Helsinki, Finland. Responsible partner: Publics

Publics is a curatorial agency with a dedicated library, event space and reading room in Vallila Helsinki, an area in the city known for its industrial working class histories and, more recently, for its influx of divergent artistic and academic communities. Through its program Publics will map, invite and nurture new audiences for its activities through two key visual arts laboratories, one based on a four year Public Art projects called (A) FUTURE FUTURES, and the second on a four year outreach program called (B) ‘Parahosting’–a community-based institutional building with a focus on engaging small scale organisations, migrant and independent culture workers based in Finland. The short description of these laboratories is provided below:



A1. FUTURE FUTURES Dates: Year 2 & 3, 6 sessions .People: Local youth between the ages of 18-21; Students; Educators; Artists; Small-scale organisations. Outcome/Outputs: Six skills sessions designed to encourage knowledge exchange between PUBLICS Youth Advisory Board and invited participants on topics of access and future imaginaries. O10: Documentation of community learnings, radio broadcasts. O11: Public art commission.



This laboratory will research and develop a longterm and location specific public art project with PUBLICS Youth Advisory Board; a new employment and education opportunity for 18-21 year olds based in Helsinki. This ongoing project seeks to engage in forms of collective learning through processes of knowledge exchange and co-curation between young people and invited participants in the local context. FUTURE FUTURES (initially called Not Yet in Plan) acknowledges the mutual importance of establishing space for intergenerational modes of exchange within the context of arts and culture, both for organisations and young people, to learn from one another and to imagine more accessible institutional models for the future. The value of this exchange is acknowledged through physical meetings and exchange but also through a fair payment structure, in which the young board are acknowledged as members of PUBLICS staffing body. With concepts of future at the forefront of this laboratory, workshops and activity aim to locate ways to rethink, redefine and re-enter public space through collective cultural action and acknowledge young people as a vital part of this possibility. In Helsinki invited practitioners, including visiting artists and an online community radio, will host six skills sessions or ‘community learnings’ to work through different approaches of establishing these possibilities in immersive workshops inspired by the intersectional and social values of their practice. The culmination of these engagements will manifest in a public art commission built together with PUBLICS Youth Advisory Board and will be presented at Today Is Our Tomorrow festival in summer 2022, alongside presentations co-produced with project partners Index (Stockholm) and PRAKSIS (Oslo) and their respective young boards.



(B)Parahosting Laboratory: ‘Parahosting’ is a program of residencies, performances, talks, events, and productions, where Publics will look after other projects, organisations and collectives; opening its doors for free and sharing its resources, its space and offering its full capacities for other’ activities. In this sense, ‘Parahosting’ is a useful term to realign and contest these binaries and to describe transitional temporal processes of engagement with people taking precedence over exhibitions or productions as the primary end product. In the face of such a reductive scenario, ‘Parahosting’ proposes an evolving field of operations that persists in resisting the established order of things as part of the destabilising curatorial constellation. Each year over YEARS 2 and 3, Publics ’Parahosting’ annual programme will include:

B1: Listening and Reading Sessions Per Year; Dates: Year 2 & 3, 6 sessions; People: Small-scale independent non-profit initiatives, freelance cultural workers. Outcome/Outputs: Wider institutional knowledge and more sustainable collaborative methods for working with more equal, diverse and ethical practices in small to medium scale art organisations; O12: Helsinki Event Map Website (SHAPE)/ Public Conference; O13: Anthological Publication.



Gathering different individuals together to listen to each other’s concerns and points of interest. These will be open and informal gatherings. Together with other artists, audiences and cultural workers, Publics will host a series of listening sessions; hopefully as the start of a longer conversation as to what are you/we doing? What could you/we be doing differently?


B2: 24 Publics Talks and Events; Dates; Year 2 & 3, about 20 events in total; People: Public art practitioners, community educators, performers, artists, curators, writers, theorists.


Outcome/Output: Greater awareness and understanding of initiatives, local, regional, international and their activism, networks, and artistic practices; O14: One Week Public Festival and publication. This is not the same as the final local festival to be organised in Year 4.


The festival (working title: TODAY IS OUR TOMORROW) addresses current urgencies in relation to race, class, gender, sexuality. It identifies societal questions (rise in neo-racism, socio-political inequalities in ethnicity, queer and transgender) by bringing together divergent bodies and thinkers to take on these subjects. This festival involves live performance, music, dance, theatre, and literature, symposia taking place at Publics and in other highly accessible venues in collaboration with other organisations including theatres, nightclubs, restaurants, public space, museums and alternative art spaces. 


In addition, during Year 2 and Year 3, the entrepreneurship training workshop will be organised by GrantXpert to the local participants that will be involved in the laboratories described above and taking place in Finland. This has already been described in the Residence Camps section.