Opening. The status of foreign-born arts and culture professionals in Finland is a report based on a development project entitled Opening. Becoming an agent in the field of arts and culture in Finland conducted by the Culture for All Service, Cupore and Globe Art Point in 2017-2019. The objective of this report is to explore how open or closed the Finnish arts and cultural field is to cultural diversity and foreign-born professionals.

The research seeks answers to the following questions:

  • What factors affect the employment and work of foreign-born arts and culture professionals in Finnish arts and cultural institutions and at Arts Promotion Centre Finland?
  • What factors affect the possibilities of foreign-born artists to apply for and receive grants from Arts Promotion Centre Finland?
  • How do the arts and cultural institutions and Arts Promotion Centre Finland relate to cultural and linguistic diversity?
  • How are questions of cultural and linguistic diversity seen in the work of arts and cultural institutions and Arts Promotion Centre Finland?



This research report is based on the project Opening. Becoming an agent in the field of arts and culture in Finland. It hopes to offer a valuable snapshot of the current situation of the foreign-born artists and other cultural professionals working and living in Finland. Their work is part of the Finnish art scene. This publication demonstrates that concrete actions need to be undertaken in addition to further discussions on ways to improve the situation. It serves as a roadmap for us all – both for Globe Art Point (G.A.P.) and for the Finnish arts and cultural institutions – in the implementation of our agendas to achieve a more open and inclusive cultural scene in Finland.

Why are diversity and inclusion important topics for Finland and specifically for the Finnish art scene? According to demographic prognoses, the share of people who do not speak Finnish, Swedish or Sámi as a native language is rising rapidly, especially in the capital region of the country. Unfortunately, this is not yet reflected significantly in representation within the arts and cultural institutions or in the decision-making structures and resources.

G.A.P. is an association that was established in 2016 by arts and cultural workers residing in Finland, with the purpose of promoting and supporting the status of non-Finnish born artists and cultural operators working in Finland. We aim to tackle the structural discrimination, the professional harassment and other issues brought to the light by the report, and to ensure that foreign-born artists and cultural professionals are acknowledged and that their untapped capacity is fully utilized. We know, however, that the implementation of cultural diversity and inclusion is a long process. It requires commitment and accountability. We all will have to accept and adapt to many changes along the way. We will continue to promote equality, equity, diversity and inclusion and sincerely believe that the best way to reach our goals is to foster constructive dialogue with our stakeholders. We will also foster possibilities for our Finnish colleagues to practice their work in a diverse and inclusive professional environment.

We are aware that a research-driven approach to questions of diversity and inclusion may easily over-simplify the complex set of issues that we all need to address and accept as part of a holistic, intersectional picture of inclusion. This means that each aspect of a person’s identity – class, gender, intellectual and physical disability, age, ethnocultural background, sexual orientation – is crucial to the equality and inclusion process. We are sure however that the data and evidence provided by the report will encourage us to continue our advocacy work and help us influence the policies and actions of Finnish cultural institutions.

On behalf of the Board and Team of G.A.P. I want to express my gratitude to the Culture for All Service, the Center for Cultural Policy Research Cupore and to all the artists, culture professionals and arts and cultural institutions that contributed to the research by generously sharing their experience to make this report possible. Undoubtedly, it will challenge the institutions to contribute to progressive change. We believe that by working together and implementing actions collectively and in a consensus framework we will ensure that the benefits of diversity will be widely understood and accepted.

Please read the full report here.

Emmi Lahtinen, Marjo Mäenpää, Sirene Karri and Ari Kurlin Niiniaho (2020). Opening. The position of foreign-born art and culture professionals in Finland . Cupore’s online publications 63. Cultural Policy Research Center Cupore.


Additional information and contacts:

Researcher Emmi Lahtinen, , 050 556 0414

Director Marjo Mäenpää, , 050 586 0414

Cupore, a cultural policy research center, is a research and expert organization in the field of cultural policy. The research center produces a wide range of information on arts and cultural policy and acts as a mediator and facilitator of discussion. Cupore employs about 20 people each year, most of whom work as researchers. The research center is located in Helsinki and is maintained by the Foundation for the Promotion of Cultural Policy Research, established in 2002.