The status of foreign-born arts and culture professionals in Finland

In 2017–2020 Cupore carried out a research project to review the status of foreign-born arts and culture professionals in Finland. The research also focused on the related practices at the museums, theaters and orchestras within the central government transfers system, at the national arts and cultural institutions, and more closely, at the National Museum of Finland, the Turku City Theatre, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and Arts Promotion Centre Finland. This report compiles the findings of the study. 

The Cupore research was part of a more extensive project entitled Opening. Becoming an agent in the field of arts and culture in Finland, conducted in 2017–2019 in cooperation with the Culture for All Service and Globe Art Point. The purpose of the project was to investigate and promote models that support the employment opportunities of foreign-born professionals to work in the Finnish cultural field.  

Main findings

  • The structures and practices of the Finnish arts and cultural field do not in every respect support equal work opportunities.
  • Especially the Finnish language presents major challenges to many foreign-born persons.
  • The directors of the arts and cultural institutions recognize cultural diversity as a strength in work communities, but the issue is only rarely incorporated into personnel management or organizational development.
  • The attitudes at arts and cultural institutions and at Taike towards cultural diversity are by and large positive, but the low degree to which it is seen in their personnel and the contents of their activities is often explained with a lack of funding and resources. Some of the directors also felt that their institutions did not have sufficient competencies to pay attention to the issue.
  • Distrust and prejudices exist both ways in the Finnish cultural field. Isolated cases often lead to generalizations. Based on the data, more cooperation, encounters, openness and mutual respect are needed.

Emmi Lahtinen, Marjo Mäenpää, Sirene Karri & Ari Kurlin Niiniaho 2020. Opening. The status of foreign-born arts and culture professionals in Finland. Cupore webpublications 63. Center for Cultural Policy Research Cupore.

ISBN 978-952-7200-53-7; ISSN 1796-9263


Project researchers