The 5th of March Dörren and Culture Kids organised a networking event that created new connections between cultural institutions in Helsinki and foreign-born culture actors in the capital region.
Culture Kids is a service by the city of Helsinki that is offered to all children in Helsinki born in 2020 or later. The goal with this networking event was to broaden the networks of the around 30 art and cultural operators in the program and to broaden their understanding of how people with foreign backgrounds in Helsinki can take part in Culture Kids. For the foreign-born cultural actors the event was an opportunity to broaden the knowledge and contacts of the cultural field in Helsinki.
Helin Amin participated in the event to explore the opportunities in the capital region and for example which events are offered. Amin came to Finland from Iraq 29 years ago but has recently moved to the capital region after living in Tammisaari for a long time.
“I am interested in different opportunities within for example culture or politics and also think about maybe starting something of my own in the future,” says Amin and continues: “I joined the Dörren event to get more information about the society I am living in and to familiarize myself with those being active here. It was very rewarding to talk to my pair, who works with puppetry, and get to know here a bit. We were eager to continue discussing and plant to contact each other again. We also discussed that we could visit the puppetry together with our families.”
These discussions in pairs or small groups were the core of the event and an opportunity for the representatives from the cultural operators in Helsinki and the foreign-born cultural actors to get to know each other and exchange experiences. The pairs had been matched prior to the event based on the participants’ professional profiles according to the Dörren concept.
One of the cultural operators that has been part of the Culture Kids since the beginning of the project is the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. Two of its representatives also participated in the networking event. One of them was Lauri Pokkinen.
“The discussion with my pair went very well. During our short time we got to know each other’s professional backgrounds and thoughts around art and its structures. We were able to identify three organisations that is interesting for the person and after the event I immediately contacted their leaders to create a connection between them for further discussions.” says Pokkinen about his meeting.
The networking event culminated in a lively discussion
The event ended with a joint discussion where all participants had the chance to give their thoughts on how Culture Kids can become attractive for all families in Helsinki. This end discussion was important in order to open up what was discussed in the pair and group meetings and to gather ideas for the Culture Kids network and its long term work in reaching out to people from different backgrounds. The discussion highlighted among other things the need to lower the threshold to participate in culture programs by taking into consideration language barriers and clear information. The importance of music as a common language and thoughts around more varied program selection were examples of the ideas discussed.
“With these types of concrete tools and networks we can broaden our perspectives and above all understand the needs of families that our traditional cultural operators have not yet reached. In order for the Culture Kids to succeed we need to really broaden the offering to truly be interesting for all age groups, which is also proved in Taidetestaajat.” Lauri Pokkinen concludes.
The discussion event by Culture Kids is one of the several networking events organised by Luckan’s professional networking concept, Dörren, in cooperation with different actors since the autumn of 2020. The core of these events are the pair discussions between foreign-born and local people coming from the same industry in Uusimaa.