National working programme - Taideobservatorio
Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland National working programme 2023–2027
At the beginning of 2023, Finland and the world are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact on young people and children. In 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, and the war in Europe caused a widespread energy crisis. There are also other threats, related to climate change and biodiversity loss, that affect the future outlook. In times like this, the Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland strives to promote arts education to support social stability and the prerequisites of individuals and communities to solve challenges and maintain functional capacity.
The Finnish society has recognised the importance of arts and culture for individuals and society. Former governments have also placed emphasis on the accessibility of culture in their government programmes. The Finnish arts and culture policy emphasises that every child and young person should have an opportunity to engage in arts and culture. Arts and cultural education aims, for example, at strengthening the individual’s creative skills, cultural competence and overall wellbeing. It also has value as an area of life that strengthens general education and inclusion.
The Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland was established in 2017 on the basis of the programme proposal for children's culture policy (Ministry of Education and Culture 2014). It is a member of the European Network of Observatories in the Field of Arts and Cultural Education (ENO). The ENO network requires its members to draw up a national working programme. The programme of the Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland follows the ENO network's rules and UNESCO policies on arts and cultural education. The first national programme outlined the purpose, key objectives and measures of the Observatory's activities for 2017–2022. This programme outlines objectives and measures for the next five-year period (2023–2027). To support the implementation of the national programme, an annual operational plan will be drawn up, which confirms the Observatory's duties and division of labour.
The objective of the Finnish Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education is to strengthen the equal accessibility and impact of arts and cultural education and to improve the social position of the sector and research in the field. The Observatory promotes the connection between research and practice in arts education and embedding research data into decision-making.
The programme period 2023–2027 will continue to strengthen the operating conditions of arts and cultural education and to influence decision-making on the basis of research data. Accessibility of arts and cultural education in all age and target groups will be supported. Awareness of the multidisciplinary impact of arts and cultural education and research in the field will be strengthened.
One particular aim during the programme period is to strengthen the position of arts education research as a field of science and to influence the resourcing of arts and cultural education research. The aim is also to enable cooperation between research units and the field and the implementation of extensive long-term research and cooperation focused on developing the field.
During the programme period, particular attention will be paid to the importance of arts and cultural education in the midst of societal crises and challenges. The aim is to highlight that the resources invested in arts and cultural education and the systematic development of the sector will strengthen our national resilience. It is essential to identify the means and opportunities of crisis-aware arts and cultural education and communicate about them. The objective also involves an enhanced emphasis on sustainable development, eco-social education, and democracy and peace education in the contents and methods of arts and cultural education. The possibilities provided by arts and cultural education to support the integration of children and young people from other countries are a concrete area of activity where arts education, crisis awareness and peace education come together.
Another key operational objective for this programme period is to influence the national core curriculum for basic education, which will be reformed during this government term. The position of arts education must be strengthened in the curriculum for basic education.
During this programme period, the Observatory will monitor the development of general upper secondary school diplomas and participate in the discussion about it. The Observatory aims to strengthen the extensive use and development of general upper secondary school diplomas and the recognition of their significance in continuing education. The Observatory will contribute to ensuring that, in the future, cultural education plans will become a binding part of the curriculum, so that all Finnish children and young people would have access to arts and cultural content. The aim is to smooth out differences in the quality of cultural education plans and their implementation.
The Observatory encourages all wellbeing services counties in Finland to include the regional objectives and measures of cultural wellbeing in their strategic plans and steering documents. The aim of the plan is to make it possible for the residents of the wellbeing services counties and patients in care to engage in arts and cultural services, and to generate preventive wellbeing and high quality of life through arts and cultural education.
Methods and measures
The Finnish Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education promotes its objectives by:
a. compiling and sharing information on the practices, research and operating policies in the field of arts and cultural education in Finland
b. strengthening the link between the fields of research, and education and training
c. supporting cooperation between arts and cultural education players and the operating conditions of the field
d. promoting international cooperation in the field
e. influencing the resources and prerequisites of arts and cultural education research
Key measures for the programme period 2023–2027
Collecting and sharing information
- Collection of research data on arts and cultural education and storing it in the lastenkulttuuri.fi portal will continue
- Research data will be shared in seminars organised in collaboration with different operators
- Research-based information packages and other material will be developed
- National proposals for measures related to research in the field will be prepared and communicated about
Strengthening cooperation between research, education and stakeholders in the field
- Mapping research needs observed in arts and cultural education and communicating about them
- Developing the prerequisites for research in the field
- Identifying and utilising the opportunities provided by existing activities from the perspective of research
- Developing and embedding new operating practices and methods
- Organising a national cooperation event at least once a year
Supporting the operating conditions of arts and cultural education
- Preparing and publishing opinions and statements
- Establishing and expanding channels of influence
- Identifying and supporting the quality of Finnish arts education activities and system
- Engaging in international discussion about the values of arts and cultural education and applying them
- Influencing the content of the new UNESCO “Roadmap for Arts and Cultural Education” and implementing it through various channels in Finland
- Compiling and disseminating arts education materials
Promoting international cooperation
- Strengthening international long-term cooperation and networks
- Maintaining international ENO connections and preparing cooperation and participation
- Raising awareness of Finnish arts education at international events and publishing activities
Appendix: Operating principles of the Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland
The activities are guided by the National working programme 2023–2027 prepared together and approved by the ENO network.
Organisation of activities
The Observatory for Arts and Cultural Education, Finland is formed by Uniarts Helsinki's CERADA Center for Educational Research and Academic Development in the Arts (hereinafter referred to as ‘CERADA’) and the Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centres (hereinafter ‘Association’). The Ministry of Education and Culture supports the Observatory's activities.
The national development work will involve establishing partnerships and collaborating with the key players in the field. At the beginning of this programme period, the partners include the Finnish association for basic education in arts, the Finnish Association of Adult Education Centres, the Finnish National Agency for Education, Aalto University's Department of Art and Media, the University of Lapland's Faculty of Art and Design, and the Haukkala Foundation.
Division of labour and responsibilities
CERADA and the Association together
- based on discussions, prepare an operational plan for the next year by the end of November this year;
- the operational plan defines the measures and responsibilities for the year;
- convene and prepare meetings as defined in the operational plan;
- are proactive in raising the spearheads related to influence and participate in the preparation of statements and opinions;
- publish jointly prepared statements and opinions;
- produce data on ongoing and starting research projects and strengthen their links with existing arts and cultural education activities;
- invite specialists to participate in the discussion;
- participate in the preparation of meetings;
- produce information on arts and cultural education activities, phenomena and research needs that could be of interest to the field of research; and
- are responsible for international contacts with the ENO network
CERADA is responsible for
- collection of research data in accordance with the operational plan; and
- contacts with different university stakeholders
The Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centres is responsible for
- the compilation of data in cooperation with CERADA and publishing and sharing of data on the lastenkulttuuri.fi website;
- maintaining the Observatory's communications entity according to a separate communication plan; and
- contacts with arts and cultural education actors in Finland and abroad
The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for
- providing cultural policy expertise and the Ministry's current knowledge for collaborative endeavours
- based on their own expertise, provide significant knowledge and development topics for joint work;
- participate in joint discussions, meetings and preparation of meetings; and
- are proactive in raising the spearheads related to influence and participate in the preparation of statements and opinions
The actors work together to implement the annual operational plan.