Finnish cultural policy as public funding: Regime view across policy domains

Public funding is a key part of Nordic cultural policy. This article approaches the Finnish cultural policy regime from the perspective of state funding, which can be seen as a direct demonstration of public cultural policy. We perform an empirical investigation of the state funding for cultural activities using budget data from 2019 supplemented with information given by altogether 53 public officials representing Finnish ministries. Thus, we examine Finnish cultural policy as a public policy through the different governmental policy domains that support and govern artistic and cultural activities with public finances. Cultural support is investigated as a substantive policy aspect of different ministries throughout the Finnish state administration, including policy domains that often are not considered as part of “official” or “sectoral” governmental cultural policies. In this way the article overcomes the strictly sectorized perspective on public cultural policy and illuminates how the Finnish state cultural policy is constructed throughout the administration.

Via an examination of public funding streams, we contemplate the central themes of interministerial governance of culture: the boundaries between the policy domains and the respective cultural responsibilities. In all, cultural policy can be regarded as a political balancing act between varying state policy domains that in fact fund and govern culture. From the funding perspective, the Finnish governmental cultural policy regime forms a complex terrain with various separate but also overlapping cultural policy domains. Furthermore, public officials are key players in matters pertaining to cultural budgets and the related information. Finally, there is still significant room for improved coordination among policy domains to implement integrated cultural policies.



Project researchers