23 things that made our 2023

Jan 3, 2024 | 2023, News

1. First and foremost, we collaborated and engaged with over 100 artists and cultural professionals and 40+ partners from Finland, the Benelux and the Nordics!

2. We co-produced ENTER EXUDE the auto-erotic performance by Teo Ala-Ruona which premiered at Kiasma Theatre in Helsinki to much critical acclaim. In November, Ala-Ruona staged the North American premiere at Performa’s Pavilion Without Walls which had a special focus on Finnish performance, dance, and sound-based artists this year.

3. pARTir a new collaborative project between the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes (SKTI) and ten Finnish cultural institutes kicked off! The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture awarded a special grant of €726,000 to the pARTir project as part of the European Union’s cultural and creative industries structural support in the autumn of 2023.

4. The Texture of Connection by our SKF intern Yohannes Henriksson was born and premiered at URB Festival in Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki in June.

5. Our EDUFI intern Anni Koskela joined the team and was an absolute star organising the showing of Suvi West’s documentary Eatnameamet – Our Silent Struggle in Brussels! Plus we had the honour of being joined by representatives of the Sámi community, Vice President of the Sámi Parliament Koivu-Jusse Ánne (Anni Koivisto) and activist Elle Biehtár Arvvu Iiddá (Ida-Maria Helander).

6. We welcomed our newest intern Tega Oke who is supporting our biggest project of the upcoming year, Boys Won’t Be Boys’ international debut in Finland! Helsinki and Oulu, here we come!

7. After a two-year international art programme, we brought Together Again – a free contemporary arts festival organised by the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes – to thousands of people in Helsinki Central Library Oodi and online. We collaborated with The Soft Collective, bringing their Safer Spaces For Unhad Conversations to the Netherlands where they worked with artist Zulu Green. The resulting work was launched at the festival in September.

8. After a memorable study trip to the Netherlands with Finnish cultural professionals in 2022 where many new connections were made, we were excited to follow these journeys in 2023. Aaro Murphy’s multimedia installation Volatile Score was exhibited at Kunsthalle Turku as well as Energy Bodies curated by Rosa de Graaf and Niina Tervo at SIC, Helsinki in the spring.

9. The incredible third instalment of Sonya Lindfors‘ series of works focusing on Blackness – Cosmic Latte came to Julidans, an International Festival for Contemporary Dance, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

10. We had the pleasure of supporting L. Puska‘s performance based project URGENT – Residency for Artworks, hosting sculptures by Eva Spierenburg and Niina Tervo at our office.

11. After We’re Gone, written and directed by Ima Iduozee, was screened at the eighth edition of the Africa is/in the Future festival in Brussels.

12.  As a member of EUNIC Netherlands, we organised the third edition of Fair P(l)ay – a series of events discussing sustainable remuneration practices in arts and culture with perspectives from international actors – this time as part of Dutch Design Week 2023 in Eindhoven.

13. Cherish Menzo returned to Moving in November, a Helsinki contemporary dance festival, with DARKMATTER, which was received with standing ovation! Working together with Daniel Bonsu, Menzo included local participants in her Distorted Rap Choir, which explored the work’s sound methodology and developed a rap anthem that was recorded and integrated into the performance soundscape.

14. For the 6th year we organised our International Women’s Day Breakfast Discussion with the Nordic diplomatic representations in Brussels. In 2023 we focused on Gender Equality in the Performing Arts. We can’t wait to share what we have planned for 2024!

15. We had the pleasure of sharing the news that Finnish artist Sara Bjarland’s work is to be presented along the Belgian coast at Triennial Beaufort in 2024.

16. We supported 11 artists in 5 projects and a total of 10 performances through our TelepART Mobility Support Platform. A highlight included The Grapes of Reason by the Finnish director and novelist Saara Turunen which was performed in Belgium for the first time! Plus our team got the chance to see it at De Singel in Antwerp.

17. Our Head of Programme, Malin Bergström, travelled overland from Brussels to Oslo to attend the Spring Days of the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes, just one of the steps we took this year in assessing our sustainability as an institute and planning our next steps to decrease our carbon footprint.

18. 49 students signed up for our Finnish courses on four levels from beginners to advanced.

19. We almost went viral with our Käärijä support videos and were swept away by his success at Eurovision.

20. We had an audience reach of 27,040 on instagram, up 290.3% compared to 2022 – thanks for the share Jani Toivola!

21. Almost all our Executive Board gathered in Brussels and successfully planned our strategy for 2024–2026.

22. We were featured in some of Finland and Belgium’s top print and online media outlets including Helsingin Sanomat, Le Soir, Hufvudstadsbladet, Euronews, Radio Helsinki and The Brussels Times.

23. Our Director, Laura Boxberg facilitated and joined roundtables and discussions in Belgium and Luxembourg.

We also had the pleasure of collaborating with and supporting:

Kristiina Koskentola with the book Enfleshed – Ecologies of Entities and Beings published by Onomatopee, the Netherlands

Inkeri Virtanen’s participation at SALWA’s Internet Café Gatherings and exhibition programme at W139 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Laïla Amezian at the Women-Music-Futures Symposium at the University of Helsinki, Finland

The Reflecting Light residency at Mad House and UniArts Helsinki, Finland

RADIUS Center for Contemporary Art & Ecology’s research trip to Finland and Estonia

Anna Maria Häkkinen’s performance Doom & Bloom at Teatteri Takomo, Helsinki

Aurélie Disasi’s session at the intercultural and antiracist platform #StopHatredNow, Helsinki and online.

Even Minn’s presentation of Alien Mother at Vleeshaal, Middelburg, the Netherlands

Satu and Maria Tani’s participation at Art Brut Biënnale in Hengelo, the Netherlands

And last but not least – WE CELEBRATED 30 YEARS OF US!


Cover photo: The Texture of Connection premiere at URB festival at Kiasma, Helsinki. Photo by Yohannes Henriksson / The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux.

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