social and health care, and gathers in one place existing competencies and skills.

Kiasma has also engaged in joint exhibitions, as well as co-operation networks involving various other forms of activity with actors from the neighbouring regions of Finland. An example of such regional co-operation is the Karelia Project, which is designed with a number of actors and based on cultural exchange.

One of the most visible projects was the Kiasma School on Wheels project carried out in partnership with Vattenfall, which ended last year. Co-operation with Vattenfall continues in a national project which is realised together with regional organs. The aim is to strengthen the impact of art education among young people.

New technology also plays a part in our search for creativity. Co-operation with PlayStation has enabled new ways of producing educational material for the audience to learn and enjoy.

Tuula Karjalainen
Director of Kiasma